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May 21, 2016 – Moonlight Ride

I was the ride contact so I scouted the trail the Sunday before with Joel to mark the trail for the moonlight ride. The biting flies on the trail were ferocious and we tried to out run them. That worked well for Scarlett, my 14.1 hand quarter horse, because Joel and Tulip, a 17.2 hand Walker, travels much faster and the flies always attack the first horse. We were moving along so fast I wasn’t able to put up markers. I returned to scout on Thursday evening and the flies were even worse. Blondie and I lasted one hour in the woods, returning to the trailer I started the bug fogger and proceeded to kill all the bugs. On the way out, I called Susan and asked if she would be on the moonlight ride. I told her I wasn’t comfortable leading since I haven’t ridden these trails enough to be familiar with them in the dark. She promised to be there and most likely Jill would also ride. Thank you to Susan, Jill and Julie, Jill’s daughter. Without these three friends we would have been lost in the National Forest till sunrise. The magnificent moonlight ride had 13 riders and 14 horses. Linda on Blondie, Suzanne on Trouble, guest Jimmy on Sugar, guest Gary on California, Pat riding Dusty, Pat’s husband Butch on Sheba, Ambrose on Sally, Rocky on Silk, Cody on Hoss, Lyn on Tally, Susan on Onyx, Jill on Buddy, Julie on her quarter horse Raven and the old guy Laddy being ponyed. Julie brought the old guy so he wouldn’t be left at the barn alone to stress out. I arrived at 6:30 seeing that Ambrose, Gary, Jimmy, and Suzanne had already parked and were preparing for the ride. I started the bug fogger while Gary worked the sign in sheet proclaiming to be the PR man and assigning Jimmy as maintenance crew. Suzanne, Ambrose, and Jimmy cleaned up the parking area as others arrived. We started down the trail at 7:30 while the clouds rolled in with a light breeze. Gary who is hard of hearing said “do I hear thunder?” I replied “no, you hear a plane because we are close to the airport.” Gary was too smart for that and he said “as long as there isn’t any lighting we’ll be okay.” A few more rumbles and it started sprinkling lasting about 10 minutes cooling us down and running the flies off. Butch’s cell phone kept ringing with friends wishing him a happy birthday. What a great way to spend your birthday. As we meandered past cypress ponds and through the pines, darkness covered the forest. Where was the moon? Gary spotted the moon coming up behind a cumulus cloud and it was the most beautiful moon rise I have ever seen on our moonlight rides. We heard whippoorwills and owls as we headed back. Susan and Jill led the gaited horses in while Julie kept the quarter horses on track arriving at the trailers 10:00. The next moonlight ride will be Saturday July 16 at 7:30 St. Marks Rail Trail parking under the power lines Hope to see ya’ll there. Happy Trails — Linda

June 4, 2016 – St. Marks Rail Trail

The temperature at 6 a.m. was 70 degrees, but the weather report called for cloudy skies with rain possible in the afternoon and a high of 94 degrees.

I wondered how many folks would come to ride in the national forest, especially since we had to park under a power line. My hope was that the clouds would bring a nice breeze with it and the shade of the pines would help cool us down. As it turned out, I was right! Six folks rode; five gals and one guy. The co-leader of the ride, Ron, was unable to come due to contracting shingles, but Ambrose (Sally) made a good stand-in and Pam (Flashy), Nancy (Gypsy), Doel (Snippy), Linda (Blondie) and I (Sadie) joked that this was Ambrose’s Harem Ride! (Actually, Linda missed out on this discussion as she arrived late and had to catch up with us. )

We rode west past the apartment complex and passed the first road into the forest (where the gate is) and took the single track trail to the south.The clouds started slowly rolling in and with them the blessed breeze. The horses were all relaxed and I wondered if it was fate or they instinctively know to reserve their energy. We stayed on the single track and left it when we were near another power line so we could cross to the other side and take jeep roads to the west again. Everyone was joking and enjoying the beauty of the forest and we were wondering when Linda would catch up with us as I had taken a call from her asking for our location. (It is hard to describe where you are in the forest once you take a sin- gle track trail because you cross jeep roads and you aren’t sure which ones they are.) We went near Munson Slew before heading south and then almost to the gas pipeline before turning east on another jeep road. We had commented earlier about the research ponds being used to reintroduce striped newt in the forest and ran into Ryan, who is heading up the project, as he was inspecting one of the ponds. We talked with him for a while and then moved on. We were heading to the ponds near the Rail trail so the horses could get water if they needed it. I tried to call Linda when we were approaching the power line again and she said she could see us! She was coming down the power line so we were finally a full ride!

