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Trails Ho! Riders saddle up for horseback riding in Branson

Staff Reports

Boats may float, but they can’t go up a mountain to showcase the spectacular hillsides of Branson like a horse can.

That’s the cheerful attitude one observer noticed taking in the lush patches of cedar grass, majestic oak trees and site of The Shepherd of the Hills Old Mill Theater as riders prepared to mount their horses on a warm Friday morning in June with no rain in sight.

“Horseback riding is a unique way to see the wonders of the Ozarks views in Branson,” Manager Angela Coffelt of Ozark Mountain Trail Rides said. “When riders come out into the open and see the countryside in a different way, they just gasp out loud at the beauty.”

Ozark Mountain Trail Rides is located at 6561 W. Hwy 76 in Branson and sits on land owned by the Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park.

Its sister operation, Bear Creek Trail Rides, is located in about a ten-minute drive north of Branson. Both are currently open and packing in eager riders seeking happy trails, more so than ever before, Coffelt noted.

Both horseback riding operations are taking precautions to keep riders safe and healthy regarding pandemic guidelines, although Coffelt said, “I’m not sure horses get social distancing like we do.”

Notwithstanding horse sense, Coffelt manages four rides daily at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Two guides lead ten riders for each outing.

Guests must be seven years or older to ride since “they need to know their right from left especially on a hilly trail.

The Ozark Mountain Trail one hour ride winds around the site where the Shepherd of the Hills drama is produced during the evenings. Horseback riding is a separate operation from Shepherd of the Hills Homestead and attractions.

Bear Creek Trail Rides, a two-hour experience on horseback, actually cross the waters of Bear Creek. Coffelt said, adding that more information about pricing and availability can be found at the Bear Creek Trail Rides Facebook page.

For more information on Ozark Mountain Trail Rides at Shepherd of the Hills Homestead Adventure Park, such as availability, Coffelt said people should visit the Shepherd of the Hills website. Cost per rider is $35.

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