March 17, 2018 Fort Braden

This ride began with some confusion as the ride hosts were not there. President Linda quickly decided we needed to regroup. She took the signup sheet provided by me and began to get signatures of participants. We decided to break into two groups since some folks arrived as we were ready to begin and Linda offered to wait for them to tack up. They were nonmembers and her act of generosity in hosting them was commendable.

So, the group that left out to ride the East Loop consisted of Sue on Bud, Arlene on Scooter, Leslie on Luna, Stephanie on Quia and Stacy on Angola, the cutest little buckskin mule I have ever seen! I gave the riders some history of how we ended up getting horse trails on Ft. Braden and also offered other facts about the area as we rode for three hours.

We decided to go down to the Lake Pavillion and when we arrived, one of the ride hosts was there, Ambrose on his mare, Sally. He was running behind because his good friend Rocky was not around to help him. Come to find out, she was in the hospital. Leslie had a lot of fun on Luna at the first water crossing we came to but Luna figured out pretty quick that it had to be ok because the other horses crossed with no hesitation. It’s always nice to have good role models for horses that aren’t used to trails!

All in all, the ride was enjoyable and we weren’t bothered with many bugs. The latter group that rode for two hours consisted of Linda on Scarlett, Cathy on Blondie, Sarah & Dulcinea on Cressie and Spartacus and Becky on Tanner. We hope these guests enjoyed riding with us and will consider joining the club.

Fort Braden Tract – Lake Talquin State Forest

Submitted by Sue

March 31, 2018 – Moonlight Ride Buckhorn Camp

This ride started at Buckhorn Hunt Camp in the Apalachicola National Forest on Forest Road 360; perfect location for moonlight rides because the roads are white sand My Quarter horse Scarlett was unnerved by the wagon. James and Bitsy Jacobs had a pair of paint horses hitched to a custom-made wagon. Lavater Johnson rode in the wagon. James said ya’ll stay here while we take the wagon up the road a piece. I need to see how the horses will react to the lights. The paints were not bothered by the lights but Scarlett was upset by the whole thing. She has seen a wagon but not in the dark with lights. Sensory overload maybe? She followed the wagon a while keeping her distance. She managed to walk fast enough to catch up and pass the wagon. Once past she stayed on a power walk, I didn’t know she could walk that fast! For a change, I was able to keep up with the gaited horse.

I enjoyed talking to Tonya Six, on her TWH Lady; she has been riding this part of ANF with her family all her life. Occasionally, Scarlett would stop, spin 180 degrees, see the wagon, complete the spin and take off at her power walk again. Scarlett spooked at a hole in the road jumping to the right unseating me. I managed to get back in the saddle after several strides. I managed to stay on but it wasn’t pretty!I heard the riders behind me laughing.
Angola Stacy’s buckskin mule was on her second ride of the day they rode 10 miles at Otter Lake that morning. Stacy noticed the moon was so bright we had shadows. What a fun ride.
We rode 3 hours. I started to untack realizing my horse was too wet for the cool night. Stacy loaned me a sheet and pads to cover Scarlett. Thank you, Stacy. Ambrose loaded Sally and left. He said it was past their bedtime. Percy and Ginger Jacobs loaded up and headed to Taylor County. Sandra and Carl decided not to camp so they headed home to Hosford.

Tram and I visited with James and Bitsy and thanked them for a beautiful moonlight ride. Then we headed home on bright Easter morning.

February 10, 2018 – Joe Budd WMA

Ten riders and their horses showed up Saturday morning to enjoy riding the Joe Budd trails: Sharon, Mike, Rocky, Ambrose, Nancy, Gaye, Clayton, Linda and Wendy, along with guest, Peggy. I haven’t seen Peggy in quite some time and enjoyed catching up with her. Considering the weather had been threatening rain this weekend, we got very lucky as the day was great for riding; a slight breeze and cool enough to be enjoyable. On the first half of the ride going through the woods, we stepped over many downed trees, crossed several streams and climbed a couple fairly steep hills, enjoying every minute. Several times we were high enough, we could look down at the river – what a view. After riding the woods, we headed for the pond to have lunch, had a nice break, then trekked off again on another woodsy path bordering the pond. This year, the second half of the ride consisted of a little bit of road, a little bit of fields, and a ride over the dam, then heading back to the trailers making this a 3 hour experience which I think everyone enjoyed very much. If you get the urge to go, the Joe Budd Hunt Calendar online shows no hunting through March 9, so you still have time to ride there any day of the week. Sharon

