About connie@karattopp.com

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far connie@karattopp.com has created 78 blog entries.

STA Summer Social 2015

What a smashing event!! The summer social at Jud and Jennette’s was a really great time for all of us who attended and I believe there was at least 25 to 30 people that showed up. Thanks to Linda who went out of her way to call as many people as she could think of to encourage them to come. And it was really great seeing all our members and ex-members from many years back all gathered up again in one spot.
The swimming pool was really refreshing and so nice on a hot day. I spent most of my time there just wallowing and talking to various members I haven’t seen in a long time. Jud and Jennette’s home is delightful. I was there about seven years ago at a similar social. On my way to the ladies room I was taking in their recent renovations of the sun room off their bedroom and the revised accommodations in the bathroom. Everywhere there were touches of our equine friends. Jennette has done a great job of inserting their love of horses and dogs into their home. I was surprised the toilet paper didn’t have horses printed on it!!

Ron and Jud furnished us with some really delicious thick and juicy hamburgers and hot dogs that were expertly cooked by Bob. The covered dishes supplied by members rounded off the gathering with beans, salads, and desserts. Everything was sumptuous.

This was such a nice thing for Jud and Jennette to do for the club and we all appreciate it so much. I talked with Sue and we figured the club was about 25 years old. Only about 5 original members are still actively riding and participating. Hopefully we can pull in some new members and draw back a few of the ex-members to join us. Events like this help.

I would like to list everyone who was there but I would leave someone out and I don’t want to hurt any ones feelings. But it was sure nice having all those who showed up. Thanks again.

— Roving Reporter

August 8th Horse & Rider Cool-down at Sand Pond

At least the weather turned out nice after a day of storms the day before. I didn’t really expect any- one to show up but Ron and Doel because they told me they would be there. But five minutes after I parked Ambrose Holley pulled in and I had a call from Liz Rich and Becky Day that they were on their way. Ambrose and I went ahead to the pond as it was so hot standing in the parking lot just as Doel and Ron pulled in. Soon we were in the pond up to our arm pits and the horses were doing their thing. Midnight, Ambrose’s mare, hadn’t been swimming much before and she just kind of stood around. Tally,my gelding was an old hand at Sand Pond and he immediately started floating. Don’t ask me how he does it but his hind feet lift off the sand bottom and he pivots around on his front feet laying on his side. Doel and Ron had made it down by then and Doel’s mare, Tippy, headed in to her knees and dropped to her haunches and rolled totally over. She apparently loves the water. Ron’s mule Mini takes a good dip and hauls Ron to the grass in the pond to eat.

Becky’s horse Topper seemed to enjoy the pond and was quite happy wallowing in it but Liz’s horse Spirit wanted no part of it. He decided knee high was deep enough. But we all enjoyed the cool clear water, the blue skies and the chance just to relax and talk. After a couple hours of “coolin it” we retired to the shade of the trees and ate our lunches. Doel distributed snacks to the horses. Shortly after we tacked up and either rode or led the happy relaxed critters back to the trailers. It was a pleasant day. Roving Reporter

July 11, 2015 – Fort Braden Tract – Lake Talquin State Forest

Four riders turned out for the July 11th ride at Fort Braden: Bob on Hooker, Connie on Dakota, Chris on Rose and Pete on Stepper.  It was a very warm day but under the shade at Fort Braden it wasn’t too terribly hot.  For a change we rode the west loop.  We had a nice ride and didn’t encounter any wildlife besides lots and lots of spiders and their webs. Pete showed off his new saddle.  By the time we got back to the trail head the temperature was really rising and we fed cool watermelon to the horses as a treat — Connie



Horse & Rider Cool Down at Lost Lake!

8/8/15  Saturday, 9:30 a.m. @ Lost Lake.  Come join Lyn at Lost Lake with a dunk with your horse in Sand Pond.  Due to the high heat and humidity, we decided to skip the riding part of the “ride” and go straight to swimming with the horses.  Be sure to park in the horse trailer parking lot – no charge. Bring a lunch and drink down to the pond with you. Lyn has some extra saddle bags if you supply the hay strings to tie them on. She also has some extra Cordura saddles if you want to ride in the water in them. Wear your swim suit or shorts under your jeans. Bring a halter and lead rope if you don’t have water-proof reins. Sand Pond has a nice sand bottom and very clear water. Most horses love standing and floating in it.

