Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

Tis the season to remember those we love, and gather together to celebrate the holidays. I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful year, made new friends and been able to share the trails with your horse or mule. We are very blessed to have weather that allows riding for the majority of the calendar year, and especially blessed with mild winters.

The leaves have fallen, covering some of our trails but also exposing some trail cleanup that is needed.

The Apalachicola National Forest Trail Clean-up event is set for March 4th, at 8 a.m. followed by a hosted lunch. Be saving your empty horse feed bags for us to fill with trash. We make a statement when bag after bag of horse feed is added to the trash collected versus those from non-equine groups. We will be scheduling a trail maintenance at Fort Braden Trails too, as the East Loop has a couple of spots where the trail signs are not visible.

By now you should have received your invitation to our Annual Dinner on Saturday, January 7th, at the Leon County Horsemen’s

Association Building. The social is at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. It is a bring your own booze but STA will furnish water, tea, soft drinks and coffee. STA is also furnishing the meat, both turkey and ham, as well as plates, cups, napkins and silverware. You are asked to bring a dish to share based upon your last name. Board Members are bringing des- serts as well as door prizes. Hopefully, we will have a good turnout, but do be sure to RSVP so we know how many tables and chairs to set up. The cost is $5.00 per person.

Finally, thank you for the opportunity to have served as your President for 2016. I am proud of our accomplishments: the growth in our membership, expansion of trail rides to days other than Saturday mornings, and non- riding fellowship events. All of these things were requested by the members at our January 2016 Annual Meeting. Our trail rides are attracting a larger number of riders, enough that we break into 2-3 groups. It has been rewarding to see riders enjoying the fellowship of other trail riding equestrians along one of our many trail locations, all because a group of riders 26 years ago identified a need to join their voices to seek areas to ride our horses. Our region has grown in population, with pressures for non- equine uses on our public lands. I am so thankful that those founding members formed Southern Trailriders Association, and that as we move into our 27th year, our organization has the opportunity to add even more riding locations, such as the St. Marks Headwaters Greenway, Torreya State Park and the Upper St. Marks River Corridor.

Happy Trails!