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Horseback Adventures in the Shawnee National Forest

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Road Scholar
Program #4835RJ

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6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging (Variable by Program Date)
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Barb from Chicago, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/25/15 - 10/30/15
Loved it! It was all that I hoped it would be. Meagan and Lauren are great instructors.

Ellen from Kalamazoo, MI Number of programs attended: 0
Date attended: 10/25/15 - 10/30/15
This program was A++++++++++on every level! The scenery, instructors, fellow participants, lodging, food, and the horses!! I never dreamed I would ride a horse across a stream! I have wanted to do that since I was 5 years old. Thanks so much!

Wendy from Westland, MI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/25/15 - 10/30/15
Our two young, extremely knowledgeable, and experienced leaders and the small group size (eight) combined to make this program as enjoyable as it could possibly be. We were taught from the ground up (so to speak) with patience and humor, and individual attention when needed. Our accommodations were good and the meals were plentiful – as much as we could possible eat . . . and more. The surroundings were awesome and our last-day trail ride took us to places we didn’t think we could manage; but we did, with the training we’d received. I would recommend this program to anyone who loves horses, but thinks they’re too “mature” to learn. It was a very good week!

Cynthia from Chicago, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/25/15 - 10/30/15
This program was AWESOME!!! So much better than I could have ever expected. The instructors were superb and the experience exhilarating!

Janice from Swedesboro, NJ Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/27/15 - 10/02/15
I enjoyed this program so much, I may go back again. The instructors and staff were wonderful not to mention the amazing horses. The natural beauty of the grounds were greatly increased by seeing it on the back of a horse!

Sarah from Lewis Center, OH Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/17/15 - 05/22/15
Excellent instructors--knowledgeable and helpful. The food service director and staff were great, too--good food and they accommodated all my food allergies.. A well organized and very enjoyable program, and a lovely area to ride and hike.

Judith from Rockford, IL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/17/15 - 05/22/15
This program was soooo much fun!! The instructors, who are both experienced riders, were so helpful and informative while also being enjoyable to interact with. The other participants were great. The facility is comfortable and clean. The food is plentiful and very good. The staff could not have been more accommodating. All in all, I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in learning to ride or renewing former experiences that have long been left dormant.

Rosemary from Alton, IL Number of programs attended: 12
Date attended: 05/17/15 - 05/22/15
So, first of all, if you haven't been to the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois, that is reason enough to attend this program. This is the second time I have been to this area in less than a year (another Road Scholar hiking trip in Sept to same venue.) Also have hiked with Sierra Club and Audubon - beautiful. Add the remarkable job that Meagan and Lauren (both previously on college equestrian teams) are able to impart to the participants and you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The instructors are extraordinary and so is this program.

Marsha from Round Rock, TX Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/17/15 - 05/22/15
If ever you have the desire to learn horseback riding, this is the program for you. The surroundings and the trail rides are beautiful. The instructors are excellent and give you plenty of guidance and assistance. It really is partner learning- you and your horse for the week. It was a great experience, and I learned some new things. I can't wait to ride again!

Laura from Brecksville, OH Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/19/15 - 04/24/15
I've wanted be around ever since I was a little girl, but never had the chance. This program fulfilled a lifelong wish and made a little girl out of me again!

Kathleen from Plainfield, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/05/14 - 10/10/14
Do It! Beautiful surroundings, excellent instructors & horses, horses, horses. Not just the one they choose for you for the week, but the magnificent herd. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to do this. It was a great week.

Margaret from Columbus, OH Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/05/14 - 10/10/14
This was a great program for those who "always wanted to learn about horses and to try riding." Great Equestrian Director/instructor. Beautiful location.

Anne from West Roxbury, MA Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 09/14/14 - 09/19/14
I just returned from a marvelous week riding and learning about horses. "Introduction to Horses and Riding" (program #4835) is well planned and progresses from an introduction to grooming and saddling a horse to a day-long ride through the Shawnee National Forest. The equestrian director and her associate are so knowledgeable, friendly, humorous and instructors whom I admire, respect and from whom I learned so much. I had been apprehensive about riding, but they put me right at ease and helped me learn to ride and to try everything. The horse they chose for me to ride during the week was a wonderful companion. What a joy to know that as an older adult I will be able to enjoy the outdoors on horseback. Camp Ondessonk is a beautiful setting, the accommodations are very comfortable and the ample meals delicious. I love visiting different regions of the U.S. and the trip to southern Illinois was certainly worth it. I look forward to returning to Camp Ondessonk. Anne F., Massachusetts

Debra from Royal Oak, MI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/27/14 - 05/02/14
I encountered a beautiful and powerful creature and with guidance and support I realized he was a skilled patient kind partner for the trail. I encountered my fears and found I was also a skilled patient and kind partner for the trail, my horse and myself. Happy trails! Deb S.

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
14 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
9 Expert-led lectures
10 Field trips
8 Hands-on experiences


Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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