Directions: Go west down Springhill Rd. off of Capital Circle N.W.  Pass Dog Lake Tower Rd., about 3 miles. There is a brown wood National Forest sign on your right saying Lost Lake Motor cycle parking trail head. The parking area is at the end of the road. Horse trailers are free in this park  – just write “horse trailer” on the donation slip and put it in the box.  Park in the gravel at the far end of the parking lot.  Ride Contacts:  Katrina (850) 459-6276  and Lyn (850) 556-9730.

May 16, 2015 Rivers Road Working Ride

Eight riders set out on the orange trail for what turned out to be an enjoyable working trail ride with lovely weather.  Katrina and her guest Bailey, Lesa, Sue, Ambrose, Ron, Lyn, and Herb participated in this 2 1/2-hour ride.  I want to thank all the people who showed up and helped turn this ride into a good work session.  I decided to get working points as well as riding time, and kill two birds with one stone. There are new multi-use trails in this area put in by the National Forest staff, that has made our equestrian trails difficult to follow, as well as painting over our markers or removing them. The forest service markers are painted directly onto the trees in bold splashes in either blue or pink.  Our equestrian trail markers are on painted metal squares.  If anyone is riding these trails, remember to follow only the metal markers or only the painted markers, as they are separate trails.  We repainted some of our metal markers, replaced some that had been removed, and got some off the ground as well as adding some additional markers in confusing places.  So far we have redone the yellow and orange trails.  My special thanks to Ron, Herb and Lesa, and all those that helped out.  — Katrina

June 13, 2015 Phipps Park

We started our ride a bit earlier at 9:30 to beat the heat, but as it turned out, the breeze kicked up and since we rode mostly in the shade, it was a very enjoyable ride. Liz and Becky, who we haven’t seen in forever, joined us and it was fun catching up with them. After asking everyone if they minded, Sharon decided it might be a good day to just wander the Park and explore trails, so that’s what we did. With a little help from Sue so we wouldn’t retrace our steps, we covered 5.3 miles in the two hours of riding.

We did run into a few spider webs with spiders attached, one dangling in front of my face from the bill of my hat. Always makes for a fun time….okay not so much L. We rode down “Vendor Row” under the big beautiful oaks and stopped to let the horses graze a bit. While we were there, out of the woods popped Linda V. who had arrived later, but tracked us and caught up with us to ride. It was a fun surprise to see her again and it gave all of us a chance to catch up with her.

Members enjoying the day were Sharon, Herb H., Sue, Herb R., Liz, Becky, Wendy and Linda. We only encountered a few hikers, so we basically had the park to ourselves.

Afterward, we lingered a while just enjoying the breeze, checking out Liz’s brand new living quarters trailer (she’s ready to go), laughing it up with Linda (you can’t help but laugh at her stories), talking about a fall camp trip and generally catching up. It was a fun day and of course always good to be on our ponies! — Sharon

STA T-Shirts are back!

Many sizes and colors to choose from.  Contact Bob Bardes – email or call  850-339-0448.

Is a Trail Rider Required to Carry Your Coggins?

By: H.D. Haughton, JD June 1, 2015

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (the “Department”) has been given the authority and responsibility by the Florida Legislature to control and eradicate Equine Infectious Anemia (“EIA”). The Department was required to formulate a program and promulgate all rules necessary for the successful implementation and administration of a comprehensive program for the control and eradication of EIA. The Department has adopted Rule 5C-18.010 (the “Rule”) which, among other things, requires owners of horses which are congregated at public or private assemblies to have in their possession a report of a negative EIA test conducted within the previous 12 months.

This report is commonly known as a Coggins Report or evidenced by a Coggins Certificate. Locations of such assemblies named in the Rule include: boarding stables and pastures, shows, exhibitions, fairs, rodeos, racetracks, trail rides and any other public or private assemblies. (While the word “assembly” is not defined in the Rule an acceptable dictionary definition would be; a meeting, congregation, get-together or gathering.) While these named “assemblies” would certainly apply to persons gathering at a trail head to commence a trail ride, they do not appear to include persons when actually participating on the trail ride.

Therefore a group of Southern Trailriders Association (“STA”) members collecting at a trailhead and preparing for a trail ride are suseptible to being asked by a state, federal or local law enforcement officer to produce a valid and current copy of a Coggins test for the horse(s) in their possession.

