The Alpena County Horsemen's Club is a group of people with a common yet diverse interest in horses and related activities.  Member's interests include showing (at local, state and national levels), training, breeding, trail riding, horse camping, search and rescue,and driving. We are all about enjoying and getting the most out of the time that we spend with our horses. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in horses. 


For complete details
on all trail riding see our
Trail Rides page 

Pigeon River Trail Riding

Yes - winter is on the way but
that's no reason to give up trail riding!

Winter Trail Riding Can Be Fun
If You're Prepared

Of course, you try to avoid the trail riding hazards that might get you and your horse into real trouble, such as blizzards and ice storms. But Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor. A nice winter day can turn nasty in minutes. You might find yourself riding in snow far deeper than you'd anticipated or suddenly sliding downhill on an icy trail.

Here are the seven winter riding hazards:

  • Deep snow
  • Snowdrifts
  • Frozen ground
  • Ice
  • Packed snow
  • Freezing rain/ice storm
  • Slippery mud/deep mud

Hazard #1: Deep snow – why it's hazardous:

Your horse may panic in a deep snow bank and flounder about, possibly pulling a muscle, or straining tendons and ligaments. Deep snow can also cover underlying trail hazards, such as holes and sharp objects.

What you should do: Find and stick to trails and roadways where the snow isn't as deep. Keep your horse well collected, with his weight back over his hindquarters. A collected horse usually has a "spare leg" to catch himself, because his weight is more evenly distributed in relationship to his center of gravity; he'll be more agile with less effort than if he carries his weight on his forehand.

At the same time, give him enough rein so that he can use his head and neck for balance. Keep in mind that moving through deep snow will tire your horse, especially if the snow is wet and heavy. (Fine, powdery, dry snow is much easier for him to step through.) Scale back your ride, especially if he isn't in top shape. Otherwise, he may become worn out and sore, and/or develop muscle cramps.

Avoid brushing against snow-covered trees and bushes. You can get chilled if a load of snow falls down your neck, and onto your bare hands and saddle seat. Your horse may also spook at the falling snow.

Hazard #2: Snowdrifts – why they're hazardous:

Blowing, drifting snow can fill ditches and gullies, leaving a smooth landscape. You won't know your horse is walking into a hole or deep gully until the ground drops out from under him, and he's floundering or falling down. What you should do: Stick to familiar trails; don't travel cross-country, where the terrain is rougher. Avoid riding through the drifted areas, if possible. You may not be able to gauge drift depth until your horse is up to his belly and struggling to wallow through.

Hazard #3: Frozen ground – why it's hazardous:

Frozen ground is second only to sheer ice in slickness. Even grass is slippery when frozen. Your horse's feet are designed to cut into the ground a little with each step, for traction. If he can't dig into the hard, frozen surface, his feet will slip at every step. And he may go down so quickly that you won't have time to pull your foot out of the stirrup and get out of harm's way.

What you should do: Take it slow. Travel at a walk, and avoid sudden turns or stops. Try to stay on flat terrain. Especially try to avoid going downhill; horses usually have better traction going up than down. Never go around the side of a hill; instead, ride straight up or straight down the hill. When you get to a more level area, you can continue in the direction you wish to go.
When going downhill, a surefooted horse that's going straight can slip and slide all the way to the bottom and still keep his feet underneath himself. Even if he slides down on his haunches, he won't fall. However, if he's traveling at an angle to the hill, his feet may slip out from under him, causing a bad fall. If your horse is reasonably surefooted, don't dismount, unless you can get well away from him as you lead him. It's safer to stay on him than to risk slipping and falling.

Once you go down, your horse may then inadvertently slide into or run over you. If the footing is that treacherous, you won't have any better traction than your horse, especially if you're wearing smooth-soled riding boots. He has four legs for balance; you have only two. If you do need to dismount, stay well out of your horse's way and off to the side, in case he slides or falls. Dismount off his right side, if it seems safer. Even if you're traveling on dry, safe terrain, beware of shaded areas and north-facing slopes that don't get much winter sun. These areas may still be frozen and treacherous.

