I first rode at Hillsdale State Park at least 13 years ago. I remember being the only camper at the place in early November of 2008, watching election returns in the trailer!
Saddle Ridge Equestrian Camp boasts 22 sites with water and electricity, and 12 primitive sites, which do have water I believe… at least some of them do. The pens available for the primitive sites are actually larger than the ones at the electric sites. There is a fee to ride or use the park, but a self-pay station makes it easy. Locals usually buy a yearly pass. Reservations are required for camping and can be done online through ReserveAmerica.
The trails here are well marked and varied. You can ride along the lake, go up and down rocky hills, or ride flat, open areas. It can get muddy and they request that folks don’t ride when the trails will be damaged. There are about 50 miles of trails to ride.
Because the trails are so interesting and well-marked, this is a popular location for competitive trail rides and group rides. Back when ACTHA was alive (American Competetive Trail Horse Association), I did a couple of ACTHA rides here. Kadeen will now traverse just about any natural obstacle, but we often didn’t fare too well when weird, man-made stuff was part of the challenge. For instance, my mailbox in front of my house was no problem, but a mailbox in the middle of the field at Hillsdale was surely a trap!
Adjacent to Saddle Ridge Camp is S & S Stables. This is a private facility that used to offer day riding and overnight camping. However, they are under new management and no longer do so. Currently, they are quite busy with Girl and Boy Scout riders… influencing the next generation to love horses! One of the highlights of their Scout rides is the ability to spot Bigfoot!
It was at S & S that I stayed when I lived in my LQ trailer through the winter of 2014/2015, as I was navigating my divorce.
Alan and I hung out here for 5 days after our whirlwind 3000 miles in 8 days. We had all kinds of appointments and lunches and dinners with friends. Nevertheless, we did manage to get out and ride a time or two. Once I rode with a friend who often helps with the S & S Scout rides. Another time, Alan managed to go with us.
Our first weekend here, we set up camp and headed to Indianapolis for my high school reunion. My friend stayed with the animals. There were quite a few trailers in our area of the camp, but they had all left by the time we got back on Sunday night. We had very little company the rest of that week.
There is an awesome washrack available at Saddle Ridge. I rarely bathe my horses or my dogs… and they were all overdue. Kadeen’s mane was just gross! One day while Alan was having lunch with his work buddies from the past, I ran everyone through the washrack. The feature photo shows two clean Arabians hanging out to dry before getting the opportunity to roll in their pens.
It was fun to relive many great memories of this place before we moved on to 4-J Big Piney Horse camp. We hadn’t used our LQ since our equitrekking trip last year. We found several things that needed repair during our week in Hillsdale. Thankfully, there is an RV repair guy that comes to the Big Piney camp. We had quite a list for him this year!
Next week, I’ll tell you about our time in hot and humid Missouri.