Trail riding at Oologah Lake

Before I hauled Moe down to the show on Friday, I spent the morning trail riding with friends at Oologah Lake. I took Gina, as I was aiming to cross something off my summer bucket list: horse swimming!

Gina has a variety of quirks: she doesn’t tie reliably, she has an irrational fear of ground poles, and she can’t always be trusted to get on the trailer. But Gina is a super trail horse, and I think spending a season hunting has made her even more reliable!

Just before the beach

The trails are Oologah are theoretically maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. They’re often overgrown, deeply rutted from rain, or a muddy mess. The weather has been dry for some time, so they were in pretty good shape this weekend! The trail winds through shady woods, backs to residential areas, and opens onto a rocky beach perfect for getting your horse in the water.

All the horses seemed happy to splash around in the warm water! My friend Rachael‘s horse Fiona wandered out pretty far and looked like a big spotted hippo basking in the sun! Gina and I rode over and said hello; Gina got a little nervous when the water was up to her belly, so we went toward the shore a bit and stayed there until everyone decided to continue down the trail.

Rachael and Fiona the Hippo
Rachael and Fiona the Hippo

We continued on through the woods to our turn-around point and began to make our way back to the trailhead. On our way back, one of the foxhunting ladies on the ride pointed out a downed tree that was hanging over the beach and asked if anyone wanted to jump it. I can’t say no to a jump, so Gina and I cantered over it and continued to gallop on down the beach. It was such a joyful feeling- the water splashing up, Gina’s steady strides, the sound of horses chasing us.

I think we're just going to have all our summer meetings here.
I think we’re just going to have all our summer meetings here.


I pulled up near the swimming beach and we waded back into the water. This time, Gina was more comfortable, and we got deep enough that the water was over my knees! I don’t know that Gina was truly swimming, but I’m totally counting it for my bucket list.

What a view!
Gina is not optimistic about what this lake water is doing for her tail.

I really will miss having Gina for the full hunting season or trail riding next summer!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

24 thoughts on “Trail riding at Oologah Lake”

  1. Swimming with horses is the best! I used to board at a place with a lake and my OTTB LOVED to swim. I don’t have anywhere to do it now though, boo. Looks like you had a great time!

  2. AH! This sounds awesome. I wish I had a horse with a brain to do stuff like that with. Maybe Romey would though… he only seems to fear loud speakers and cheering (so that should make showing really fun…)
    Is this venue close to your barn? I would totally go all the time if it was (and if I had a good horse like Gina)!

    1. It’s not too far- maybe about a 30-45 minute haul? (It’s not far in miles, but you have to go out of the way with a horse trailer to avoid some one lane bridges.)

      Come visit, and you too can live the dream with Gina! 😛

    1. I did! I had a synthetic girth and my little synthetic leather Ariat paddock boots and some Kerrits tights, so I only really needed to wipe off my saddle and apply conditioner!

      1. Good planning! I would still be scared of hurting my precious saddle though – but that’s what I have a cheaper and more rugged western saddle for!

  3. Gina was so good! The trail ride was super fun, the company was nice, and apparently Roscoe likes getting into lakes. He’s an enigma.

  4. What a beautiful place! Brings back lots of happy memories swimming with the ponies as kids. Adding it back to the bucket list again!

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