Last week we traveled to Pennsylvania for a trail ride and television show production at Cook Forest Scenic Trail Rides in Clarion. On this ride, we kept the campfire going both night and day. It became a magnet for folks to come by and visit a while to talk about today’s ride or reminisce back over time of our horses and friends.
It seems many of our earliest memories were family centered with our horses at community events. Back then, the many clubs and organizations were interweaved into a carpet of memories. Fourth of July celebrations, family reunions, 4-H or school PTA events were in all communities. Horse clubs and picnics were standard.
I want you to consider doing something for yourself, your family and community. This late summer or fall, plan an “old fashioned” trail ride and picnic. Encourage your community to have that fall trail ride, community fair, regional horseshow or small town parade. When you think about it, the virus has done more harm then we realize. Of course, the illness or loss of life is incredibly tragic, but the fear of the virus has also taken it’s toll. We have been told not to travel or go out of our homes or visit with our friends. There is something precious that has been taken away from us. Those fond memories of our youth and years ago are being robbed to our children and grandchildren. Those memories often bind us together and make us stronger.
I hate the mask requirements, too, but riding horses in the great outdoors is the ultimate social distancing. Do not be afraid to venture out with your horses. Take care of where you go, but go ahead and plan those fall rides, community parades, regional horse shows and family gatherings. Life and traditions of family and friends needs to be nurtured and safeguarded. You can do these and be careful at the same time.
Encourage your club leaders and community event organizers to schedule those trail rides, and family traditions. Be careful, but do not be led into believing false fears. Preserve the memories and create new ones for the next generation.
It is time to begin planning your next horse vacation, regardless if it is for the weekend or for several weeks.
Yes, I know there are some government officials that want everyone to stay in their homes for another month or two, but people also need to be realistic. There comes a time when outdoor travel to remote or spacious places is safe. There is a difference in recommendations and an understanding that no one can suspend the Constitution and your right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am not ignoring the seriousness of the virus and understand it may get worse in the future, but careful planning in open and rural places will be worthwhile and as safe as you can get.
Tom Seay is recognized as America’s foremost Trail Master and Host of the national television show, Best of America by Horseback. He is best known for organizing and leading two transcontinental trail rides, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific in 1995 and from Mexico to Canada in 2009, every step by horseback.