Hazard #4: Ice – why it's hazardous:

All ice is treacherous, from frozen puddles and ice-covered streams to melted snow that's re-frozen. A heavy, wet snow that then freezes to the ice can provide a little traction, but a wet snow or rain that freezes over ice will just make it even more slippery. A fine, powdery snow on ice may also make it more slippery. On ice, your horse can easily lose his footing, scramble, and fall down, then have trouble getting up again. If your horse does the "splits," he may seriously injure himself, as well as put you at risk as he struggles and falls. What you should do: Avoid riding across patches of ice, if at all possible. Watch for ice hidden under fresh snow, which is especially treacherous. If you suspect there's ice under the snow in a certain spot, go around it. If you ride frequently in winter, consider shoeing your horse with traction in mind. Consult your farrier for options.

Hazard #5: Packed snow – why it's hazardous:

Packed snow can be just as slippery as ice. A polished trail or road, packed by hoof traffic or vehicles, is ice, and very slippery indeed. What you should do: Try to find a path through undisturbed snow, which is much less slippery than a packed track. Ride to the side of the trail if you need to. If you're traveling with a group, keep in mind that while the ride leader may be gaining traction in fresh, undisturbed snow, the horses who follow will be on slippery, packed snow. The ride leader should go slowly to allow for this hazard.

Hazard #6: Freezing rain/ice storm – why they're hazardous:

Your horse is at great risk for an injury-inducing fall. Unlike other hazards, which you might be able to go around, ice coats every surface. Preparing for a ride, or if you dismount, you're likely to slip and fall. What you should do: If all surfaces are coated with ice, choose a better day for a ride. If you're on a long ride and get caught in freezing rain or an ice storm, choose the safest route home possible. Keep to a walk, and avoid sloping ground, even if it means going a longer way around an area of risky footing.

Hazard #7: Slippery mud/deep mud – why they're hazardous:

Wet, slippery mud puts your horse at risk for a fall. Deep mud also increases your horse's risk of falling, as he may not be able to pull his feet up quickly enough to catch himself, especially if he hits mud unexpectedly. Also in deep mud, your horse may struggle and flounder, possibly pulling muscles, tendons, or ligaments, or damaging joints. As he struggles, he may kick off a shoe. The mud itself can pull off a shoe.

What you should do: In slippery mud, see the precautions for negotiating frozen ground (Hazard #3), especially on hills. If the trail is dry, still watch out for shaded areas, such as timbered slopes, where the ground may still be wet and muddy. Also watch for wet soil over frozen ground, especially as spring approaches. In deep mud, keep your horse calm, and go slow; it takes extra effort for him to pull his feet out at each step. If he moves faster than a walk (or tries to jump over or through a muddy area) and becomes mired, his momentum may throw him down head over heels, taking you with him. If you must dismount in mud, scrape the mud off the bottom of your boots before you remount. Muddy boots can slide out of the stirrups, impeding your balance. Use a rock, sagebrush - whatever is available - to remove the mud.






Update:  Lost horse was found today. Four longest days of Wendy's life.
Wendy just wanted to say thanks to those that were able to go out and help search.

This was posted on facebook by Denise Conroy:

Terrie Slack, Laura Kibler and I got down to the Elk Hill area around 1:30 p.m today. We were going to drive our vehicle around and hike on foot. They knew the general area he had been hanging out, so we thought we'd start there. It wasn't an hour and they had found him!

We got a text to come back to the trailer where Wendy was, giving her other horse a rest after searching most of the morning. Apparently, a couple of hunters on 4wheelers (used to live in WY so knew horse/ranching) found him. They heard about a horse missing, but the weren't really looking for him. They were out there to hunt. They started following Rico and pushing him. They stopped and fed him some apples and tried to get a rope on him, but he took off again. They pushed him for about an hour.

A group, part of the rescue were out in the area riding, looking for Rico and wouldn't you know it...the men pushed Rico right into their path!! Boy was Rico happy to find a horse herd for safety after being pushed by those men on those scary 4wheelers! LOL Rico joined right up with one of the mares and they trotted him back to Wendy's trailer (which was just down the road a few miles)...WHERE by the way, she was waiting as if she was expecting him.!

