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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Shelby Trails Park in Simpsonville

 photo Shelby Trails 2_zpss7qrceng.jpgShelby Trails Park in Simpsonville is one of the few places in the Louisville area that provides guided horseback trail rides. Hour-long rides are $40 per person, and run most days as long as the weather is good (call ahead for appointments). There is a minimum age of 8 and a maximum weight of 200 pounds, and the horses are very gentle so that even beginners can ride.

The ride itself covers a variety of terrains. In addition to somewhat steep up- and downhills, your trip will take you through mown grass, down a more meadow-y lane, over a small stretch of loose rocks, and even across a small creek. The horses on the ride walk in a single file, with guides at the front and end of the line to ensure that no one gets lost.

The weather for our trip was perfect – much nicer than expected for August when we went! You will need to wear long pants for your ride, so consider riding during a cooler month. Additionally, we were about a week-and-a-half into horsefly season, which lasts about a month, so take that into account when making plans.

 photo Shelby Trails 1_zpsln1sve17.jpg We had to keep a sharp eye out for the horseflies, which pestered us for most of the ride. Our guide, Justine, urged us to smack any that landed on our horses, because of their very painful stings (painful to both horses and humans). Fortunately for us, only Justine was stung on our ride.

We saw a rabbit on our ride, but evidently it’s not uncommon to come across other wildlife, such as deer, a fox, or a crane. The scenery is beautiful, and would be especially striking when the leaves turn in the fall. Cell phones/cameras are not allowed on the ride (or any other loose objects), but your guide will take a couple of pictures of you with her own phone, and text them to you afterwards.

My eight-year-old niece, who had previously only ridden around rings, very much enjoyed our trail ride. The only thing she didn’t like were the horseflies!

 By guest contributor: Erika

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