Getting in the saddle

Trail riding on horseback at Wolcott Mill Metropark

Like most city girls growing up, I always wanted a horse. Of course I read all the horse books I could find, classics like Black Beauty, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, all the Marguerite Henry books like Misty of Chincoteague and The Black Stallion series. I joined Girl Scouts for the opportunity to go to horseback riding camp. My desire for a horse never left, but life just got in the way. College, work, marriage, kids … and extra money went toward that new roof we needed instead of into pursuing my passion for a horse.

trail  Fast forward. For many years, I had been telling my husband I wanted a horse, wanted to take lessons, wanted to trail ride, wanted to learn to jump. Finally, I think he couldn’t take it anymore!

“How much longer are you going to wait?” he asked me one day. “Until you’re 50 years old? Or what about 60 or 70 years old? When is it a good time? Stop talking about it and just do it!”

He was right.  There was never going to be that perfect moment where I would finally have enough time or enough money or enough energy; I just needed to do it. So the next weekend, Labor Day 2014, I went out and leased a horse.

trail2What followed has been an amazing experience. I have met so many wonderful people, and it turns out that there are many women like me who started riding later in life, finally living their childhood dream (plus horseback riding is great exercise for your quads and hamstring muscles!). Now I look forward to every moment I can spend with my horse at the barn and out on the trails.

One of the trails we use the most is right here in Macomb County at Wolcott Mill Metropark ( in Ray Township. Many people are familiar with the 250-acre working farm at Wolcott Mill that has dairy cows, sheep and goats. Or they may be familiar with the 18-hole golf course. Not many people know that there are over 10 miles of equestrian trails at Wolcott Mill. These trails take you through farmlands and wooded areas, and along the Clinton River. It is a beautiful, relaxing place to enjoy a trail ride. While use of the trail is free, riders need to execute a liability waiver and obtain a free bridle tag at the Wolcott Metropark Historic Mill. This bridle tag must be worn when using the trails. Access to the main trail is located at the Camp Rotary entrance at 20505 29 Mile Road, between Romeo Plank and North Ave.

trail3There is also a devoted group of horse lovers in the Macomb County area, a non-profit group known as the Wolcott Mill Trail Association. The sole purpose of this group is to develop, enhance and maintain the Wolcott Mill equestrian trails. The association schedules various equestrian events at the park.

So if you really truly want to interact with the great outdoors, I would suggest that you try horseback riding at Wolcott Mill Metropark! Yet another great reason to Make Macomb Your Home!


Denice A. Gerstenberg is the city development director for the city of Sterling Heights.  

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