While the Department doesn’t have a Rule requiring a trail rider to have in his or her possession a Coggins Certificate when actually on the trail ride, other Florida Agencies do have such a requirement. The Agency which covers the major public lands on which STA members are likely to trail ride is the Florida Forest Service, which is a Division of the Department. This agency’s Rule 5I-4.003(14) states that “no person shall stage, ride or lead any horse on managed lands except on a designated trail or at a designated trailhead or designated access points.” Further that, “No person shall bring any horse onto managed lands without having in their possession a record of a current negative Coggins test for Equine Infectious Anemia as required by Rule 5C-18.010, F.A.C.”

This Rule is interpeted by Florida Forest Service law enforcement officers to require equestrians trail riding on Forest Service managed properties to have a Coggins Certificate in their possession at all times.

Many of the places Southern Trailriders conduct their trail rides are located on lands managed by the Forest Service including the Twin Rivers State Forest located next to McCulley Farms, the Wakulla State Forest and the Lake Talquin State Forest including the following Tracts: Bear Creek Tract, Joe Budd Tract (WMA), Fort Braden Tract, and the Rocky Comfort Tract, and therefore you must have a Coggins Certificate with you when riding in any of them. There is the following possible penalty for not doing so: “Any person violating or otherwise failing to comply with any of the provisions of Sections 589.011(4) or 589.071, F.S., or rules adopted pursuant to Section 589.011(4), F.S., is guilty of a non-criminal violation as defined in Section 775.08(3), F.S., punishable only by a fine not to exceed $500.00.

This is a link to all of the 37 state forests the Forest Service manages, and in which this Rule and the requirement to have a copy of your Coggins Certificate with you will apply.

In addition to the Florida Forest Service, three of the Florida Water Management Districts require a trail rider to have a proof of a negative Coggins test in their possession both when entering District property and when out on a trail ride. They are the South Florida Water Management District, the Suwannee River Water Management District, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Finally, the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails has also adopted a Rule requiring a trail rider to have a proof of a negative Coggins test in their possession both when entering the properties managed by the Office and when out on a trail ride. Persons found in violation of this Rule can be fined $250.

There may be other agencies, departments or divisions in Florida which have a Rule with the same or similar requirements Therefore, it seems to be a prudent practice for STA members to make sure they have a copy of their Coggins with them both when assembling for a trail ride and when actually out on the trail.

Recent truck and trailer break-ins at Rivers Road Trailhead

Be aware that there have been several truck and trailer break-ins and thefts at the trailer parking area at the Rivers Road trailhead. As always, is recommended that you carry on your person your photo ID, insurance card, a credit card, emergency contact info and cellphone – don’t clip this stuff to your saddle!   If possible do NOT leave anything of value in your truck or trailer. Also don’t forget to carry a copy of your horse’s Coggins with you.

Memorial Day Weekend Campout at McCulley’s Farm

Everybody came in on Friday, set up camp and then most of us went for a short ride in the late afternoon. We got so lucky with the weather, because there was no rain the whole time, just strong breezes and lots of sunshine, with a few clouds to help keep the heat down. Those who came were: Herb and Sharon, Marianne, Wendy, Connie, Jud and Jennette, Chris and Peter, all of whom had a great time. We rode every day (Rick P. rode with us on Saturday) and of course had most interesting dinners, conversations and lots of laughter. Richard McCulley, Wimpie McCulley and Rick and Linda P. joined us for dinner on Sunday night. We watched Connie fire her Raku Pots with her portable kiln, and decorate each one with our individual horse’s tail hair. And of course, we all purchased at least one and then compared notes of whose was the prettiest. Impossible decision because each one was so different and unique. Thanks Connie for making those and thanks to Vince for helping her. The whole weekend was so relaxing and fun and we’re ready for another camp weekend; just have to wait for cooler weather now. — Sharon


Sharon and Herb Haughton will be hosting a campout and ride at McCulley’s Farm in Jasper, FL from May 22 through the afternoon of May 25, 2015.Saturday will most likely be a day of organization and rides on your own. However, I’m sure we can arrange a guided ride if requested. Saturday night will be a group potluck hors d’oeuvres dinner – bring your favorite appetizer for sharing, along with your drink. Sunday morning will be an organized ride along the Withlacoochee River and Sunday night will be a group potluck dinner. Bring your own drink and a covered dish or dessert to share, along with a serving utensil. Each person will be responsible for making their own campsite reservation. Call 386-938-1147 for reservations – tell them you are with the STA group. Cost is $20.00/person/night for a campsite with electricity, water and 1 covered stall. Please let me know if you plan to attend, so I can plan accordingly.

