Horseback Adventures in the Shawnee National Forest

Grab the reins for an adventure that will have you feeding, grooming, saddling and riding a horse — all with the help of certified and experienced riding instructors!
Rating (4.9)
Program No. 4835RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Varies by date. Outdoor Spirited: Horseback riding for up to 2 hours at a time; trail rides increase in length and difficulty throughout the week. Outdoor: Challenging: Horseback riding for up to 5-6 hours a day and trails pass over more challenging terrain. There is a strict 225lb weight limit for both programs. Participants in either program must be physically fit enough to mount and dismount a horse with little or no assistance. Good core strength and balance are a must. ack, legs, and joints must be in good condition. Riding is not a sitting activity; you use your entire body. Those who have trouble walking long distances or standing for long periods of time will probably have trouble riding a horse.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • With a max group size of ten, 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.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Catherine Limkeman
Catherine Limkeman grew up in northern Kentucky, and joined the Camp Ondessonk as full-time staff in October 2017 as the equestrian director. She has recently received her master’s from Wheaton College and has spent the past couple years as the graduate assistant in charge of the equestrian program at HoneyRock Camp, the Outdoor Center of Wheaton College. She has worked as a wilderness guide in the upper Midwest and as a head wrangler in Washington state and northern Wisconsin.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Catherine Limkeman
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Basic Horsemanship
by Gaydell M. Collier, Eleanor F. Prince
Introductory guide to horses.
Horse Illustrated
by Magazine
by Magazine
Trail Rider
by Magazine

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