Everything else went quite smoothly and on the return to the trailers we decided to go in from the rail trail. Sadie and Snippy were in the lead and stopped on full alert. We were next to the big ditch that has lots of bushes in it. We couldn’t see anything so we started up again. Then, a couple of deer jumped across the road in front of us and we all realized that is what the horses had seen. It was a nice way to end a good 2.5 hour ride! — Sue

May 11, 2016 – Rivers Road Trail Improvements

This is a little up-date on the Rivers Rd. trails. Because of hunting season and other problems such as vandalism and wind and rain storms, the Rivers Road trails needed work and markers added. We had reports of people getting lost because markers were missing. So this is to let riders know that 6 senior citizen STA members worked on the blue and yellow trails on wed. May 11, 2016 and these two trails are good to go. Please give us a little time and we will get the orange and red trails up dated as well. It is still fairly cool in these woods so please come and enjoy the National Forest.
Roving Reporter

May 1, 2016 – Rocky Comfort

The Sunday morning ride at Rocky Comfort was beautiful and a little challenging! We had ten riders, members and guests, who enjoyed about 4¼ hours exploring the varying terrain offered at this management area. We climbed a few hills, crossed creeks, weaved through wooded trails, chatted along forest roads and old firebreaks, ducked under limbs, tried to avoid vines and holes, hopped over or skirted around some big logs and slopped through a bit of mud. Fresh horses produced a little excitement along the way and good company provided the smiles and laughter. Ambrose was the only guy in the crowd but he was a real trooper even though his “green” horse refused a muddy bank at the first creek crossing and we lost him for about an hour. Thanks to Susan and Linda, who have been helping prepare for the ride, we managed to keep the group moving and rounded up our stray fella at the same time. Due to minor delays along the trail, we did exceed the “suggested” time limit which I’m sure was no surprise to those of you who have ridden with me! Overall, I think most would agree that we had an excellent adventure and are looking forward to the next one!! Others who rode May 1st: Gayle, Rocky, Joyce, Michelle, Chris, and Nancy. See you on the trail less traveled…Suzanne & Trouble

May 14th – Bring Your Horse to Work!

May 14th Work Day at Ft Braden…it is now a bring your horse  work day!  Suzanne discovered they will not allow 4-wheelers there, so we will be on horse back trimming the trails.  Folks are encouraged to bring loppers and/or hand saws.  Lunch and beverages will be provided by STA.  Please RSVP to Lyn Grant so she knows how much food to bring.  Her number is 562-0241.  Suzanne is still leading the ride, but Lyn is bringing the food.

Benefit Poker Run Ride – April 16, 2016

There was more than one winner at STA’s Poker Ride on Saturday, April 16th.

With memories of last year’s multiple rain-outs a collective sigh of relief welcomed the sun; win number 1.

A total of 22 people signed in with Sharon and Wendy. The riders were almost evenly divided between STA members and non-members including Brent and Cindy on matching chocolate Rocky Mountain horses and the tortoise/hare pairing of Linda  and Chris.

For those of you that missed the ride, the format was a self-guided ride following paper plate makers at your desired pace with riders/horses of your choosing. All riders were given their first card at sign-in. Riders then crossed Rivers Road a total of three times where riders drew cards to build their Poker Hand. The dealers included Katrina, Ron, Doel, Sue and Lyn with Katrina calculating the winning hand. The ride lasted about 2 ½ hours and shortly after the last riders arrived back at the trailers Katrina announced David as the winner. David then donated his winnings back to STA less $40 for a dinner celebration. Thank you, David. STA now has an additional $180 to spend on trail projects.

Win number 2. The third winner was an abandoned Fox Terrier found in the Forest by Ron and Doel. After dealing their Poker cards, they rushed the dog to the emergency vet. After surgery and attempts to locate the owner, the dog has been adopted by Ron. Lucky would be a good name.