January 20, 2018 – Alford Arms

To my surprise, only a few folks showed up for the ride. The weather was perfect! Rocky and Ambrose were already there when I pulled up. They brought some young horses to “pony” so they could get trail experience. Herb and Sharon showed up a few minutes later, followed by Linda. Linda brought me Blondie to ride since Amos wasn’t feeling well. Ambrose and Rocky were ready to go, so they headed out about 10:30 while the rest of us tacked up. We encountered the train on the trail, and all horses handled it well. We rode almost to the neighborhood and then looped back. It was about 1:00 when we returned, and Ambrose and Rocky were just getting back as well. We all had a very pleasant ride!

Successful Benefit Ride for Triple R Rescue!

WOOHOO!!!!!!! I think everybody would call this ride a big success! A perfect day with a nice breeze, lots of nice trails to ride at your own pace and lunch afterwards to kick back, socialize with friends and finish off the day. What more could you ask for. Two of our riders even saw a mama bear and two cubs, but by the time they got their camera, the bears disappeared into the woods. A number of riders spotted deer too.

A total of $1,151.50 was raised for Triple R. With 64 riders, $640.00 was collected, along with $15.00 in extra donations. Triple R held a small tack sale from donated goods, which generated $240.50. David Rigdon, with Triple R, grilled hotdogs and served plates of hotdogs, assorted chips, assorted desserts and drinks generating $256.00 for the grand total of $1,151.50.

I want to thank everybody who helped make this day successful, and thank all the participants that came to ride. I also greatly appreciate Jason Crowder allowing us to ride their plantation and use their facilities.

If you weren’t there, you missed a really fun day!

October 28, 2017 – Fort Braden

The day dawned clear but rain was expected in the afternoon. I left home earlier than usual because I knew a large crowd was expected. As I pulled up to the “fee box”, I noticed a large area had been taped off at the edge of the trailhead across from the box. The ground was wet and muddy. I wondered if it would cause a problem for folks to maneuver their rigs to get into the trailhead the more crowded it became but we have good drivers in our club. Ambrose and Wendy were already there as well as Tram, who was the trail boss for the ride. Herb was behind me. Tram told me his horse had been lame all week but seemed ok now but asked if I would lead the ride if Harley wasn’t able to handle it. Of course I agreed. As it turned out, there were two rides: one for slower horses and one for gaited horses. Tram led the gaited group on Harley on the west trail and Linda led the slower group on the east trail. I usually ride the east trail so I was looking forward to riding the west trail. We hadn’t gone very far when word was passed up that Tram had to turn back. So, Sadie and I were put in charge and the rest of the riders were Ambrose on Sally, Herb on Buddy, Tonya on Dusty, Lavater on Bucky, Mike on Sage and Marti on Deliliah. (Marti is the recreation specialist for the Talquin State Forest and looks after the Ft. Braden trails; she said the mud is due to a pitcher pump to be installed for us to have water for the horses!) The first thing I discovered was the trail turned down the last jeep road instead of continuing on toward the lake. This cut out a beautiful part of the trail that used a firebreak and then followed a small creek that is absolutely awesome. (On another ride out there I’ll be glad to introduce folks to it because it’s not too far from the new turn.)   As we continued down the jeep road, Herb’s horse started spinning like something had bitten him but soon settled down. We then turned into the woods on the single track trail that wound up and down small hills. It wasn’t long before three small deer crossed in front of us. We waited to see if more would pass but they were by themselves. It soon became obvious that we need to have a workday to replace signage as many of our markers were on the ground so we relied on the treadway itself. We spooked another deer as we continued our way down toward the lake and I then pointed out some large holes and explained that I had been told two different theories about their existence. The first was that Indians dug for clay there; the second was that boy soldiers during the Civil War dug the holes to be prepared to fight the Yankees if they came up the river to invade Florida and capture the Capital. As we continued toward the pavilion, I stopped to get everyone together and noticed a small turtle. When Sadie saw it, she snorted at it and she and it moved in different directions. I think she has a phobia about turtles because the only other time she had seen one on a ride, she whirled and somehow I stayed on. When we got to the pavilion, we took a small break and wondered if the other group had arrived and left before we got there. We decided to continue to the next road and Ambrose led out. We wandered through the woods to the next road where Ambrose said goodbye because he was going to ride more. As we took the road back, three big deer crossed in front of us. When we got closer to the trailhead, we saw the other group returning on the east trail so we actually got back at the same time! All in all, I appreciated the opportunity to lead the ride but want to acknowledge Tram’s big disappointment in not being able to follow through as trail boss. We’ve all had experience with lame horses and I am sure there will be other rides he will lead for the club!