As a special treat, Connie Woodward will be making her horsehair raku pots which you may purchase for a minimal amount. Bring approximately 18 strands of your horse’s tail hair and she will incorporate them into the pot of your choice. Call Connie for more information – 404-939-3113.Directions: Take I-10 East to Exit #262 and go north (left) on CR 255. Go about 3 miles to Highway 90, cross Highway 90 and continue on CR 255 for another 3.5 miles to flashing light at intersection of CR 255 and SR 6. Turn right at this light and go 5 miles (past the bottling plant on right, cross over bridges) to CR 143 on the left. Turn left on CR 143 and go north about 1 mile. McCulley’s will be on the left. Look for the sign. Pull up to the barns on the left, park and come find us if you are unfamiliar with the setup. We will be past the old windmill in the fenced in camping area. Any questions, call Sharon, 875-3722 (Home) or email to smhaughton@yahoo.com

May 2, 2015 – Alford Arms

It was the last of the cool weather mornings for several months and three riders took advantage of it: Sue, Herb and Janet. All riders were on gaited horses which meant a livelier walk could be enjoyed for the 2.5 hour journey through the shaded trail. The fallen tree is still down on the far side of the single track trail, but all horses managed to step over it. We started the ride at 63 degrees and ended it at 78 degrees, with the slight breeze really being appreciated. The new park- ing configuration does seem to be helping! Certainly, the relocation of the “Trailer Parking Only” sign will help further educate those individuals driving vehicles without trailers to park in the cars only areas. We did notice our return to the trailers stopped a couple of cars from pulling through the remaining opening. While there are two openings, the one closest to the foot bridge was blocked by a vehicle parking right at its opening. Thankfully, the other parking entrance remained available to us and the other equestrians of the day. — Janet

April 25, 2015 – Springhill Road Ride

I had a very difficult time trying to determine whether or not to hold this ride on Saturday or Sunday due to the weather predictions for the weekend. To top it off, they were wrong. However, five riders showed up, braving the chance of rain and the odds were in our favor because all of the rain, lightning, and wind went north across Tallahassee and we ended up having a very nice 2 1/4 hour ride. It began sprinkling on us as we were almost back to the trailer and we were able to untack and get on our way without getting too wet. It ended up only being a small shower and was over by the time I got to Bloxham Cutoff. I know all of you who stayed home in Tallahassee thought anyone who showed up for the ride was crazy because of the heavy storms up there. One concerned husband called to see if his wife was OK because of the storm at home. She assured him it was not raining where we were.

Braving the weather and taking advantage of the opportunity to get in a Saturday morning ride were Ron and Minnie Mule, Nancy and Gypsy, David and guest Anne Marie riding Cinnamon and Belle respectively, and me and Miss Flashy. We rode loops along FR 362 that follow Fisher Creek, in case we needed to make a quick exit back to the trailers. This worked very well and I was checking the weather radar at completion of each loop. It was pretty amazing to watch the weather north of us as it moved across Tallahassee and how the skies changed. We finished up on a portion of the blue trail and then followed the USFS pink trail back towards the trail head, taking a short detour to show David and Anne Marie the lakes close to the trail head. Good ride and good company. — Pam

December 13, 2014 – St. Marks River Preserve State Park

Saturday, December 13 turned out to be a cold, crisp, but sunny winter morning, a perfect day for a ride. Joining ride hosts Pam and Flashy, Ron and Mini were Ambrose and Sabrina, Janet and Charlie, Jim and Ol’ Smoke Tuttle, Jennette and Trigger, Jud and Red, Sue and new horse Sadie, Lyn and Tally, and Cody and Hoss. Lynn was colorful in her Christmas attire. We rode down to the green loop, made the loop and then returned incorporating the red and yellow trails in our return. We were not able to cross the river due to water. There was water in all the water crossing areas where streams would be when not in a dry period, as well as water in the ditches along side the main (blue) trail. There was not much wild life stirring; however we did see evidence of recent bears.

