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!

Pam

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!

Megan

 

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

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 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

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.