October 15, 2017 – Alford Arms Greenway

Seven members and eight horses rode the J.R. Alford Greenway on a Sunday morning where the temperature began at 76 at 10 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m., hit 84 degrees.  Humidity had all the horses lathering up during the ride.  Ride participants were: Herb Rosinsky on Buddy, Sue Noyes on Bud, Rocky Martin rode Silk but ponied Flicka her 1.5 year old filly, Ambrose rode Cuzzin, Paul on Mabrogada, Melody on Spirit and Janet on Charlie.  We had some horses walking a bit faster than others and the group broke into smaller groups towards the end.  It was great to see so many equestrians on the trail, as two other groups were riding and another arrived as we loaded back up.  We were surprised to see the tractors tilling the soil in the fields on a Sunday!  All the horses handled it well and no rider mishaps.  Come out and join the ride!

April 15, 2017 – Phipps Park

What a gorgeous day for a ride and that we did. Thirteen riders showed up at Phipps Park for a two hour ride. Several riders went out separately as they were our speedy riders. The rest of us sauntered off into the woods for an adventure. Fortunately Luanne, who knows Phipps quite well, was with us today helping me “lead”. She guided us through woods, fields and we even rode part of the Red Hills course checking out how the jumps looked right next to our horses. Nancy was determined to take her horse over one of those jumps but we managed to talk her out of it – see the picture. Gee, sitting on your horse right next to those jumps sure puts a different perspective on things. We even stopped to let our horses graze a bit. All in all, it was a relaxing day, but then again, anytime I’m on my horse, it’s a relaxing day. Sharon

February 18, 2017 – Joe Bud WMA

Eight riders and horses showed up Sunday to enjoy our Joe Budd ride; Sharon and General; Wendy and Amos; Kathy and Sunny; Bob and Hooker; Linda and Goldie; Terri and Star; James and Sugar; Ambrose and Sally. What a gorgeous day it was and I believe everybody enjoyed the ride. As we rode through the woods, we crossed over many downed trees, through several streams and up several fairly steep hills giving everybody a feel for what their horses can really do. Much of the trip we were overlooking the river. This is a beautiful trail and well worth riding. If you get the urge to go, there’s no hunting through March 10, so you still have time to ride there any day of the week. Sharon

January 28, 2017 – Otter Lake

Three riders braved the cold morning to enjoy a 3 hour ride at the beautiful Otter Lake trail in Panacea. Pam and Flashy, Nancy and Reel, and Gaye and Max had a great time riding, socializing, and enjoying the scenery in the St. Marks National Refuge. Nancy’s Montana horse, Rebel was right at home in the cooler temperature. The only complaint about the cold weather was our cold toes after the ride. We warmed them up at the Seinyard Restaurant at Wildwood Country Club in Medart, enjoying a seafood lunch after the ride. Great day, great ride, and great company!


