Horsing around at Milo McIver State Park (2012)
The second story in a four-part series about “the hidden side” of Milo McIver State Park.
One of the best ways to experience nature has to be astride a horse, the original grass-powered vehicle. Milo McIver is a particularly good place to visit if you’re into trail riding. It provides an extra-wide parking lot for horse trailers, a riding ring, a wheelchair-accessible mounting ramp, and seven miles of mixed-use trails through forested hillsides and fields.
But thanks to the efforts of a non-profit organization, the park now offers some extra special facilities to riders. Oregon Equestrian Trails (OET) is made up of people who share a love of horses and are dedicated to promoting trail riding across the state. Earlier this fall, members undertook a project to build a series of equestrian training stations at Milo McIver—a sort of obstacle course that teaches horses and riders how to safely negotiate conditions they might find on a trail, like uneven surfaces, downed trees, gates, slopes, and bridges. These stations are the first of their kind in the state parks system, and a unique way for riders to practice their handling skills and trail etiquette.
OET members volunteer to maintain the stations and regularly take part in other projects on behalf of the park. Because of their dedication, Milo McIver has become a popular training ground for new generations of equestrians and “off-road friendly” horses. Now, when you visit Milo McIver and see a seemingly unnecessary fence alongside the trail, or an odd platform of wood and gravel, you’ll know why it’s there.
A “horse seesaw” — another challenge for the horse and the rider!