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Giddyup! 5 places for horseback riding in central Ohio




Maybe you rode a horse as a child and miss that fleeting sense of partnership. Maybe you’ve never been near a horse but see pictures and long for the feeling of freedom. If you’ve never been serious about it, you may be surprised to learn that horseback riding is not just for the young and athletic; it’s adventure and lifelong exercise for everyone!

Hit the trails

Guided, group trail rides are often the first step into the world of horses. Mine was in Kentucky, on a scruffy pony named Hudson, and my life changed course forever.

Most trail facilities are well outside of city limits, because of land availability. Fortunately, it’s a one to two-hour drive from Columbus to many of them, making trail riding a fun option to include in a day trip.

Some popular trail riding stables in the area are Marmon Valley in Zanesfield, Uncle Buck’s in New Marshfield, The Spotted Horse Ranch in Laurelville, and Equestrian Ridge Farm in New Plymouth. If you’re looking for a unique experience, the Wilds, in Cumberland, offers horseback safaris overlooking their open-range endangered animal areas and butterfly habitat.

Photos by Brian Kaiser

For safety, trail rides have age, weight, clothing, and weather limitations, all of which are shared ahead of time. When you arrive, you’ll sign paperwork and learn some basics. The horses will be saddled and ready to ride.

Most guided trail rides for novice riders are one to two hours. That time sounds short, but trust me, balancing on a horse uses a whole different set of muscles, and you’ll likely have sore legs the next day.

Trail guides and operators are trained to help first-timers mount up, walk, stop, steer, and discourage their horses from stopping for snacks. For the most part, though, seasoned trail horses walk quietly in single file, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the scenery from a whole
new perspective.

Yes, riding is a sport

Trail rides are fun, but learning to really ride is a great workout,
and you can get that workout through dozens of different equestrian sports or disciplines.

If attention to detail is your strong suit, look into dressage, reining, or hunt seat jumping. Are you a speed demon? Set your sights on rodeo-type sports like barrel racing, or on timed jumping events. If that level of intensity isn’t enough, there are more extreme sports like eventing (a sort of triathlon) and endurance riding.

Photos by Brian Kaiser

You also can chill out with pleasure riding, or, if you’re not ready for the saddle just yet, you can work the horse “in hand”—leading it through patterns and obstacles.

No matter what you choose (and these are just a few options), you’ll develop balance and coordination, along with strength and aerobic capacity.

But doesn’t the horse do all the work?

I hear it all the time: “How can that be exercise? You just sit there, and the horse does all the work!” And then I get out my soapbox.

True, at a walk, the horse does most of the work. But increase the speed, and before you know it, you’re in a full-blown cardio workout. Your abs, back, and legs will thank you (after they get done yelling at you).

Then, there’s the fact that a half-ton animal isn’t going to scrub off the mud, saddle itself and trot around in a circle for fun. Even though horses enjoy exercise, their main priorities are usually the same as mine: friends, snacks, and naps. A rider has to use strength, coordination and balance to manage a horse on the ground as well as control speed and direction from the saddle.


It’s all about you

Set aside the mental images of glamorous cowgirls in lip liner and cowboys showing off their 6-packs. Most riders are in it for the fun, not for the fashion. Of course, if you want fashion, there’s plenty of it—especially in the show ring—but most beginner programs have a comfortable-but-safe dress code for lessons.

Beginning riders start at all levels of fitness; your instructor will help you progress through lessons at your own pace. Although horses do have limits on how much weight they can carry, many barns have one or two horses who can carry heavier riders. Just ask! 

Beginner lessons are fairly similar, no matter what style of riding you choose. It’s a good idea (and also fun) to start at a facility that offers a range of disciplines, so you can try out different styles of riding. You might change your mind after trying a few things—I’ve bounced through at least a half dozen disciplines over the years. 

Local stables that offer cross-discipline beginner lessons are all around the Columbus area: Dare Equestrian Center in Hilliard, Central Ohio Riding Club in Marysville, Cherokee Stables in Grove City, Triple
Edge Equine
in Canal Winchester, and Field of Dreams in Blacklick are just a few.

The good thing is, you don’t need fancy equipment to start. Most stables require only long pants, closed-toe shoes or boots with a low heel, and a helmet. After you choose the style of riding that fits you, you can start investing in more specialized gear, a little at a time.

photos by Brian Kaiser

Your first lessons might be more walking than riding. You will learn to lead the horse, groom it, and put on its tack (saddle and bridle). These are essential skills; plus, the time spent on the ground helps the horse and you get to know each other. Soon, you’ll be arriving early to get your horse ready, maybe even riding in group lessons or shows, and reaping serious exercise benefits.

Central Ohio is full of riding programs. If one doesn’t fit your style, personality, or budget, there are many others. Give it a try. That feeling of freedom is waiting for you. 

Plus, as I used to tell my own students, “Ride a horse, and you’ll never have to do crunches.” •

Melinda Green is a multi-discipline rider, horse owner, and former beginning-level riding instructor

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9 festivals for you to fall in love with this weekend

Mitch Hooper



Summer may be rounding out, but there are still so many ways to fest outside. From vintage good fairs to rock climbing at the Scioto Audubon, here are the festivals taking place this weekend in the city.

