Sept. 15-18, 2022 Riding Retreat
I (Dr. McKichan) put this retreat together so I could introduce you to my favorite trainers, show you my favorite places to trail ride, and because riding is so much more fun with friends and great food!
Arrive, set up, get trail passes
1:00-ride Kickapoo Valley Reserve
4:00-Ray Ainsworth is available to work with horses
7:00-campfire, Cowgirl game, Liar's Dice
9:00-leave for Matthew Davison's ranch for arena work, cattle work, and trail skills like water crossings. Both Ray and Matthew will be teaching.
Lunch-at the ranch
3:00-wrap things up at ranch, for anyone interested: get your dogs and bring them back to Matthew's to test herding instinct
7:00-campfire, Neanderthal Poetry, improv comedy skit
9:00-leave for Wildcat ride, option to take lunch with you on the ride
1:00-lunch at campground for anyone back
2:00: Tubing or kayaking (also a good time to go biking, fishing or hiking if you would rather)
5:00-Learn to take your horse's temp/pulse/respiration, Ray helping teach horses to stand still if needed.
6:00-dinner-ribs (probably the best ribs you'll ever have)
7:00-campfire, auction game/door prizes
9:00-group photo, leave for KVR, ride to Rockton bar
Lunch-Enjoy the "famous" chicken dinner at the bar whenever you get there
Afternoon-exchange photos and contact info, additional help from Ray if needed
-All the meals that are on the schedule above
-Snacks and drinks
-Horse transport for the scheduled group rides and to/from Matthew's ranch. Our horses will be hauled together on End of the Trail trailers. (Alternatively, you could also haul your horses yourself if you prefer.)
-Help as needed from Ray throughout the retreat
-The Friday clinic with Matthew Davison
-Campfire at a main site for everyone to enjoy
-Tubing or kayaking depending on weather
-Horse temperature/pulse/respiration class with me
-Yoga/stretching/meditation with Erika
Not included in price/Not Provided
-Housing. You'll be in your trailer, tent, camper. Or there are some quaint rentals and a motel close by.
-All feed and supplies for your horses
-Alcoholic drinks (BYO spirits)
-Thurs. lunch is on your own
-Tip to Rod or Sheldon for hauling your horse if you ride apart from the main group
-Trail passes: if you don't have passes already for KVR or Wildcat we'll help you get them when you arrive
-Firewood is available for purchase if you want a fire at your site
-Veterinary care: I will take care of anything that comes up with normal fees as if we were at home.
-Bike trail passes for the Elroy-Sparta trail, bike rental
-Purchase of stethoscopes and thermometers
-Ray Ainsworth will be camping with us, working with horses at the campground, going on the trail rides with us, and helping us at Matthew's ranch.
-Matthew Davison is hosting us on Friday to teach us cattle-working skills. Definitely watch this beautiful video to meet Matthew and see his ranch (jump to 13:15). If you would like additional time with Matthew outside of Friday with your horse or dog, please check with him on availability and cost. (FB or 608-343-3534).
-I could list many accolades for Ray and Matthew, but the main point is they are great with horses and teaching people too. These are the two trainers that I use for my own horses and I am delighted that we are all coming together!
I couldn't plan a retreat without my own fitness and wellness coach, the amazing Erika Gerhardt, who was my inspiration for planning this event. Erika grew up riding horses and combines that experience with her expertise in fitness, stretching, yoga, meditation, and more. She will help anyone who is interested with some riding-specific activities to help our minds and muscles recuperate. Or if running, bootcamp, or zumba is your thing, we can do that too! Don't miss this chance to tap into her knowledge and positive energy. The date and time(s) for Erika is TBD.
We have our own amazing chef, Pablo. Bring some stretchy pants because you are in for a treat. You're welcome.
The number of riders will be limited to around 10-16, to make sure everyone has ample time to learn from our clinicians. We will break into smaller groups at Matthew's and trail riding.
End of the Trail Campground. E13722 Cass Valley Road Ontario, WI 54651. There is a map below. I will handle booking the sites but if you have questions for the owner, Rod, call/text him at 608-337-4738. Every site is electric and there are individual pens for all the horses--one of the reasons I like this campground so much! Quiet dogs are allowed but they MUST be leashed at all times. I want to be able to do this next year so please don't jeopardize that by letting your dog run loose. Cell and data service will be spotty there so be prepared for that and enjoy it!
You should sign up if you...
-Love long, hilly rides and don't mind steep grades next to the trail
-Are flexible if plans have to change
-Are comfortable at a trot and canter, just in case we'd stir up ground bees and need to hit the gas
-Desire to advance your horsemanship skills in a big way
-Don't mind stopping if someone needs to fix something or go to the bathroom
-Can be tacked up and ready to load up at the scheduled times
You are also free to go on your own rides without the group.
You'll need a horse that...
-Is current on coggins, Health Certificate if coming from out of state, and up-to-date on influenza & rhino vaccines
-Is controllable in a large group of horses at an average walking pace (assuming you want to stay with the group)
-Has some experience on trails
-Is healthy, sound, and conditioned for long, rugged rides
-Can be ridden on gravel, rocks, occasional pavement, and possibly boggy spots. If in doubt, I highly recommend getting your horse shod.
-Is safe but doesn't have to be perfect. We have incredibly talented trainers teaching us.
Is your horse bad at loading? Yanks back when tied? Jiggy on the trail? Afraid of cattle? Ray will fix that! You are welcome to talk to Matthew or Ray ahead of time if you have questions about your horse and how they can help.
-Campsite and pens for your horses: $120 total for the 3 nights. One truck/trailer per site. The site cost can be split between friends that are sharing a site. Most sites have two horse pens, some sites have room for more horses.
Non-riding guest: $200
Check or ACH transfer is preferred. Credit cards may be used but 3% will be added on. Payment in full secures your registration.
Bad weather adaptions
Let's hope for good weather! But if not, we have a shed to meet in, or we can do more training activities in a couple indoor arenas in the area. Last resort will be shortening the event, rescheduling, or cancelling/refunding it if we cannot find a fair solution. This will all be at my (Dr. McKichan's) discretion, but I will try to work with each guest on what options work best for them.
Please only register if you are very committed to coming. If something unexpected comes up, you may cancel for a full refund up to August 15, and a half refund if you cancel August 15-September 1. If we end up with a waiting list and can fill your slot(s) and site, you can have a full refund.