CHANDLER -- Oklahoma Equestrian Trail Riders Association Inc. (OETRA) is hosting a clinic on GPS 101 and Horse Camping 101 on Oct. 13-14 at Bell Cow Lake Equestrian Camp in Chandler.
Instructors will be available to assist participants in learning how to use a handheld GPS unit for trail riding during the morning session. The afternoon session will cover what to take on the trail, trail riding etiquette, what to expect on an organized ride, how to condition the horse for trail riding and safety skills.
Attendees will learn how to use portable corral panels, electric fence pens and picket lines to safely contain their horses. Former OETRA Presidents Milt Alexander and David Smith are the instructors.
On Oct. 24, OETRA will sponsor a poker run using the GPS, beginning at 9 a.m. The GPS will be used to locate the various check points on the trail. For those who don’t have a GPS, OETRA will team them with someone who does. Prizes will be awarded for the winning hands.
Clinic fees are $25 per person for OETRA members and $35 for non-members. Registration is 8:30-9 a.m. The classroom portion of the GPS 101 clinic starts promptly at 9 a.m. at the Equestrian Camp pavilion.
At noon, clinic participants will what elements should be in their saddle bags, then at 1 p.m., Horse Camping 101 will continue the clinic and will conclude at 3 p.m.
After 3 p.m., participants can have one-on-one time with the instructors and explore different camping stations that will be set up throughout the campground to demonstrate different types of camp set ups, including how to properly put up a picket line, how to build a portable electric corral and much more.
Dinner will be served at 5:30 for participants. Lunch and dinner are provided in the costs. Camping and trail fees are not and are payable to the City of Chandler who operates the park.
For those not familiar with OETRA, this group has donated more than $12,000 in funds across the state in the last three years at several horse camps and trails. OETRA was established in 1974 as the state’s trail riding association with the goal of promoting good stewardship towards Oklahoma’s trail system.
OETRA members worked to put the horse campground in at Robbers Cave 38 years ago and also planned, cut and marked the horse trail system. Today, OETRA hosts a work week at Robbers Cave State Park each spring and volunteers bring their horses and work by horse back and also on foot to maintain the trails and clean up the camp. OETRA also hosts workdays at other horse trail systems.
OETRA membership is based on the calendar year. The cost is $20 for individuals and $25 for families. Those who join after Sept. 1, membership will be good through December 2013. Members receive a monthly newsletter full of upcoming rides and ride reviews and yearly membership directory. OETRA has a Yahoo Members Only Message Board to increase communications among members and a Facebook group page.
For more information about the “GPS 101 and Horse Camping 101 Clinic,” contact David Smith at (918) 230-0792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website www.oetra.com to download a registration form. A membership application can be also downloaded from the website.
Directions: Chandler is located right off the Turner Turnpike (Interstate 44) between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. To get to Bell Cow Lake equestrian campground and trails (lake area C), you should take State Highway 18 north from Chandler.
This will be a left turn past the toll gate if you use the turnpike. Just north of town, SH 18 crosses over the turnpike. Just beyond, a green and white sign will direct you to turn left (west) on a blacktop road to the Chandler lakes. After a straight stretch, the main road makes a wide turn to the right. Do not take the turn but go straight which is still heading west. The equestrian campground is about 2 miles further on and is well marked.