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Our Tennessee Horse Trails Bucket List
As my family and I travel across Tennessee working on our trail ride bucket list, we are reminded time after time of why we love riding this state.
Last year I had the idea to ride every single trail and stay at every campground in the state of Tennessee, including the ones along the borders. But as I began riding the trails and enjoying the beauty and complexity of each one, I wanted to share what I learned with others, and I knew just how to do it. Half the time on my journeys I would drive to the wrong location, get lost on the trails and miss out on what the campgrounds had to offer. As I talked to other trail riders, they were experiencing the same problems.
So, I began researching the best way to convey all the information for understanding the trails to other riders. Bingo, a video-based horse trail directory came to mind. So, my family and I began the project the next week. I hired a tech team to design a website conducive to my idea; we bought a trailer that could be towed behind our family’s motor home; we began calling campgrounds and trail officials for information; and once we were booked, we began traveling.
When we first started calling and speaking to campgrounds, the owners seemed confused. We always got the same questions: “how much is this going to cost me and why are you doing it?” We explained that it is free to campgrounds and riders, and we are doing it because we love it. It is a passion project! Once they saw the videos that we produced, they were glad we came. We have been told time and again how our site provides a “one stop shop” for information about each location that otherwise may be missed.
One of the thoughts that I had early in this project was that there is so much negativity in this world, even in the horse industry – especially on social media. We can be quick to judge one another and write off people and places. Instead, we can reduce confusion by having good information and view each place as a different adventure with its own personality. Then, we may realize that we can grow ourselves to meet challenges and enjoy something new and different.
With that thought in mind, I made it my goal to do the research, make it easily accessible, and then try to always provide a positive feel to the videos with accurate information. Since the inception of this project, our family has been running non-stop: riding, camping, and filming.
Upon arrival at a location, we start by filming the drive into the camp entrance, then the campground and parking area to show what it will be like to pull a trailer into the location. We describe difficult maneuvers and whether there is pull through or back in parking. Then we film the amenities such as hitching rails, water, restrooms, and campsites. Once that is complete, we hit the trails filming the footing, terrain, and of course the “must-see” places on the trail. It is a lot of work, and our horses learn the art of patience as I mount and dismount along the way to film key points.
It is not all work, though. My favorite part is that we get to immerse ourselves in the local culture. It is so important to convey the feel of each place to our viewers because each place is unique. When our trip is complete and we head home, the horses get much needed rest, but that is when our work really begins. I start by editing each clip, then putting them all together into a flowing presentation complete with voiceovers. The project then goes to our editor to have graphics added, and once the video is complete, we upload it to our site. Then we add a complete checklist of information, maps, rules, and links to useful websites. Our work consumes us, and we are loving the whole process. We feel blessed that we get to do what we love as a family, while enjoying everything that the outdoors of Tennessee has to offer.
At this point we have covered most of middle Tennessee and are now working on west Tennessee. Once that is complete, we will be heading to the Big South Fork, and then East Tennessee. If you have a favorite campground or trail in your neck of the woods and would like for us to review it, just contact us at www.tnhorsetrails.com. We would love to come ride with you on your trails and share the places you love.
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