January 15, 2017 – Alford Arms Greenway

In the early afternoon on Sunday, January 15, 2017, 13 horses and riders, including two guests, came out to en- joy the sunshine at Alford Arms Greenway. The group included Megan on Gus, Rocky on Silk, Ambrose on Sally, Chris on Ripple, Carole on Paxon, Janet on Charlie, Nancy on Gypsy, Mike on Sage, Gaye on Max, Linda on Scarlet, Paulina on Cedar, Morgan Bowman on her polo pony Sabrina, and Debbie Lightsey on borrowed Arabian Farley. We broke up into two major groups, one primarily interested in a slow ride, and the other in a medium-speed ride with energetic walking and some jogging. Riders were asked to avoid the single track as it is deteriorating, and cau- tioned to expect a train around 3 PM. We all started out following the tree line through the fields by the parking ar- ea, but soon the groups went in different direc- tions and the medium- speed group broke off with some a bit faster. That group weaved in and out of the various fields to add time and distance to their ride, then headed into the woods. It was fun for us to stop while Morgan  took Sabrina over a downed tree just off the trail. Later on there was opportunity for a nice canter, during which Cedar showed the big guys he has what it takes, and then a couple of people cantered completely around one of the big fields. It was more than a bit hot, so the pace slowed to cool out. All of the groups returned safely to the parking lot about two hours after ride-out. Everyone was smiling and happy, and a few comments about “best ride ever” were overheard. So happy to ride with no bugs this time of year! Thank you to everyone who came out!



December 10, 2016 – Crump Road

What a beautiful day for a ride! When I arrived, Linda and Blondie were already there passing around the sign-up sheet. They were the first to arrive! Those of you who know Linda are aware of just how amazing this was! Sharon arrived was also there Cricket and General. She hauled General for Luanne to ride. Sue was there with her 25 year- old mare Sadie, as well as Ambrose with his mount Sally. While we were tacking up, Luanne arrived with her daughter Emily. They hauled Buck for Emily to ride and Luanne rode General.

10 am rolled around quick and Sue and Ambrose were ready to go, so they headed down the trail at a slow pace so we could catch up. At least that was the plan! The rest of the group started down the trail about 10:10. We came across several people riding bikes and jogging. Everyone was very courteous to us and made sure they went by us cautiously.

The trail was in good shape except for a narrow part that we took on the way back. There were some areas that could use some “lopping”. We also chatted about how it would be nice if we could see better to cross the road. It is difficult to see when it is safe to cross, so one of us dismounted each time we needed to go across.

We (the second group) rode for 2.5 hours, and when we arrived at the trail head Sue and Ambrose had not yet returned. We never caught up with them or encountered them on the trail. We hung around and visited for a while, and after another hour they arrived. They said they road all the way to the big field at Thornton Road, and they couldn’t go slow because Sadie was in a hurry the entire ride! She apparently has many more trails to enjoy before she retires!
It was a great ride!

Happy Trails,
Wendy and Famous Amos

October 22, 2016 – Rivers Road

Nineteen riders set out on this beautiful Fall day to ride the Blue Trail off of Rivers Road. The sun was shining and the air was cool and dry. Sue Noyes and Ron Tuttle led this ride with the following riders: Jennette and Jud, Katrina, Bailey, Ambrose, Charlotte, Pam, Doell, Lavater, Tonya, Becky, Chris, Herb, Liz, Lyn and Paula, and Leatha. Just as we were about to enter the second stand of trees, one of our horse and rider teams took a tumble on a mound of sand. After the horse scrambled up, the rider was okay too and everyone enjoyed the rest of the ride. Several deer were spotted on this ride and the fall flowers and dappled sunlight put a few horses in a frisky mood. Four riders went on ahead, making this slow/fast ride a pleasure for everyone.

November 25, 2016 – Fort Braden

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for riding and clearly, 13 other riders felt the same as me!  We rode out in 3 groups to lessen the dust and make the ride more enjoyable for all.  2 groups rode the East Loop while one rode the West Loop.  There was evidence of fallen trees along both trails, likely a result of Hurricane Hermine.  Some of the larger trees has been cut through but other times the trail was briefly re-routed around the debris.  We had some horses wary of crossing water, but as is always the case on a STA ride, we ride to be inclusive and work with one another.  By the time a third water obstacle arose, all horses crossed without incident.

We did have campers at the trail head and also more campers using the horse stalls, which is great to see.

Members/equines pairings were: Janet/Charlie; Tonya/Lady; Gary/No More; Herb/General; Sharon/Cricket; Nancy/Rebel; Pam/Flashy; Ambrose/Sally; Ron/Mini; Linda/Blondie; Terry/Jake; and Kathleen/Sunny.  Two guests also joined our ride: Tram/Harley and Percy/Tequila.

