Riverside State Park – I love horses. I’ve loved horses since I was a very young girl and my dad lifted me up on the broad back of my neighbor’s Fjord horse. That memory is almost 50 years old but it’s as vivid as ever. I was a timid child who shied away from most people and activities, but that day I dug my little hands in the coarse mane of that big, dun horse, and to my dad’s surprise, I refused to get off.
Horses have been part of my life ever since.
A few weeks ago, I went on a group ride with True West Trail Rides in Riverside State Park alongside some great friends, most of whom had limited riding experience.
It’s always a little worrisome for a seasoned rider like myself to sign non-riders up for a trail ride because, well, I love riding, and I want my friends to have a great experience.
It turned out I had nothing to worry about with True West Trail Rides.
We all booked the same riding time online at truewesttrailrides.com to make sure our small group got to ride together.
On the designated day, we all met at True West Trail Rides which is located near the Equestrian Arena inside Riverside State Park, on the west side of the river. You need a Discover Pass to park in the lot, or you can pay a small one-time fee.
There is no need to wear special riding gear: jeans and closed-toe shoes or short boots are perfect and True West Trail Rides’ website has a great section with FAQs.
You may bring your own helmet, or you can borrow one from True West Trail Rides.
Owners Shawn and Sheila Anderson have a string of solid horses of various sizes, and they match riders carefully with a horse that will give even an unskilled rider a good experience.
Once we had all clambered aboard and settled into the comfortable western saddles, Sheila led us into the park. From horseback you can access places and scenery you may not be able to get to on foot and we were rewarded with sweeping river views, soaring eagles and just a great meandering ride. It was an unforgettably beautiful way to spend the sunset hours.
For the more adventurous, True West Trail Rides also offers rides on Mt. Spokane and at the Kettle River Range. Check their website for more details and prices; they are open through September.
Photo credit: @piahallenberg on Instagram