Sept. 12-15 | Scioto Fest | Scioto Audubon Metro Park

This four-day festival is for those with an affinity for the outdoors. Here, adrenaline junkies will find rock climbing and bouldering while land lovers can enjoy camping, music, and all the food offerings.

Sept. 12-14 | Creative Control Fest 8 | Lincoln Theatre

In its eighth year, the Creative Control Fest is back to raise up and celebrate creatives of color from around the midwest. Hang out and learn useful information at one of the many workshops, or get your mind right at one of the wellness activities designed for creatives from a variety of different industries.

Sept. 13-14 | 934 Fest 2019 | 934 Gallery

In a celebration of the art scene here in Columbus, 934 Gallery is opening its doors for two-days this weekend featuring art from Lucie Shearer and Andy Meyer. Additionally, the festival will play host to two music stages, a comedy stage, local artist vendors, food trucks, craft beer, and plenty of activities for your young Picasso.

Sept. 13-15 | Country Living Fair | Ohio Historical Village

Calling all flea market fans and garage sale experts, this is your chance to splurge! This three-day fair offers more than 200 vendors from across different states selling vintage and handcrafted goods as well as antiques. Stop by one of the how-to sessions, or simply fill up your Pinterest mood board with loads of ideas.

Sept. 13-14 | Columbus Caribbean Festival | The Scioto Mile

In its third year, the Columbus Caribbean Festival has returned to The Scioto Mile for two days of live music, delicious island-inspired food and drinks including Taste Of Kingston and The Gumbo Dude Food Truck, and a parade. The music lineup includes Pete Funk, BAND AMANIAUZURI, and The Flex Crew.

Sept. 13-15 | 2019 Grandview Oktoberfest | Hofbrauhaus Columbus (Grandview)

Another weekend in September, another chance to celebrate the German Oktoberfest! This time around it's at Hofbrauhaus where live entertainment will clash with German food and bier as well as activities for little ones. Friday will feature WCOL-FM from 6pm- 8pm, while Saturday will host a face painter and balloon artists from 2pm- 6pm. And if you couldn't make it to the face painter on Saturday, they will return on Sunday from 1pm- 4pm in addition to a magician.

Sept. 14 | Crafted Food, Beer & Music Festival | Columbus Commons

From farm-to-table-to-festival, the Crafted Food, Beer & Music Festival brings nine different Columbus restaurants together to showcase their offerings. For $15, you can enjoy live music from George Barrie Band and The Floorwalkers, stuff your face, and know that you're doing some civic good as a portion of proceeds will benefit Freedom a la Cart, an organization providing paid workforce training and supportive services to survivors of human trafficking.

Sept. 14 | Oktoberfest Party | Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Wolf's Ridge is getting in on the Oktoberfest action and on Saturday you can find brats, spaetzle, and of course, WRB's very own Oktoberfest bier. If you really want to feel the Oktoberfest vibes, purchase a $14 stein and hoist it high!

Sept. 14 | Old Hilliardfest | Main St. in Old Hilliard

This street fair takes place in Old Hilliard where visitors can explore car shows and sunflower shows as well as all the fixings of most festivals: live music, food, and activities for kids at the kid's fair. Support local, and have fun while doing so!

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Let’s play FREE ball! Clippers weekend win means more dime-a-dogs

Mike Thomas



Over the weekend, our Columbus Clippers topped the Gwinnett Stripers to clinch the series, earning them a spot in the Governors' Cup Finals!

Games 1 and 2 of the Governors' Cup Finals best-of-5 series against the Durham Bulls will be played at Huntington Park on September 10 and September 11. Both games will start at 6:35pm, gates open at 5:30pm.

As if that weren't enough to entice you, all games in the first round will be dime-a-dog! 

Tickets for Games 1 and 2 are FREE! They will be available beginning Monday at 10am via Ticketmaster (no fees!), by calling 614-462-2757, or by stopping by either our Administrative Offices from 10am-4pm or the CF Box Office on the corner of Neil and Nationwide from 10am-2pm.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limit of four per order. For more information including the complete playoff schedule, click here.
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Amazon Treasure Truck returns to Columbus this weekend with exclusive deals

Mike Thomas



Whether you missed out on the Prime Day deals, or simply want to keep the savings rolling, Amazon is offering a unique new way to score deals in Columbus. This weekend, the juggernaut of online retail is once again bringing its Treasure Truck to the 614.

The concept is simple: Customers can sign-up for text message alerts revealing the day’s treasure, which could range from trending tech and the latest gear to seasonally relevant products. Sign up for text message notifications by texting “truck” to 24193.

After customers place their order on Amazon, they then select a convenient pickup location and time slot to get their item. In addition to the iconic trucks, customers can pick up their treasure at newly-launched vans, as well as kiosks located in select Amazon Books, Amazon Go, Whole Foods Market stores, and more.

To learn more and to sign up for alerts, click here, or sign up for text message notifications by texting “truck” to 24193. Don't sleep on these deals—the Treasure Truck will be rolling on to the next locale before you know it!

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