April 3, 2016 – Alford Arms

We had 9 riders for this Sunday ride, beginning at 10:30 am, on a gorgeous Spring Day.  Low humidity, cobalt blue skies and 65 degree temperature is what we all agreed was perfect riding weather.  A nice breeze would erupt about the time riders thought about shedding a long sleeve top.  Rider horse combos were: Connie & Dakota, Megan & Muchacho, Carole & Pax, Jade & Orfebre (guest), Peter & Stepper, Chris & Rose, Paulina & Cedar (guest), Laura & Thunder (guest), and ride leader, Janet on Charlie.  We broke into 2 groups as a couple of riders needed extra time to fix tack or tack up, but both groups rode the perimeter of the Greenway, using single and multi-track trails with ride times at 2 hours.  The trails were in great shape, even after all the rain that hit our area Friday night.  We shared great fellowship, strengthened newcomers to join us again, and join STA, so to me, this ride reflects the very best of STA!  I want to thank Connie for bringing an extra horse (Thunder) for my friend, Laura, to ride.  This was my last ride prior to knee replacement surgery, so it was extra special for me and I really welcomed all the joyous celebration.  Thank you to all the riders for a great time.  Oh, and the expanded parking is working out so well.  What an improvement!  We had six rigs and 2 other groups of 5 trailers were arriving as we were leaving, but there was still plenty of parking.  Thank you Leon County Division of Parks and Recreation for quickly addressing our concerns!

February 20, 2016 – Joe Budd Ride

17 riders showed up for the Joe Budd Wildlife Management Area ride.

First and most important, I want to thank all the people that made this day possible: Suzanne and Linda for doing extra duty marking trails and helping me learn more about the Joe Budd area; Donna for helping with trail marking; Ron, our Executive Chef, for cooking hamburgers and hotdogs; my husband, Herb, the Sous Chef, for cooking up the beans and helping put lunch together; Richard, for helping too (and he thought he was coming to relax and read a book J). This day would not have happened without your help!! Thanks so much!!!

After a few tack adjustments, we rode out at 10:20. This is truly an awesome area to ride. With the beautiful bluff we rode overlooking Little River and very little imagination, you would have thought you were in the mountains. We crossed streams, rode through ditches, went over downed trees, climbed up and down hills and wound around the trails, eventually arriving at the pavilion and pond.

Since Terri thought she was the entertainment for the day, and before we got out of the woods, she went head over neck on Star and hit the ground. Jumping back up and saying “I’m okay, I’m okay” we all felt relieved and proceeded to help her mount back up. Like a real trooper, she got on her horse and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day. (Terri, we might have to bring our old “sodbuster” award back to life for you).

After leaving the pond, Suzanne took us on a short cut back to the trailers, but of course not before treading through a few areas of water. Suzanne got a little surprise when her horse, Sage, decided to take a little dip in the water (with no warning) and Suzanne just gracefully rode her back up and continued on like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Comments I heard afterwards were “awesome ride”, “that was great”, “we did a little bit of everything”, and “fantastic ride”. If you weren’t there, you missed a great one – maybe you can make it next year.

We rode 2.5 hours on the first half and arrived back for lunch at 12:45. The guys had lunch ready for us when we got back (how awesome is that). We enjoyed not only just hamburgers, but bacon cheeseburgers (wow Ron – you can cook for me anytime), baked beans, chips, and Lyn surprised us with pasta salad and potato salad, and of course dessert which was cookies and cupcakes.

After relaxing a bit, Suzanne, Linda, Nancy, and Ambrose went back out for the second half of the ride. They just didn’t want to stop on such a gorgeous day. Instead of taking the planned route, they decided to scout out a few different areas for about 2 hours. I understand they had a great time on that ride too.

January 30, 2016 – Phipps Park

If you missed this ride, you missed a good one! The weather was absolutely gorgeous with a slight breeze. Ambrose was the first to arrive and brought Sally. I arrived next with Bud and was surprised to see the city has extended the fencing on our parking side of the locked gate. I wondered if they were going to move the gate further in as I think they must be trying to provide more parking space for hikers and bikers. It’s disappointing to me, however, because it cuts off some of our access to shade under the trees and we will be forced to park in the field (that doesn’t get mowed very much) if a whole bunch of us show up to ride in the future.

