Equestrian enthusiasts now have a new place to ride in Callaway County. Earlier this month the Katy Trail opened up a section near Mokane to horseback riding.
The 15-mile stretch of the state trail from Tebbetts to Portland has been designated as an official equestrian trail, with the Mokane trailhead serving as its officail horse trailer parking station. Though 35 miles of the trail near Sedalia were already open to horseback riding, Katy trail coordinator Dawn Fredrickson said that this section of the trail was opened to provide a similar experience to horse owners here in Callaway.
"The equistrain section from the fair grounds to the trails end at Clinton gets a fair amount of use but we have a lot of equestrian users in the mid-Missouri area and it was too far for them to trailer their horses to the west end," said Fredrickson. "Several saddle clubs had been lobbying to ride on the trail in the area."
Fredrickson said that trail officials determined this area would be the best fit for an equestrian trail as frequency and use patterns of the section would allow for minimal conflict between horses and other trail users. Although Tebbetts and Portland both feature trailheads, the centrally-located Mokane trailhead will serve as the equestrian section's official trailhead as it was large enough to accommodate horse trailers.
When the section was formally opened March 31, about 75 riders attended the event and took an informal trail ride. Debbie Fulkerson, president of the Callaway Rough Riders Saddle Club here in Fulton, was one of those riders in attendance.
"It's very scenic," said Fulkerson. "There are some historical sights on the trail that were interesting; it was a fun time."