How many of you remember your first horse trailer? Or are you in that beautiful point in your life where your first trailer is currently in tow? Recently, I purchased a 1976 Miley horse trailer, my first horse trailer. It’s not the prettiest trailer, but the floor and the tires are new and I just love it! There was only one problem, it had no lights! Thanks to a dear family friend with some wiring experience, Miley now has lights! I did quite a bit of the work myself, and it was so rewarding and fulfilling. Miley also has reupholstered center divider and chest pads, and rubber matting installed on the inside walls. While he’s far from tricked out, he’s a lot more handsome and safe than a he was a week ago.
Now I am just itching for a new trail to travel to! Which brings me to my current conundrum: Where in the World Wide Web do you find a new place to ride? I’ve asked my buddy Google and I’ve tried Binging it up. They both say the same thing: Ask someone who knows. Well when you’re a recent transplant to a new area (like, I am to California) asking someone isn’t always an option. After several heated discussions with these search engines, I’ve found some sites that worked for me. What internet resources do you use to find trails?
The Trailmeister, set-up and ran by fellow Back Country Horsemen of American (BCHA) member Robert Eversole, is one of the best sites for comprehensive trail information. I’m not saying that just because he’s a BCHA member. It is a thorough and easy to site to navigate. Its large interactive map makes it easy to see which trails are near you. The maps key lets you know how difficult the trail is, how many miles of trail there are, overnight accommodations available, trail access information, and who will share the trail with you. And then, when you click on the link to the trail, it goes to a web page with all the information you can ask for, including the current weather.
This site hasn’t covered every trail ... yet. There happen to be several trails within an hour of my town that aren’t listed. But Trailmeister is ever expanding, so it’ll get there.
Facebook Groups or Pages
Find a Facebook group or page for trail riders in your area. I found this to be the most helpful. Mine is, of course, a trail riding group that mostly consists of Back Country Horsemen in my unit. If there is one thing that will always ring true it is this: Ask a horseperson for advice, you’ll be lucky if they stop for air. Luckily, breathing and typing go together. I had about 20 comments about where I could go and why I should go there. I also had some invites to go ride. Which is so amazing when you trying to start a new life in a new state. The outpouring of support and advice was just amazing.
The Official Sites
The official site for the National Park Service has a park finding feature that comes complete with maps. “Horseback Riding” is in the advanced search section under “By Activity.” It was pretty easy to get to a suitable park if I used the advanced search feature. Oh, also right below the advanced search is a spot to put your zip code. Click on the “Click here to refine your search.” This was very helpful when I searched for a park!
The best part of the official site is being able to find any alerts attached to the park. It’s always good to know what parts are closed to whom.
The U.S. Forest Service website was a great place to find official information about the trails on National Forests. When I tried to “Find a Forest by State” I got a list of forests. The maps for the forests are small and hard to read. It’s a great place to start, but searching for information about the trails in that forest (besides difficulty level and location) have to be done elsewhere in the internet. How do you find a good trail?
P.S. After all that, I've been too busy to take my trailer to a great trail! Sigh, such is life! Don't you wish there was an extra hour in the day?