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Horseback Adventures in the Shawnee National Forest

Program Number: 4835RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/13/2013 - 10/18/2013; 5/1/2016 - 5/6/2016; 5/15/2016 - 5/20/2016; 8/27/2016 - 9/1/2016; 9/18/2016 - 9/23/2016; 10/2/2016 - 10/7/2016; 10/23/2016 - 10/28/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Ozark, Illinois
Price starting at: $679.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Outdoor Adventures, Misc. Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Grab the reins for an adventure that will have you feeding, grooming, saddling, and riding a horse — with a general introductory program for beginners or a fast-paced advanced program for experienced riders. Ride through beautiful pastures and out into the Shawnee National Forest, past sandstone bluffs, rock-bottom creeks, waterfalls, and oak-hickory forests as you gain new appreciation for the bond between human and animal, as well as the great outdoors, on this extraordinary adventure.




Highlights

• With a max group size of eight, enjoy individual instruction from our knowledgeable and experienced certified riding instructors.
• Bond with your assigned horse for the week, and learn about horse behavior, personalities and breeds.
• Explore the unique beauty and biodiversity of Southern Illinois on either an in-depth introductory program or a more challenging advanced program.



Activity Particulars

Moderately Challenging: Horseback riding for up to 2 hours at a time; trail rides increase in length and difficulty throughout the week.

Challenging: Horseback riding for up to 5-6 hours a day and trails pass over more challenging terrain.




Date Specific Information

5-1-2016, 5-15-2016, 9-18-2016, 10-23-2016

This date is for beginners or people with little to no horse experience. You will learn the proper techniques for grooming and saddling, as well as interactive lectures on topics such as horse behaviors, health care, and distinguishing characteristics of certain breeds. You will begin with riding instruction in the arena and build your skills until you’re ready to hit the trail.



8-27-2016, 10-2-2016

This date is for experienced riders. Participants must have previous horse and riding experience. Must be comfortable around horses, including leading, grooming and saddling with minimal assistance. Participants must be able to mount on their own and trail ride over challenging terrain for up to 3 hours at one time. The time spent riding will be significantly longer and the trails and lessons will be more challenging. The week builds up to an optional overnight camping trip with your horse.



Coordinated by Camp Ondessonk, a Catholic retreat center.




Ozark

Located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, which extends over 270,000 acres, Ozark offers proximity to the edge of a glaciated area, which provides a diversity of flora and fauna and unique geologic features. Ozark is also located within one hour of the Trail of Tears route, which is part of the National Park Service.



Accommodations
Modern, climate-controlled lodge with private baths, one queen bed, lower bunks for roommates, and large deck overlooking rolling pasture land.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Meagan Walters

Originally from Somerset, Pennsylvania, Meagan Walters came to Camp Ondessonk as the equestrian director in June 2012. Before that, she studied at the University of Pittsburgh and worked on a number of ranches out west. Meagan has an undying passion for horses and she loves to work outside. On her days off she can be found playing with her two horses or reading a good book.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
  Ozark, IL 5 nights
 St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Type: Lodge
  Description: Rustic dormitory style lodging nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Warm and accommodating dining area where meals are served family-style. Telephone and wireless internet connection available.
  Contact info: 3760 Ondessonk Road
Ozark, IL 62972 USA
phone: 618-695-2489
web: www.ondessonk.com
  Facility amenities: Walking trails, large deck for relaxing.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $18.75 per night per person. Please call to ensure availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $18.75 per night per person. Please call to ensure availability.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration 3:00-5:00 PM. You will be staying at St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 10:00 AM. You will be staying at St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Completed health form and liability release form returned to Program Director prior to arrival. Valid photo ID such as driver's license.
  Parking availability:
Free on-site parking for duration of program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ozark, IL
  Nearest city or town:  Marion, Illinois
  Nearest highway: Hwy 45
  Nearest airport:  Marion, Illinois
  From End of Program
  Location: Ozark, IL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Carbondale, IL

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

approx. 1 hour 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Carbondale for $20 per passenger each way.

 

Marion, IL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 minutes 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Marion for $15 per passenger each way.

 

Paduchah, KY

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

approx. 1 hour 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Paducah for $20 per passenger each way.

 

St. Louis, MO

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
BART Transportation
phone: 800-284-2278
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

prices may vary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 1/2 hours 

   

BART Transportation is a commercial van service available to participants who choose to fly into St. Louis, MO. Bart can shuttle participants to Marion, IL. You will be dropped off at the Williamson County Airport in Marion. With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Marion, IL for $15 per way as a courtesy to our guests. They are also available online at www.bartshuttle.com/

 
Driving Directions
  East Take I-64 West to I-57 South to I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn left onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
  North Take I-57 South to I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn left onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
  South Take I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn right onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
  West Take I-64 East to I-57 South to I-24 to Tunnel Hill exit. Turn left onto Tunnel Hill to Hwy 45. Turn left onto Hwy 45 North to Ozark Road (about 7 miles). Turn right onto Ozark Road to Ondessonk Road (about 1/2 mile). Turn right onto Ondessonk Road to St. Noel Center.
Equipment Requirements: Hard soled, closed toe shoe with a heel. Prefer not "new" boots. Rain gear (not poncho). Long jeans, clothes will get dusty/muddy. Water bottle/canteen.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and check in/Welcome and Orientation
(Sunday, October 13)
   