As Pam remarked, this ride had quite a few new members and it was great to see the strong turnout for this special Black Friday Ride.  It sure was more enjoyable than shopping with thousands.  Some riders loaded up and headed home after the 2-2.5 hour ride, while others ate lunch together.  Gary and Jake hit the trail for more riding, as clearly 8 miles just wasn’t enough for them!  Till next time, Happy Trails!  Janet — Ride Leader.  Photo credits: Terry and Sharon

November 5, 2016 – Aenon Church Road

Ron was supposed to lead this ride, but alas poor Ron came down with a 6 day intestinal flu bug and Jud was asked to fill in. And we had an exceptional ride. The weather was blue bird perfect. Not too cool and not too warm and bright and sunny. The horses were mostly frisky and rearing to go. We rode down the power lines a long ways in the morning sun and ducked into the woods quite aways further down than usual. Pretty soon we encountered the metal bridge that horses aren’t fond of so Paula got off and lead Hoss across and all the rest of the gang followed like sheep. After that we rode through some truly beautiful forest property and ended up crossing the power lines again and rode the other side of the trails near Crowder’s pits. The ride lasted 2&1/2 hours and it was really a nice comfortable easy way to spend Saturday morning. The riders were: Jud and Jennette C., Nancy S., Pam F., Sue N., Herb R., Lyn G.,Paula G., Ambrose H. and Rocky ? Thanks for taking over the chore as leader Jud we sure enjoyed it.
Roving Reporter

Sept 25, 2016 – St. Marks Rail Trail

It’s 8 a.m. – I walk out to load my mare, Sadie, for the first Sunday ride for STA in quite a while. (Remember the questionnaire you filled out last year on what you wanted to see STA do for members? Some wanted rides on Sunday because of work schedules.) It’s 75 degrees already but this is no worry because Ron has chosen a shady route that is a little different from what we usually take. As I drive down US 90 toward town, I see a horse trailer up in front of me. There are two horses in it – small; Paso Finos, I think. I got excited thinking they were coming on our ride, but, alas, they turned toward Alford Arm! It made me wonder who would be joining us for this Sunday ride.

When I arrived at the trailhead, Ron was already there and had just unloaded his mule, Minnie. We talked for a few minutes and he, too, was wondering how many people would show up. Next came Charlotte with her gelding, Dakota; then Doel with her mare, Snippy. Things were looking up, I thought! Next to arrive was Pam with her mare, Flashy, then Ambrose rolled in with Rocky and a guest, Ashley. Ambrose brought his mare, Sally; Rocky brought her mare, Silk, and Ashley rode Ambrose’s mare, Sabrina. This was the Sunday riding group!

There were several comments about the temperature at the trailhead because the sun was beating down on us since we were parked under the power line. Ron and I assured everyone the ride would be shady and the heat would fade. True to form, that’s what happened! We left the trailhead via the rail trail parking area and took the road just south of the “canal” that separates our trailhead from the national forest. There were a couple of trees down across this road; one we had to go around and one the horses could step over. We then headed south to the main part of the forest and turned east back toward the rail trail. This area is very shaded and was welcomed by all as there was a nice breeze. The road then turned south and took us behind the Marpan Recycling Center. Do you know how big this facility is? Since we were there on Sunday, they weren’t up to “manufacturing speed”, but they had some fans running. None of the horses paid any attention to it. Next to Marpan is another business that deals in funeral supplies. I would give more details but don’t have proper verbage for all the units we saw. Just past the industrial area is a pond the horses really like. They love to eat the grass that grows in the water and a couple of them wanted to drop down for a bath, but didn’t get to do that!
When we left the pond, we headed west and crossed under a power line and ended up near Munson Slew. We didn’t want to get too close to it as we knew that there had been a big spill of sewage due to Hurricane Hermine. We turned north and then took a single track trail to get some diversity. We eventually ended up going back to the trailhead the way we had started out so the horses were excited knowing the ride was just about over.
As I loaded Sadie in the trailer and jumped in the truck, I noticed the temperature was 85 degrees. Not bad, I mused, for a two-hour Sunday ride in late September!
— Sue

