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Three Creeks by Horseback

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Published on: Aug. 2, 1998

Last revision: Nov. 1, 2010

As we wind around to approach the spot, we see that a fallen tree has made it difficult to pass. We stop and contemplate our options. We agree that we don't want to turn back, but when I look to the left, the mere shift in my weight tells my horse that I'm thinking about jumping down into the creek to circumvent the tree. His reluctance tells me he doesn't think it is a good idea.

I relent to his decision. It appears our only choice is to climb up the bank and around the obstruction. The brush and low hanging trees won't let us pass in the usual horse-and-rider partnership, so we dismount and walk the horses through rocks, which at this point appear as boulders, around the fallen tree.

Chip and I lead the way. He scopes out where best to place his feet-between which rocks, at what angles. It is hard for me to take my two feet through the obstacles, so I know my partner, with four, is testing his skill. I jump over a pile of rocks, grasping the reins, but trying my best to stay out of Chip's 1,000-pound way. With one final jump, he is over the tree and around brush and squarely on the trail, saddle askew but unaffected and ready to proceed.

Our companions follow, charting a calculated and careful course through the brush and over the rocks. They make it, but the rocks have ripped away a shoe from the little black thoroughbred and left three of his four legs with cuts and scrapes. My friend, not wanting to risk further injury, chooses not to mount and instead walks her horse back to the trailer.

We muse about the incident: Form follows function, and some horses, like some people, are better suited for some things. We also talk about the intensity of the ride-the sights, the sounds, the feel and the unequaled pleasure of partnership between rider and mount. We agree that we will be back for another ride. After all, after you have experienced Three Creeks from horseback, how could you do it any other way? triangle

Who rides?

The typical equestrian trail rider in Missouri is over 40 years old and rides to be with horses and to relax, according to a survey conducted in 1995 by the Missouri Equine Council in cooperation with the Conservation Department. Data shows that of the 1,351

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