 Afternoon: Welcome to Camp Ondessonk! Your guides for the week will be available at the St. Noel Center to assist you with check in and show you to your room. After moving in, take some time to relax in the fresh air on our spacious deck overlooking Ondessonk's sprawling pasture lands. Enjoy the stunning sight of our 70 horse herd as they graze away the evening hours. Or, feel free to walk around camp where your adventure awaits!
 Dinner: A hearty dinner will be served family-style in the St. Noel Center's dining area. Bring your appetite!
 Evening: This will be an opportunity to start getting to know your fellow riders for the week. Be prepared to laugh and to share a little bit about yourself as we go over what to expect for the week and answer any questions.
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Morning and afternoon sessions at the Ondessonk Stables Evening Program: Illinois Biodiversity
(Monday, October 14)

Note: Come prepared to work with the horses and start riding in the afternoon.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served family-style in the St. Noel retreat center's dining area. A warm start to a great day!
 Morning: The morning will begin with feeding our large horse herd. We will welcome you to the barn with a tour, followed by our first learning lesson covering horse behavior, handling, and safety. After demonstrations, you will have the opportunity to meet your horse for the week and try out your newly learned grooming and saddling skills with help from the staff.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon we will head back to the stables for a riding demonstration and verbal riding instruction. You will then have your first mounted lesson in the arena, where we will begin with the basics.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Evening: Southern Illinois is very unique in its biodiversity. Several prehistoric occurrences impacted and shaped the geology of this area, including inland seas to vast glaciations of ice ages past. Learn how this geology, and the convergence of several different natural divisions, allow for the astonishing plant and animal combinations found in this area. Learn about everything from cacti growing within a hundred feet of a moist oak-hickory forest to southern cypress swamps in Illinois. Join us after dinner to find out more!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Morning and Afternoon Sessions at the Ondessonk Stables Evening Program: A night hike or relax around the fire with a game of cards and music being played.
(Tuesday, October 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Morning: Help feed the herd if you choose to, then we will have a learning lesson covering the history of the horse and horse breeds. We will then groom and saddles the horses. If time allows, we will head to the arena for another lesson with the basics.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Afternoon: Back at the stables, we will mount our horses, review the basics, and hit the trail! Our trail ride will head through the pastures and woodlands of Camp Ondessonk, giving you a chance to really bond with your horse during the ride.
 Dinner: Enjoy another delicious meal prepared fresh by our talented food-service director and served family style in the St. Noel Center Dining Area.
 Evening: Enjoy a night of fun and relaxation! You will have a fire, cards and music at the ready. If you are feeling adventurous, travel outside into the nocturnal world for a night hike. Listen for the distant calls of coyotes echoing up the canyon system and see the stars like never before. If you choose, a night hike through the oak-hickory forest of Southern Illinois is an experience not to forget!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Morning and afternoon sessions at the Ondessonk Stables /Foil Burger Dinner!!! /Evening Program: Campfire!
(Wednesday, October 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Morning: After the horses are fed, we will cover horse health and keeping/caring for a horse in our learning lesson. Groom and saddle your horse for an arena lesson where we will do an all-time favorite -the obstacle course!
 Lunch: Lunch will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Afternoon: This will be our open session at the stables. Based on group choices, options include demonstrations, riding lessons, another obstacle course, and other requests. We will wrap up in time for the optional field trip to a local winery. Enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way to one of our local wineries where you can tour, taste, and enjoy!
 Dinner: Enjoy a delicious Camp tradition! Our foil dinners will be prepared on a bed of hot coals. Burgers, fresh fixin's, and the works, all enjoyed in the fresh air of a crisp fall evening. A camp favorite for sure!
 Evening: Another Camp favorite: The Campfire! Music, songs, stories, and warm memories await!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Day ride on the trails of the Shawnee National Forest/Evening Closing Program
(Thursday, October 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Morning: This morning will find us grooming and saddling our horses and packing for a day-long ride through the sand-stone bluffs and canyons of the Shawnee National Forest. Our route will take us by the highest free-falling waterfall in the state of Illinois while cris-crossing rock-bottom creeks and cutting across sand-stone canyon systems.
 Lunch: Take some time out of the saddle to stretch your legs and enjoy lunch in the fresh air of the great outdoors. You will be able to explore our scenic rest spot before we ride back to Camp.
 Afternoon: After lunch in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest, we will mount our horses for the ride back to camp. We will pass an old homestead barn and ride back around our lake. When we get back, feel free to spend time saying good bye to your horse, or head for a relaxing hot shower!
 Dinner: Dinner will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Evening: An opportunity to reflect on time spent in the natural world, to share memories freshly made, and to recognize new trail companions who made the experience meaningful.
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Program Wrap Up/Departure
(Friday, October 18)
   
 Breakfast: Our final breakfast together. This meal will be served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Morning: "The thing to remember when traveling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all that you are traveling for." -Louis L'Amour. Thank you for joining us at the Camp Ondessonk Stables, may our trails cross again!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Basic Horsemanship


Author: Gaydell M. Collier, Eleanor F. Prince


Description: Introductory guide to horses.





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