By the time we returned to the trail head, the sun was high in the sky and the temperature had finally crept in- to the 60s. Jackets and gloves came off and we all enjoyed a pot of Ron’s famous chili for lunch. Lyn and I brought the accompaniments for the chili and cookies and brownies for dessert. Spirits and camaraderie were high and we all had a very enjoyable time, complete with some comic relief from Lyn.

Pam & Miss Flashy

Fort Braden Work Day

Saturday, December 6, 2014—Ft. Braden Work Day

Wow! What a great workday we had! Marti Miller, Recreation Coordinator for Ft. Braden, was there and explained what she wanted to accomplish, which was to
mark the west trail in both directions and do overhead trimming. Lyn Grant did a good job of organizing the participants and we broke up into three groups: Sharon, Herb, Ambrose, Janet and Terri teamed up to do the overhead trimming and started west from the trailhead. Lyn, her grandson Cody and I took on the job of putting markers up so we rode to the lake and worked back to the west. Since we
had such a good turnout, the other group, consisting of Jud and Jennette, Katrina and her daughter Sarah, decided to do some work on the east trail
that Jud had already scoped out. The workday was very successful and I encourage all of ya’ll to go ride the west trail as you will find it a lot easier to navigate. The heavy shedding of leaves has covered the treadway quite extensively so the new markers will help everyone stay on the trail. I invite you to talk to any of the participants to get their story about this workday that lasted for 3.5 hours! Many thanks go to Lyn for sup- plying the aluminum markers and pink paint for to everyone else for bringing tools to do the trimming.

Aenon Church Road – November 22, 2014

Saturday, November 22nd turned out to be a partly, cloudy morning, but both Ron and I had checked the weather and according the forecast, it would be partly cloudy and near 70 until after lunch, then getting more cloudy with rain around 5:00 p.m. However, that is not how it turned out. We all got wet.

Five faithful riders turned out for the ride: Ambrose with Sally, Katrina with Bandito, Nancy with Gypsy, Ron with Mini Mule, and me and Ms. Flashy. While we were saddling, I noticed a change in the wind and had planned to take my jacket off, but decided to leave it on. As we left the trailhead, I noticed the clouds to the south were darker than the ones to the north. However, spirits were high and we were all in the mood to ride. We were happy for Nancy to be back, her first ride with the club since returning from Wyoming. We headed north, crossed the water crossing which has pretty much dried up, and then turned west. We crossed the grate bridge – that is, everyone but Mini crossed the grate bridge and Ron had to take her on the scenic route. We kept going west, passing the old JK Stables property, which has been cleaned up by the new owners and was looking nice. We even saw some horses in the pasture, boarders – we later learned. About 45 minutes out, Katrina noticed that it was misting rain. We kept going, but I got my cell phone out and opened the Intellicast weather radar map and there was a big blob of green south of Tallahassee, moving north. We took the next right to start heading back to the trail head. I kept monitoring the rain and it was getting closer and closer and we were getting hit with intermittent sprinkles. We made it back to the trail head with only a little dampness on our clothes, but before we could all get our horses loaded in the trailer, the rain cut loose. All total, we did get a 2 hour ride in and I don’t know about the rest of the gang, but I was just happy to be in the saddle for a while, rain or no rain. The company was good, the horses and Mini were great and the ride was a success.

Pam & Flashy

Benefit Trail Ride at Crowder Farm – November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014 Benefit Trail Ride at Crowder Farm

Twenty-six riders showed up at the Crowder Farm located in Lamont, Florida, in anticipation of a fun 2.5 hour ride and they were not let down. Jason Crowder and Terry Palmore worked very hard getting the property ready for our visit and it showed! The restrooms sparkled, the grounds were perfectly groomed and the trails were winding and beautiful. The group started out together, but soon spread out according to the pace each one wanted to keep. The sun was not shining, but who would notice when you’re riding your horse on this rolling plantation in the country and loving it. At the end of the ride, we were able to choose from a variety of lunch items from the Cast Net Food truck and enjoyed dining on the open wood deck. I heard lots of compliments about the food too (mine was very good). Many thanks to the people who helped put this event together. Also, many, many thanks to Jason for opening up the Crowder Farm to us, and to Terry for his hard work. Hopefully we can come back next year.  –Sharon

Article on Tallahassee Area Trails

Sue Noyes of the Southern Trailriders Association wrote an article about the great horseback riding trails in the Tallahassee area for the Equitrekking 50 State Trail Riding Project. Read the full article on equitrekking.com or here on Facebook.