Our new president, Janet, was the next to arrive with Charlie, then Sharon and Herb came in with Cricket and General. They were running a little late and said they would catch up with us if they weren’t ready by the start time. Another trailer pulled in and it was Mike Mathers, who used to be in the club a couple of years ago, with his horse Shay. I invited him to join our group and he was delighted. We also gave him an application to rejoin at his request!

When the start time arrived, Mike was still getting ready and Herb and Sharon were not quite ready, so Ambrose, Janet and I took off at a slow pace heading toward the ball fields to the east. I showed them where we are supposed to get a single track trail to get us over to the power line so we can avoid erosion, rocks and a blind turn. This can be dangerous as I have seen bikers come very fast through that turn and scare horses. I hope we can get this short trail accomplished this year.

After we got on the single track that goes by the ball fields, we heard the other riders and so we became one group. We rode down to see the bat house and Lake Victoria is still drained. I was surprised by this as I thought it was drained for the new dock that was recently built. The lake is owned by the Phipps family and is not part of the park. I mentioned it would be neat to see the bats leave at sundown to find their prey but did wonder if that activity would spook the horses.

Lake Jackson had plenty of water in it and I saw my first boat on the lake! Usually it just looks serene and inviting, even though you can’t get near it!
We continued on the multiple use trail until our single track trail came up which was developed to keep us off rocks they have put on the roads. This is a nice trail but it could use some remarking so that people know exactly where it goes.

All in all, it was a good two-hour ride and everyone had a good time.

Membership Renewal Time!

It’s time to renew your STA Membership. Don’t miss out! Download the membership form and mail it and your dues in today!

January 23, 2016 – Fort Braden

Most Floridians would agree it was too cold for activities on this day, but the 3 of us (Sharon, Ambrose, and Wendy bundled up and went for a ride! The temperature was in the mid thirties with winds of 15 to 20 mph. It was surprising to see a large group of people headed for a walk on the trail when we arrived. While we prepared our trusty mounts (Cricket, General and Sally) we sipped home-made hot chocolate. We then began our 2 hour trek on the East Loop. The creeks had a good amount of water and General enjoyed a few sips of the cold water. There was a tree that had fallen on the trail so we had to go around it, but other than that the trail was in good shape. We did not see any wildlife, and despite the cold weather it was a pleasant ride.

December 19, 2015 – St. Marks River State Park (Tram Road)

Nine souls came out to brave the low 40’s temperatures on this beautiful clear and sunny morning.  Ron, Doel, Charlotte, Pam, Herb, Jud and Jennette, Sue, and Bob.  Everyone certainly appeared to have plenty of cold weather wear on as we all appeared larger than normal.

The ride started out on the main blue trail and veered off in short order to a side trail (can’t remember if it was one of the colored trails).  The trails in this park are generally quite soft and with the rain Thursday as we went on the West perimeter of the park they became damp to muddy.  We were in the shade for about the first half of the ride and when we hit the occasional sunny opening comments could be heard about how good the sun felt.  We saw lots of deer tracks and later quite a few turkey tracks but didn’t see any live game.  We came to a point on this woodsy perimeter trail on which there were signs closing off the further portions of that trail and we turned around, back tracked a little and took an alternate route.  When we finally got back to the primary blue trail comments could be heard about how nice it was to be in the sun.  We had no near death experiences and all the horses were well behaved (probably because we didn’t see any game) even though you could tell that the cool weather had them all a little more energetic.

When we returned to the parking lot Ron fired up his gas burner and heated up a large pot of gumbo he made.  He also cooked some rice right there to be with the gumbo.  It wasn’t seafood gumbo or vegetarian gumbo but rather a combination of sausage, seafood and vegetable.  Pam and Jennette brought some brownies and Bob brought garlic bread and corn bread to eat with the gumbo along with the remainder of the Funny hat ride prize cookies from last Saturday.  Herb broke out a bag of Lime Tostitos chips which were a big early hit.  Ron also brought some Champagne and vodka along with homemade orange juice to make your choice of Mimosas or Screwdrivers.  We christened the meal with a toast to a Merry and safe Christmas.  The food was very good and we had a great social lunch.  There was talk of going home and taking naps that afternoon so you know we ate our fill.  The spoils were divied up and we all called it another successful ride.

