by: Chelsea Area Friends for Recreation
Ride along with me on my Saturday afternoon adventure with Horse ‘N Around Stables. Located off of Trist Road the stable offers a variety of beautiful, well maintained horses, and is staffed with people who are friendly as well as knowledgeable in pairing a rider with the correct mount; taking in the temperament, size, and ability of both horse and rider.
We arrived approximately 30 minutes prior to our appointment to check-in, complete the final waiver forms and determine what horse we would ride. Our timing was terrific as we were able to see the farrier working on shoeing a horse, something that a lot of people do not often get a chance to see. We had a blend of riders in our group, spanning from my friend who frequently rides Saddle Seat to a family with young girls, one of which was taking her first ride. Riders under 18 are required to wear helmets, which the stable will provide. Prior to our ride, the trail leader ran through a brief lesson on what to expect, how to mount and dismount the horse, and how to safely direct the horse throughout the trail. The trail leader was extremely patient throughout the lesson, giving clear and easy to understand direction to the entire group. Once the lesson was complete we were each assigned our horses, I was paired with Lincoln while my friend rode Trigger. We were told the two were best buds out in the pasture, making it a perfect match for us.
Mounting up was a breeze, the stable provided mount blocks and once in the saddle our tack was checked. The leathers were adjusted to put the stirrup to the correct placing, and the girth checked on the horse. All very important safety checks. The ride began at the stable and continued through the blue trail within the beautiful Waterloo area. We were shaded the majority of the time as we meandered through the forest. We saw an array of butterflies, deer and fauna along the way. I was pleasantly surprised given our recent wet weather that the killer mosquitoes seemed to be relatively non-existent! The leader pointed out interesting sites along our trail, and the group all had some good laughs as well. Lincoln kept trying to grab a snack as we went along, so I thought I might be in trouble when we started to approach a field of blackberries. Surprisingly, he ignored the field and we continued down the trail. There are some small inclines and declines along the trail to make things exciting and the trail leader directed us how to position our body properly as we navigated them. All too soon, we were back at the barn and I had to double check the time as I was in disbelief that it had already been an hour. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun! Before dismounting the paddock staff removed the fly masks from our trusty steeds so that they could take pictures and include their handsome faces. The ride was truly enjoyable, offering a unique way to explore the area.
Horse N’ Around Stables began over 20 years ago and is currently operated by Sherri & Jeff Richardson. Sherri grew up with horses and her passion definitely shows. Most of the horses that are boarded at Horse N’ Around stables are rescued from neglect or abuse. It’s a fantastic win-win to offer these horses the ability to recover in such a lovely setting, while providing people the opportunity to interact with these majestic creatures. The stable will sometimes offer Moonlight Rides that sound pretty amazing. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that unique adventure! The stable also offers a Summer Horse camp that would be a great gift to a young person. This is just another example of the ample recreational offerings our community has been gifted. So give it a try, and go horse around!
More Handy Information: Horse N’ Around Stables can accommodate small or large groups and a variety of skill sets. Appointments can be made by going to their website and clicking on “Reservations” under the Forms tab. After reviewing their website, I was prepared with all of the necessary information including the size of my party, ages, and the most dreaded question of all “what is your current weight”? Unlike other forms, like a driver’s license, this is no time to fudge that number as it is important to be sure that you are paired with the correct horse for both your safety and the safety of the horse. You can find more details on weight restrictions via the web page. Photos are not permitted on the trail to ensure the safety of everyone, however the staff will take photos of your group once you return to the stable. This stable is affiliated with the Waterloo Parks and Recreation area, make sure you have your Recreation Passport or Michigan State park sticker. The surrounding area is open to the public, so those who wish to ride their own horse or hike the trails are welcome. There are rustic campsites along the 21 miles of trails outfitted to accommodate overnight stays with your horse. More details about the Waterloo Equestrian Trails can be found on the DNR website.
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