Sept 17, 2016 – Alford Arms

Eight folks showed up for the Alford Arms ride on Saturday, 9/17 ready for a fun day. Riders and horses were Sharon on Cricket, Herb H. on General, Doell on Snippy, Ron on Mini; Herb R. on Buddy, Sue on Sadie, Pam on Flashy and Laura on Jewel. I thought it would be a good idea to avoid the large downed tree on the single track trail near the railroad tracks, so we started down the field first. The plan was to cut in later to join up with the single track trail. Well……best laid plans, right? The first cut had a very large hole in the trail that a couple of horses went over, but one did not, so we turned around and went back out to the field. The next cut was eventually blocked by downed trees, sooooo…we turned around and went back out to the field. By now everybody is joking that it’s not your normal trailride, but what does it hurt having a little adventure. (Well, hopefully “everybody” was thinking that). Finally the next cut, we managed to get around another downed tree and then trekked on, enjoying a breeze that may have had a hint of fall in it. (At least that’s what some of us chose to think). There was a bit more standing water next to these trails than I’ve seen before and on the way back, there was actually water on the trail that we waded through, as you can see in one of the pictures. All in all, a little adventure here and there as we enjoyed our 2.5 hour ride. Unfortunately, when we got back to the trailhead, the breeze seemed to have disappeared and it was a rude hot reminder that summer was still here. Oh well – hold that thought that cooler weather is right around the corner and that means more riding. Thanks to all who came out.

July 23, 2016 -Ride and Swim at Sand Pond

Ride leader Ron led off at a little after nine with most of a large group of riders for such a hot and humid day. But because of the heat Ron decided to keep the ride short and spend more time swimming. We left Katrina and her two riders in the parking lot adjusting tack and she will tell her story next. Mike came in later but managed to run into their group on the trail.

We were glad to have Donna and her mom Lou Ann from Bristol and their friend Sandy join us. There were some other new members and guests as well. Ron led us on an hour long trail that pretty much did a circle from lake to lake on mostly single track trails. Some places the summer vegetation had kind of taken over, but there were no real problems, only a few scratches. We returned to the trailers to change into shorts and grab our lunches. Then on to the swimming hole.

Every horse is different about water. Mine love it and have been coming to that pond for their entire lives. Tally couldn’t wait for me to get the saddle off and broke away from me and hauled himself right into a group of about 6 horses up to his back in water. He wasn’t hard to catch!! He also likes to float and when he does his rear legs go off to the side and he spins circles. Some of them snooze and groan and fall asleep. Others like to dig and splash and roll. What ever turns them on makes me happy because I know they are enjoying themselves on a hot summer day. Roving Reporter

June 11, 2016 – Phipps Park

This was a special ride for me, because it was my first official trail ride with my new mount “Famous Amos”. He is a little bit of a nervous guy, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I need to thank everyone that was on the ride for patiently waiting while I got my new tack just right and settled in the saddle. Amos was a little fidgety at first, but once we headed down the trail he was a brave leader and I was very impressed!

My trail partners were Sharon on Cricket, Ambrose on Sally, Rocky on Silk, and Laura on her Appaloosa, Jewel.

We headed down the trail toward the Meadows Soccer Complex and meandered through the woods. The biting flies were quite active, especially for me since I was in the lead. I was thankful that Laura brought some roll-on fly spray. It came in handy for Amos’s ears. I completely forgot I had a fly mask in my trailer!

Jewel and Silk were the only non-gaited horses and did a great job of keeping up with the fast walk of the gaited geldings. There were some arrows painted on the ground for a group of folks that were racing on foot. The horses were not impressed with these and refused to walk on them. Amos and Cricket snorted at them a few times, but no spooking occurred. At one point our normal trail was blocked to direct the runners and we got off course for a few minutes, but with Sharon’s EQUiTrail App and Laura’s map we quickly were back on the trail.

Other than the heat and a few flies it was a great ride! Afterwards Sharon, Laura and I relaxed and ate lunch while Ambrose and Rocky headed home. We had never met Laura and it was great getting to know her.
Come joins us next time at Phipps. It is a beautiful trail!

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