Tips for Trail Riders – Horse N Ranch March 2016
Greetings and welcome to a new column by and for trail riders. I teach trail riding safety and equine camping at horse expos across the US and spend the rest of the year riding and camping throughout the Pacific Northwest.
- Before you think of hitting the trail, you and your horse should master the basic skills of whoa and go, and steering at all gaits in a controlled environment.
- Mind your multi-use manners – Be courteous to the hikers, bikers we share the trail with. You’re an ambassador for equestrians.
- Save our trails — Join the Back Country Horsemen organization (www.BCHA.org) to work for land access and preservation at local and national levels.
- Wear a helmet – Cowboys aren’t so cool when they drool.
- Carry a cell phone on your body, not in a saddlebag, in the event that you and your horse part company
- Looking for adventure with your horses? www.trailmeister.com is a free resource that gives you the scoop on what to expect at the camp or trailhead.
- Pack a basic first aid kit and know how to use it.
Trail of the Month
Trailhead Coordinates: 33.57267, -82.89595
With a dedicated horse camp and twelve miles of trails A.H. Stephens is well known for its wonderful equestrian facilities. Those of us spending a night or nights with our horses and mules will enjoy the spacious and well-appointed equestrian campground. Twenty camp spots each with electrical and water connections round out the usual amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits, etc. Even better, horse campers at A.H. also have access to the main campground’s shower facilities. No need to settle for a cowboy shower here.
The trails at A.H. are well maintained and include a bit of everything that the Peach State has to offer a rider. If the flat sandy areas of southern Georgia are your thing you’ll find them here and begging to be taken at a good clip. And if the rockier, more challenging areas of northern Georgia call to you, you’ll find sections of that type of trail here as well. All told the twelve miles of horse friendly trails that circle, loop, and meander around Buncombe and Federal lakes will keep riders interested for as long as they wish.
If you’re so inclined the park, named after the Vice President of the Confederacy, is also well known for its confederate museum, which contains one of the largest collections of Civil War artifacts in the world. It’s a fascinating way to stretch your legs after a long day in the saddle.