This is the season you can comfortably ride outdoors. Why not explore somewhere different while on horseback? Or join an event hosted by a local equestrian organization?
Both Genesee and Lapeer counties have some excellent riding opportunities. Here are a few we think you’ll enjoy.
Arrive and ride. Visit for a while or camp overnight Genesee County Parks boast two great equestrian facilities where you can ride your horse through a total of 4,540 acres. If that’s not enough, there are parks connected to and accessible from these two facilities and horses are welcome.
Everett A. Cummings Event Center
6130 E. Mt. Morris Rd., Mt. Morris, MI 48458
Also the home of the annual fair, this location offers easy, level trails, in sandy/loamy soil which means good drainage. There are also small roadways so you can actually ride any time of the year. The park is open to all users, so you will encounter walkers, bicycles and people fishing. There are 690 acres of hiking or trail riding along the banks of the Flint River and through wooded landscapes.
Individual camping with horses is permitted from May 1 to September 30, 2018 unless there is a special event. Contact the Parks reservation office at 810-736-7100 ext. 6. Hours: 8 a.m. – Sunset Daily (unless camping).
Elba Equestrian Complex
1875 N. Elba Rd., Lapeer, MI 48446
Ride along numerous rustic, single-track trails that guide using a color marking system. It is a rugged and beautiful area with high ridges above water. You can also ride through the Hogbacks area across Stanley road to the Holloway Reservoir. Bridle trails begin again just past the fishing area and take you among majestic pine trees, up hills and some steep inclines.
Camp overnight with your horse at this location with advanced reservations. Contact the Parks reservation office at 810-736-7100 ext. 6. Hours: 8 a.m. – Sunset Daily (Unless Camping).
Richfield County Park
6322 N. Irish Rd., Davison, MI 48423
Ride two-track areas within 345 acres of undeveloped beauty. While this park is not just for horses, there are no restrictions, i.e. you can take your horse anywhere in the park.
Ortonville Recreation Area Equestrian Campground and trails
Off Fox Lake Road just west of Hadley Road
In southern Lapeer County, you’ll find 8.5 miles of beautiful, well-maintained bridle trails within the Hadley Hills section of this state park. Trails are well-marked with maps at numerous spots. Wander over bridges, near small lakes and through varied terrain.
Camp with horses in this quiet, rustic spot which offers a large picnic pavilion and 25 campsites that can accommodate big rigs. Each site has a picnic table, fire circle, and highline poles for picketing horses. The campground is not part of the state park reservation system so you cannot book in advance. Recreation passport required. For more information and for availability, contact 810-797-4439. Visit www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails.
Participate in a local riding event
Horses for Hope
Horses for Hope is a nonprofit organization that offers support and events for pediatric oncology patients and survivors, including their families.
Consider participating and/or volunteering in a number of organized rides and fun competitions held at the Everett A. Cummings Event Center in Mt. Morris. The events raise money for the Chemo Kid program which provides horse adventures for children with cancer. Find Horses for Hope information on Facebook.
Ortonville Recreation Equestrian Association (OREA)
Consider getting involved with this local equestrian charity association that exists to support the Ortonville Recreation Area bridle trail system. Karen DeOrnellas, OREA president, explains that the group helped establish the trail system many years ago with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Now, the trails are jointly maintained by the DNR and OREA, whose members help raise funds to keep up the bridle trails in the park and for improvement projects each year. This Spring OREA is planning to purchase and donate an access gate for Tody Road. The association fundraises mostly by holding fun events and inviting donations and sponsorships.
OREA has four scheduled events this season. Each event takes place at the horse camp in the state park off Fox Lake Road:
- May 19-20 competitive mounted orienteering challenges
- Memorial Day weekend campout and poker ride
- June 23 campout and horseshoe hunt
- September 9 judged trail ride; horse and rider teams execute skills tests along the bridle trail.
OREA has more than 40 members including individuals and families. Newcomers welcome! Visit www.hadleyhills.com for more information about OREA.
New trails next year!
According to Genesee Parks director, Amy McMillan, there are plans to establish new, additional bridle trails on the south side of C.S. Mott Lake in 2019.
For more information visit www.geneseecounty parks.org