December 12th, 2015 – Rivers Road Crazy Hat Ride

Ten bold riders came out for a fun ride at Rivers Rd. We had lovely weather and a really pleasant ride on the new National Forest Blue trail heading south this time on our own yellow trail. But during the ride we switched from our yellow trail to parts of the blue, red and ended up coming back on our orange trail. There was very good behavior on the part of our mounts and no spooks, jumps or kicks. Mini mule decided she didn’t want any horse to pass her so she wove from side to side to block trespassers. We ran into one lone hunter standing by his truck and one dog walker with a couple of black dogs running loose but there were no problems. The ride lasted about three hours.

Now for the hats. Herb Rosinsky wore one of his wife’s hats with a rose flowered motif. Bob Bardes had on a colorful knit creation with a funny tassel thing that stood straight up on top that turned out to be an Ethiopian tribal hat that he had actually picked up in Ethiopia.Lyn Grant and Doel West wore flowered creations made for the Water Olympics in bright purple and chartreuse green. Except Doel wore it over her normal outback hat and ended up looking like something out of the 1900’s.These riders good naturedly wore their hats the entire ride. The hunter and dog walker didn’t give us a second look so I assumed they think horse riders are normally a little weird and dress like this all the time!!

Back at the trailers some of the others donned their attire. Jennette Curtis donned a smashing green cow girlish hat that complimented her green Christmas shirt and Jud sported a Daniel Boone coon skin cap. Nancy Stephens dressed in what looked like a cartoon version of a stuffed penguin and Pam Freeman wore a Jokers turban with long pointed arms spouting out of it. Ron Tuttle came as himself and Katrina Ward took all the pictures.

The first prize went to Bob Bardes for a very original hat. He shared the big box of Christmas cookies with all and Lyn brought cold mini cokes for everyone. Nice ride and a nice day.Won’t you join us next time?

Annual Dinner Meeting and Election of Officers and Directors

The Annual Dinner meeting has been scheduled.  It will be held Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at the Leon County Horseman’s Association Building, 188 Horseman’s Association Road, Tallahassee.  A Social Hour will begin at 5pm and with Dinner served at 6pm.  The business meeting and elections will follow along with a special guest speaker, Jed Dillard, from the Jefferson County Livestock and Natural Resources Office discussing Creeping Indigo.  Cost for the dinner is $15 and reservations are required.  Look for invitations coming via mail with an RSVP card to return, as well as an email with details.

November 21, 2015 Miccosukee Greenway @ Crump Road Trailhead

Herb and I arrived bright and early and were surprised when there were quite a few cars in the parking lot. We thought we might meet lots of bikers and hikers on the trails, but surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. Most of the people that we passed were courteous. One woman just stopped, smiled and said “I don’t know what to do.” I told her, what she did by stopping was perfect, we talked and everyone went on their way. One hiker was even nice enough to tighten Janet’s horse’s boot. Even though small gravel has been laid on the main trails, it ‘s now packing down and getting some leaf coverage making a great trail to ride on. Riders included Janet, Kathleen and Herb and myself. We had great weather with a cool breeze making our 2.25 hour ride perfect. — Sharon

Nov 7, 2015 Fall Benefit Ride

STA sponsored a trail ride at beautiful Crowder Farm to raise funds to benefit Triple R Horse Rescue Association. It was a lovely day and thanks to the good Lord-dry- as the next two days Tallahassee was drenched in a deluge of rain. We had a good turn out of 42 riders and raised all $420.00 for Triple R.

Crowder Farm is a lovely spot in a plantation like setting with huge lovely Live Oaks scatter every where among pines and nicely mowed avenues of grass and feed plots. There is one section that was at one time part of the Old St. Augustine Rd. and is bordered by a long row of very ancient Oaks. And the trailer parking area was near a large wooden deck with bath rooms and horse watering facilities.

