Everyone used to call Kathy Wright's house to find out where to go to ride, so she started compiling lists of horse trails,--B&Bs with stabling, organized trail rides, riding groups. . . . even places you could rent a horse.
This was the genesis of her unique new book, Horse Trails of Florida, which describes more than 600 miles of horse trails, with great maps and the sort of helpful information you'd get if YOU called up Wright.
The format is clear and easy to follow, with each trail broken down into Trail Description, Points of Interest, Accommodations and Directions--plus contact info. The book is divided into four geographic regions--north, northwest (the Panhandle), central and southern--so you only have to browse the area where you plan to ride.
Each trail page has a box with a two- or three-line description so you can quickly decide whether to read the detailed information below and study the map on the facing page--or find another trail. For instance, The West Tower Trails listing has this brief: "Four interconnected loops traverse over 50 miles of multi-use trails." Read on and you'll find a full description of each trail.
Wright says that the worldwide trend in ecotourism has given rise to increased interest in trail riding from equestrians who live in Florida or plan to visit there. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors with minimal impact.
The state's subtropical climate and lush foliage are inviting to riders, but the bugs like the environment, too. The author gives us the lowdown on the pests and how to deal with them, along with tips on snakes, plants and terrain.
Wright has included some trails that she says locals may swear don't exist, but she urges the reader to drive on, following her directions. You're looking for adventure, right?
One trail that everyone knows about is the 150-mile-long Florida Cracker Trail, where an eight-day organized ride is held every year in late-April or early May. The ride crosses four scenic rivers and passes through ranches, farms and forests on the way from Bradenton to Fort Pierce. The ride concludes with a parade, barbeque and rodeo.
If you're able to pack the horses and gear into a trailer and head south for trailriding this winter, you're going to need this book. Or at least a section of it. Yep, you can buy just the section you need in PDF form for $5 or the entire book for $25 at www.horsetrailbooks.com.