Those who ride trails seem to have their favorite. Mine is called “Dry Creek” and is a five minute ride from my house. It is almost close enough to leave the trailer at home and just walk the horse to, but we would have to go through town and cross lots of busy streets, so I prefer to load my horse and take the short trip to the staging area. What makes this a good trail? It has variety, it’s safe, and it’s social.
Trails without variety can get boring by the second or third time you use it. Dry Creek runs along a nice creek that is actually not dry as its name suggests. On a hot summer day I can take my horse down to the water for a drink or even walk through the water for fun. The trail meanders through trees and brush with some sandy areas, goes up and downhill and has a wooden bridge to cross. There is a street with a traffic light just for horses with a push button high enough that a rider on a tall horse can reach it; open fields where a horse can run if desired; a soccer field with lots of screaming boys and girls on a Saturday morning; a golf course where golfers and riders sometimes chat through the high fence; a variety of vegetation including some very big old oak trees that are marvelous to look at; all adjacent to a big ranch with an arena and a little country store where one can stop for a drink or a snack.
Aside from variety I am also big on safety. Unlike some other trails in the area, this one is not shared by mountain bike riders that can really spook a horse. It is also close enough to town that if something would happen, help would not be too far away. Even though there are some challenges like a steep descend to go under a bridge and some low hanging branches that I need to dug under so I won’t get brushed off my mount, the trail is safe enough for most beginners but fun enough for an advanced rider who wants to go for long stretches of canter along some fields, and compared to other tails I have been on, this one always feels safe. I don’t recommend riding alone, but I have actually done this one on my own and felt pretty comfortable doing so.
Finally, Dry Creek is close to town, and you don’t have to drive long before getting in the saddle. This makes it easy to call up a friend and ask them last minute if they want to go riding. I have also met several riders on the trail that ended up being new riding buddies. Dry Creek is like a hangout for riders and horses. Making new riding friends is good, but before making a horseback date with new friends it’s always good to ask first how they like to ride – some like it to be leisurely and others like to move out, run, and maybe even take some risks. It’s not good to find yourself accidentally in a group that is way beyond your riding level or that slows you down when you want to get a workout.
Dry Creek is my favorite – what’s yours? Happy trails.