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.

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?

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

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

 

 

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

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

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