Mainly a hunter rider to begin, I also rode dressage, showed quite a bit, and after the years of experience turned to knowledge, I trained both horses and riders for about 8 years.
My horse Pharaoh and I took the Baby Green Hunter yearly championship the very first year we showed on the local circuit. In the second year, we won Pre-Green Hunter Reserve Champion. Pharaoh was also the horse I rode with the Abington Hunt, a chapter of fox hunters, where I became a whipper-in. (A whipper-in is responsible for maintaining the fox hounds, both on and off the hunt field, and is part of the hunting staff. Your horse must essentially be used to "running with the hounds.")
But, my most favorite thing to do was trail ride. Pharaoh (and later our other horses) and I would go out for two to three hour trail rides often.
In our region, while much of the old land we used to ride on has been developed or is now owned by those who do not allow riding on the properties, there have been encouraging moves toward adding land back to the horseback riding landscape.
In reviewing research and my own experience/knowledge for this blog, I made a decision to include what I consider the top three places to trail ride that are open to the public. This does not mean there aren't other spots that have beautiful trails, but they may be privately held boarding facilities or trail ride establishments. I limited this blog to those places you can go with your own horse and enjoy the fresh air. To be listed here, there must be maintained trails, and the sites must have safe places to park horse trailers. Three localities immediately fit those limitations.
While I know the map above will be difficult to read in this medium, it's easy to look at an online version for better viewing. All the little marching horses indicate the trails open to riding.
Trailer parking is preferred off of Wallsville Road (a right hand turn off Route 407 coming from Clarks Summit, and just past the park entrance). That being said, I have parked a trailer in the first parking lot on the left as you enter the park, all the way toward the end of the lot, and no one has said "boo." All trails are accessible from Wallsville Road, however. Here's a close up of the area. Look for the little trailer to the right near the end of Wallsville Road on this blow up.
The Abington Trail is the recommended riding trail. It is very scenic, with hills and water access. In fact, many moons ago, I helped to clear this trail, and rode it many times from the barn where I boarded. Some of the access and egress is now blocked by home development, so best to trailer in and ride from designated parking areas.
In our region there are many reclaimed rail corridors, named for the primary railways that used them. The D&H is one such corridor and covers 38 miles of converted trail tracing the former corridor of the Delaware & Hudson Railway, a line that primarily carried anthracite coal out of the Lackawanna Valley in the second half of the 19th century.
The trail follows the Lackawanna River and crosses it four times. The scars of coal mining are evident in the early access points near the Lackawanna Heritage Trail, but lessen after passing Forest City, about 5 miles along the route, where the trail passes into the scenic Endless Mountains Region, and farmlands, stone walls, and forests take over the views.
For horseback riding, your best bet is to trailer to the Forest City parking access. It's where you will find the largest trailhead and ample parking. If you ride from Forest City to Union Dale (five miles), you’ll reach a trailhead with parking and a portable restroom. Also at this location you'll find the office for the Rail-Trail Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, which manages the trail. Stop in for trail information, or grab a sandwich at the deli next door (open 6 a.m.–6 p.m.; closed Wednesdays). This is a good loop on a nice day, and we have plenty of nice days coming up.
About a 2.5 hour trip from my back door near Tunkhannock, is Bucks County Horse Park. If you want to make a day out of your trail ride, there is no better place than this lovely horse park, located at 8934 Easton Road in Revere, PA.
If you go on a Tuesday, you can watch some Tuesday Evening Dressage before heading home (summer only). While on Thursdays you can find plenty of competitors at the Thursday Morning Horse Shows (again, only summer months).
A day pass to the park is $35.00 for non-members, and you must sign a liability release in order to use the facilities (it's kept on file). The 123 acre park is open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. The Park depends on membership dues and revenue from over 50 events held each year to support the costs of maintaining the trails and facilities.
The trails are easy to use with color coded trail markers. Most trails start below the schooling rings or in the tiered parking lot below the secretary's building. Trails are continually refurbished and maintained to provide safe footing and a pleasant ride.
The Purple trail is the recommended choice for first time trail riders or when the weather has made footing muddy and deep on other trails.
I give this facility an 11 out of 10, as it meets all the requirements and then some. You just have to make the trip. For more information contact the Park by email or phone:
- Email: Office@buckscountyhorsepark.org
- Telephone: 610 847 8597 Fax: 610 847 5507
At present we have two horses living with us on our farm. Roo is a Percheron/Thoroughbred cross. He stands almost 17.5 hands and is a dapple gray, with white mane and tail (when he is clean).
American Eagle, our Pinto is 15.3 hands, an Overo in coloring and markings. Below is a past cell photo (taken by a friend) of Eagle and I taking a standing break at a local clinic.
Neither of the boys know it, but they are both getting back under saddle this summer. There is nothing like riding a horse!
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic (fresh air), start here with Pet photographer Erin Schwartzkopf, of Erin Kathleen Photography, as she shares some of her favorite escapes to cure cabin fever in eastern Wyoming.
Then find the link at the end of each blog to click on to the next photographer, until you find yourself back here.
Show season is quickly approaching. If you'd like to schedule individualized photos of your rider at a local show, give me a call!
This is Easter weekend for us! Happy Easter to all who celebrate!