The trail was marked with paper plates with options for a short and longer ride which took up about two hours more or less. It was set up so riders could go at their own speed and in their own groups self guided.
Our only problem was the caterer didn’t show up.  Some how some signals got switched and no one is totally sure what happened because Jud thought everything was arranged. So our sincere apologies to the attendants for this inconvenience.  I was sure looking forward to that big juicy hamburger, but the ride was well worth the contribution.

Our special thanks to the Crowder family for letting us use their lovely property for this event. We also want to thank Jud and Ron and I believe Bob for setting up and marking the trails. Our special thanks to Sharon and Karen for arriving early and taking up liability forms and contributions. I hope I haven’t left any body out. — Roving Reporter

October 17, 2015 – Apalachicola National Forest @Rivers Road

We started off on a very cool and brisk sunny day in long sleeves that we kept on for most of the ride. This was to be a Lyn and Bob ride but Bob had issues with catching his horse and called to say he wouldn’t make it. However he did finally catch the horse and arrived 10 or 15 minutes after we left but said he couldn’t catch us. And we were going slow as I decided to make this a poker run ride and was stopping here and there to hand out cards. We were playing seven card stud and our best hands were made up of the best five cards in our hand.

I also decided to ride the new blue forest trail which is superimposed over several of our trails. These trails are painted with large paint splotches directly on the trees every 20 feet which even Ray Charles would be able to see. We went north on our orange trail and picked up our blue trail and later the red trail. It was really a very pretty ride and we were all chatting away enjoying ourselves when Ron said ” Lyn, we missed a turn”. How we did it I’ll never know but we did. Ron with his built in GPS shortly had us back on tract. The cards were given out regularly at several stops and I made the comment that I hoped someone skinny like our guest rider’s Doel or Mindee won first prize because I had picked up a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the winner. Doel chirped up that she didn’t know what she had as she had never played poker.

Much to our delight we had two new member riders with us-Ann and Mike from Bristol on their cute little pinto horses. We certainly enjoyed their company. There was Ron, Ambrose, Sue and Lyn as well.
The ride lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes and back at the trailers we checked out the poker hands. I had handed out 56 cards (1 deck and 4 cards from another) and ” KNOW NOTHING ABOUT POKER” skinny Doel won the donuts with 4 sevens. She also had 3 twos. Beginner’s luck I guess!!

I also handed out STA tote bags to women and STA kerchiefs to men just for participating.. It was really a fun day.

Roving Reporter

Oct. 10, 2015 – St. Marks Rail Trail Under the Power Lines

Seven riders set out on this beautiful fall morning for a leisurely ride through unmarked single and double tract trails.  The wildflowers and butterflies were gorgeous entertainment to our eyes and the friendly banter made this ride a most pleasant one.  Katrina, Pam, Lyn, Ron, Bob, Ambrose, and a guest rider took a leisurely pace along shaded trails and around ponds that looked like they could use some rainfall.  We stopped to water the horses at one of these along the way.  Unfortunately, Bob’s mount Hooker developed a girth gall and Bob decided to get off and walk him back to the trailer early-on in the ride.  Near the end of the ride, Katrina decided to pick some flowers and then Ambrose had a scare when his new saddle slipped.  However, he was no worse for wear, and since we were in sight of the trailers at that point, a few of us decided to walk our horses in.  All in all, a very nice ride!

Sept 19, 2015 Fort Braden East Loop

We had a very nice ride.  8 riders showed up and the weather was wonderful.  In the woods and valleys of Fort Braden it was quite pleasant, and the parts of the trail along the lake had a very nice breeze.  All the horses were well behaved and managed well with the downed limbs and recently fallen leaves.  The trail has been changed up recently and we had a bit of confusion with the markers, ribbons and paint, but we found our way for a 7 1/2 mile ride — Connie

Sept 12, 2015 Aenon Church Road Trailhead

Due to the weather our ride got moved to Sunday afternoon and the weather was perfect.  Ambrose and I were the only club members, but we had three guest riders – Megan A., Pam S., and Lis K.  Lis came all the way from Cairo to ride with us, and it was Megan and Pam’s first adventure on that trail.  We had a good time, but trail work is due on that trail – many places had lots of branches and trees down making it hard to follow (or even find) the trail – Connie