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Horse and Boots in the Forest

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Withlacoochee State Forest offers scenic and unique opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, seasonal hunting, nature photography, mountain biking, motocross and of course horseback riding.

Hernando County is home to many horse owners. There are designated areas for horseback riding within the Withlacoochee State Forest which provide more than just a healthy outlet for horses, but for the riders as well.

The Nature Coast Back Country Horsemen organization began in Montana in 1973 when four horsemen realized that public lands would need help in order to keep equestrian access open for future generations. As the years past many chapters were organized and developed to help maintain the upkeep of existing trails as well as create new ones.

Mary Lou Patton, 79, is the president of the local Nature Coast Back Country Horsemen (NCBCH) chapter. She stated that the overall purpose of this chapter is to:

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  • To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in our area.

  • To work to ensure that public lands remain open to horseback riding.

  • To assist and have a great relationship with our land managers with taking care of trails and helping with any projects, such as the rebuilding of the Tucker Hill Kiosk.

  • To educate, encourage and solicit active participation by horseback riders in the caring for our trails.

There are around 43 miles of horseback riding trails available within the Withlacoochee State Forest and members of the NCBCH chapter volunteer to keep those trails usable for horseback riders.

NCBH and Forestry completed improvements for equestrian trails at the Tucker Hill trailhead in April.  

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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