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The Mane Event: Touring Nature Preserves on Horseback!

9:09 am  |  Topics: Events


Caledonia Conservancy holds its annual Mane Event during Wisconsin Land Trust Days

By Sandy DeWalt
Photographs by Eddee Daniel

A horse waits patiently while its owner registers for the ride (background).
A horse waits patiently while its owner registers for the ride (background).
Trailer parking at the Neubauer Farm.
Trailer parking at the Neubauer Farm.

The horses, along with their owners, began to arrive in trailers even before the 9:00 am start time on a beautiful Saturday morning in late August. By mid-morning the field on the Neubauer Farm set aside for trailer parking was filling up and many riders were already out on the trail. Riding groups set out with staggered starts between 9:00 am and 1:30 pm, taking two to three hours to complete the twelve-mile course.

Eager horses arriving in their trailer.
Eager horses arriving in their trailer.
Jeralyn and Hayli Saddling Cowboy.
Jeralyn and Hayli Saddling Cowboy.

It was a perfect day for The Mane Event! This was the 20th annual equestrian ride hosted by Caledonia Conservancy to help support the land trust. The Conservancy has preserved over 300 acres of natural area with equestrian and hiking trails on all of the properties.

The first of 61 riders head out from the Neubauer Farm.
The first of 61 riders head out from the Neubauer Farm.
The prairie trail at King's Corner Preserve.
The prairie trail at King’s Corner Preserve.

The Neubauer Family hosted the event, billed as a “scavenger hunt on horseback,” at their farm at 5551 Short Rd, Racine, Wisconsin. Sixty-one riders participated, including neighbors as close as Caledonia and visitors from as far as central Wisconsin and northern Illinois. They enjoyed a fun day outside, departing from the farm and riding the beautiful trails on Caledonia Conservancy and private land in search of hidden scavenger hunt items. Conservancy properties included on the course were King’s Corner, Tabor Woods, and the Short Road Trails.

A trio on the loop trail through Tabor Woods Preserve.
A trio on the loop trail through Tabor Woods Preserve.
Scavenger hunt item in the woods at Erlandsson Preserve.
Scavenger hunt item in the woods on the Erlandsson Farm trail.

After the ride, an optional obstacle course allowed riders to introduce their horses to a variety of creative challenges. Ribbons were given to the riders that completed the course the fastest with the most points. Raffle tickets were awarded for pictures of the scavenger items found, and riders could use them to enter drawings for 17 lovely prizes. Riders had to use a saddle and wear a hard hat to compete in the ride. The event was open to the public.

A pair of joyful riders cross a bridge on the Short Road Trail.
A pair of joyful riders cross a bridge on the Short Road Trail.
Connecting trails pass through private properties.
Connecting trails pass through private properties.

Caledonia Conservancy is proud to host this event in conjunction with the fifth annual Wisconsin Land Trust Days celebration, a series of outdoor activities and family-friendly events that take place every year in August and September. The celebration is organized by Gathering Waters, Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts. This year, 21 land trusts will host nearly 40 events throughout the state. A full list of Wisconsin Land Trust Days events is available at HaveFunOutside.org.

A family group stops to pose at King's Corner Preserve.
A family group stops to pose at King’s Corner Preserve.
The goldenrod was resplendent in the bright morning sunlight.
The goldenrod was resplendent in the bright morning sunlight.
Deep in Tabor Woods!
Deep in Tabor Woods!
Ring found mounted on a tree in Erlandsson Preserve.
Ring found mounted on a tree along the Erlandsson Farm trail.
Heading downslope carefully at the Short Road Trailhead.
Heading downslope carefully at the Short Road Trailhead.
The trail follows a former railroad line past the Renak-Polak Maple-Beech Woods State Natural Area.
Coming out of the woods at Erlandsson Preserve, the horses stop for a bite to eat.
Coming out of the woods at Erlandsson Farm, the horses stop for a bite to eat.
A cathedral-like canopy on the Short Road Trail.
A cathedral-like canopy on the Short Road Trail.

An album including additional photos of this event can be seen on Flickr.



About Caledonia Conservancy: Caledonia Conservancy is a non-profit organization committed to preserving land for future use and building a sustainable community through conservation, stewardship, education, outreach and partnerships with community organizations and government. The Conservancy not only connects people to nature, but it also connects people to people with common interests. Many lifetime friendships have been formed by people involved in the organization. The events we host through the year become a festive gathering among friends.  Learn more on the Caledonia Conservancy website.


About Wisconsin Land Trust Days:
Wisconsin Land Trust Days is a statewide promotion sponsored by Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts. Wisconsin Land Trust Days brings attention to its member land trusts and the important work they do to protect Wisconsin’s natural resources in the communities they serve. Gathering Waters also helps land trusts, landowners, and communities protect the places that make Wisconsin special by advocating for funding, providing land trusts with resources, and creating a network of peers for collaboration.

Sandy DeWalt is chairperson of the Mane Event and stewardship chair/ volunteer with Caledonia Conservancy. Eddee Daniel is a board member of Preserve Our Parks and curator of A Wealth of Nature. Both Caledonia Conservancy and Gathering Waters are project partners of A Wealth of Nature.