The 2014 Labor Day Trail Ride sponsored by OETRA is just a few days away. In Oklahoma, trail riders are ready to hit the trails by Labor Day weekend as August is usually hot and dry. Due to the heat, there are not a lot of trail rides in Oklahoma in August. Early September brings some cooler temperatures and wonderful trail riding weather! The ride is open to members and non-members and will be held at Robbers Cave State Park. The cost is $10 per person for members and $15 per person for non-members with family maximums for all. We plan to attend part of the weekend, but can’t make the entire event. Hope to see you there! For more information, contact Wendy Hanson, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dawna Graham, email@example.com or the web page for this outstanding Oklahoma trail riding association.
We ride every weekend, it goes with the job. Often we ride here at the ranch or the surrounding area. Sometimes it’s nice to break the monotony and find some place new or revisit a trail we’ve ridden in the past. Many of our rides away from the ranch are made at the last-minute. We load the trailer and go. Because these spur of the moment decisions are usually made with little advance notice or warning, folks don’t get invited.
The rest of the week all we hear is, “Man, I wish I’d known you were going there. I wanted to go!” We especially hear it when Shawn rides.
People like to ride with him because they learn a lot. With years of training horses professionally and a lifetime of riding horses, he has the answers. More important, he honestly shares what he knows. But, you have to be ready for complete honesty. If you want to be told you’re a great horseman, then you have to be one. Otherwise, the advice and comments are straight-forward and intended to make you a better rider. Most people appreciate the tips and readily accept the benefits of his experience.
In any event, we decided to pick a date to ride and give everyone some notice. If you want to come ride with us, you are welcome. It’s not a trail riding club. There’s no fees or charges. No rule books or releases to sign. We are just going to tell you where we plan to ride and the date. If you ride with us, there’s only one rule. You ride with respect; respect for the horse and the other riders.
This ride is not an organized trail ride, but the opportunity for all of us to ride together and enjoy some pretty country from horse back. If you want to come, put September 20, 2014 on your calendar for the Will Rogers Centennial trail at Oologah Lake in Oklahoma. We intend to leave the main trail head at 9am. This time we’re telling everyone well in advance the place, the date, and the time. If you want to ride, we’ll see you there!!
Chex, one of our AQHA quarter horse geldings in the two-year training program, is really coming along well. We have taken Chex for granted just a little and probably haven’t said enough about him. Chex is super quiet and relaxed. Although he has the “giddy up” if you want or need it, he takes everything in stride. He keeps his feet under him well in the rocks as well as in the mud. He has a good mind and willing attitude. At the mid-point in the training program, Chex is being ridden by several different people. He is a real pleasure to trail ride. You can just set the auto-pilot and watch the scenery or enjoy some good conversation while Chex does the driving. If you want to steer, he neck reins and backs really well. Chex is a lot of fun right now and will be a spectacular trail horse upon his completion of his education.
Some folks may ask, if he is doing so well, why not just graduate him now. We believe the second half of the training program at the ranch is the refining and testing that can only come over an extended period of time and a lot of hours in the saddle. Our customers are generally looking for horses that can do (and will do) nearly anything. The second year is devoted to reinforcing all the lessons with as giving as many experiences as we can create, imagine, or dream up. For instance, the we rode past a couple of trucks hauling hay along a dirt road with those hay trailers that hold 8 or 9 round bales. The old road was rough and full of holes. The trailers were empty so they banged and clanged loudly. A great experience for a trail horse just to ride about five feet from the trailer going down the road for a few minutes.
These are the kinds of situations we use throughout the training. But, the second year is where you see the horse really began to use the confidence inspired in the first year and build up on it to the point that virtually nothing causes panic. The second year is also the time the horse is ridden much more extensively by multiple riders teaching him to accept cues that may not exactly replicate the initial training he received. A huge benefit for riders who haven’t spent the last 30 years in the saddle. Chex is headed for graduation in August, 2014, and receiving high marks so far.
The AQHA trail riding video is part of discoverhorses.com. You can watch the video and hear what first-time trail riders liked about the experience. Just like we say all the time, trail riding is therapeutic. There is a bridge in the video and the horses are shown crossing it the way a well-broke horse should act. Walking quietly and calmly across the bridge to our way of thinking is not just a good idea, it is required for safety.
We have discussed Oklahoma Horse Online and really like the site. If you are trying to find a trail ride, there is a calendar of events that has a lot of upcoming Oklahoma trail rides across the state. It is a really convenient way for you to locate rides that fit your schedule.