Red Wing Area Bucket List: Go horseback ridingJust as horseback riding is on the Republican Eagle’s Red Wing area bucket list, Hay Creek Stables owner Jeannie Olson said many people coming to her for trail rides have horseback riding on their personal bucket lists as well. And she knows exactly why.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Just as horseback riding is on the Republican Eagle’s Red Wing area bucket list, Hay Creek Stables owner Jeannie Olson said many people coming to her for trail rides have horseback riding on their personal bucket lists as well. And she knows exactly why.
“It’s kind of an obtainable adventure. Climbing Mount Everest might not be something that everybody could possibly do, but you could certainly give it a shot getting on a horse,” Olson said. “That’s the opportunity that we provide for people — to have that obtainable adventure.”
Hay Creek Stables is home to 21 horses, all of them castrated males known as geldings. Twenty-one may seem like a lot for one family to handle, but the number is necessary to keep up with the demand of people who visit the stables. Rides are given daily, with Saturdays and Sundays filling up the fastest.
“We’ve had 40 people come through in a weekend — that’s a lot of people,” Olson said with a laugh. “But that’s a good thing. That’s what we’re doing.”
While some come to experience the backwoods of Hay Creek during an hour trail ride, others make more lengthy plans at the stables and attend day or overnight camps. All three options give visitors some time on horseback, whether they’ve had previous experience or not.
“We get a lot of people that have never been in the saddle,” Olson said.
Something for everyone
If someone comes to Hay Creek Stables barely knowing what a saddle and reins are, a one-hour ride employing a few simple trails may be enough to get their fill of horses for the first time.
More experience riders, however, know the ins and outs of all things equestrian and are anxious to spend more time on the animals. That’s where the camps come in.
Although the camps are currently for children, Olson said she is working on developing adult day camps as well. During camps, participants learn safe horse practices, ground manners, horse etiquette and more. Depending on the time of the month, some campers are brought on a field trip to Cannon Falls to attend a horse auction.
From the reaction of those who attend, Olson said the camp activities have been very well received.
“This little gal, she just looks up at me and says, ‘This is the best week ever,’” Olson remembered, smiling. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, and it’s only Tuesday.’”
An activity for any season
Summer gets a lot of attention at Hay Creek Stables since kids are out of school and anxious to attend various horse camps. But the buzz at the stables doesn’t diminish when summer ends.
Changing leaves and colorful trees offer a brand new environment that will have previous riders anxious to visit the stables a second time to take in a different sight.
And even after autumn winds down and winter approaches, horseback riding remains popular. In fact, it’s likely the best time for nature enthusiasts to go because all of the leaves have cleared from the trees.
“You can see all the way into the woods,” Olson said.
Although the trail rides cease in winter, Hay Creek Stables still has something to offer as wagon rides become more prominent. A pair of Clydesdales hitched to a bright red wagon contrasts nicely against soft white snow and allows for an activity that can accommodate up to 12 people at once.
By the time spring flowers are blooming in May, Hay Creek Stables is ready to get its visitors back in the saddle.
No matter what time of year the horseback riding bug bites, Olson encourages everyone to stop by and join her in seeing Hay Creek’s nature from a special perspective.
“You look at the woods differently on horseback,” she said.