She said she just wanted to fall down when she saw him coming down the road. She was sure they had a lead rope on him! It was a total miracle and answer to prayer! And Wendy will testify to that. He still had the saddle on, she had the breast collar attached. He was uninjured, a little thin but otherwise Just fine and dandy!!!!

This just in from Kerry Mase:

Saturday (10-25-14) Wendy Frosland’s horse, Rico, took off with just a saddle on at Elk Hill. 

As of Sunday (10-26-14) morning the horse has not been found.  People are searching. 

If you know of someone who lives in the area, even if not a horse person, could you let them know. 

If anyone sees or hears of this horse in the area text Wendy at 906- 298-2165.  Voice calls don’t usual go through but text usual does.




Important Notice from the DNR:

The DNR has requested that we make all ACHC members aware that while portable corrals/fences are not prohibited when camping at Elk Hill in the Pigeon River Country, there are certain restrictions that apply.

Portable corrals/fences are permitted only around the immediate area of the picket posts.  It is not acceptable to install a large corral area, as this leads to destruction of the grass and ground areas. 

It is never permissible to tie/picket or high-line horses to trees.  There are picket posts available at every campsite. 

We all enjoy camping in the Pigeon River Country and we all share the responsibility to care for the wilderness and above all always leave it cleaner and better than we find it.

Leave no trace!

Announcing the NEW Youth 4-H Club,
The Kountry Kickers in Hubbard Lake Area!
Contact Bonnie Cornelius to join!


Do You Have Some Cool Event Photo's 
for the Website?

Send them to Bonnie or Jackie
as an Email Attachment





October 2014



You know you're a horse person when...



 …your horse gets new shoes more often than you do.

 …your mouth waters at the sight of a truck full of hay.

 …every time you drive past a road construction sight you think what nice jumps the barricades would make.

 …you consider a golf course as a waste of good pasture land.

 …your friends no longer ask to get together after school/work or on a weekend because they know you’ll say, "I can’t, I have to ride."

 …you pull a $17,000 horse trailer with a $1,000 pick-up truck.

 …you buy duct tape by the case, and carry rolls in your pocketbook, briefcase, backpack, and car trunk.

 …you realize finding a horse shoe is truly lucky because you’ve saved ten bucks.

 …your boyfriend complains that you love your horse more than you love him and you say: "And your point is..?"

 …someone does something nice for you and you pat them on the neck and say ‘good boy’.

 …you try to get by someone is a restricted space and instead of saying "excuse me" to him/her, you cluck at them instead.

 …you show up for an appointment in your city clothes and when you get there people reach across the table to pick alfalfa out of your hair.

 …no one wants to ride in your car because they’ll get sweet feed and hay in their socks and on their clothes…but that’s ok because you’ll have to rearrange all the tack to make room for them anyway!

 …you look at all the piles of laundry sitting next to your washing machine and most of them are breeches, horse blankets, saddle pads, etc…. but you don’t even care about the horsey hair residue that will be left in your washer and dryer.

 …you say "whoa" to the dog.

 …your mother, who has no grandchildren, gets cards addressed to Grandma, signed by the horses and dogs.

 …you see the vet more than your child’s pediatrician.

 …you groom your horse daily for hours and you haven’t seen a beautician since…?

 …someone asks for a screwdriver and you hand them a hoof pick.

 …you clean tack after every ride but you never, ever, wash the truck.

 …on rainy days, you organize the tack room, not the house.

 …you can remember worming schedules, lessons, and farrier visits in your head, but often forget your class schedule, household chores, and meals.

 …you are unreasonably pleased to get a horse item, ANY horse item, as a gift.

 …you stop channel surfing at Budweiser Clydesdale commercials.

 …books and movies are ruined for you if horsemanship references aren’t correct.

 …you actually get to a point where flies don’t bother you that much anymore.












Have an idea for Group Camping? 

 Contact Jackie Konecke at 989-356-0071

Want to plan a Day Ride? Contact...

Indian Reserve Road/Carol Clute 989-727-2405
Chippewa Hills/Darlene Alexander 989-727-3137
Graham Road/Carol Dodge-Grochowski 989-379-2701


Weather Alerts! 

For current up-to-the-minute weather
alerts regarding club events and weather
situations, go to the Club Forum page
and click on Weather Alerts