Texas Trail Riding Treasure

SisterCreek Ranch is rugged Texas Hill County at its best, with first-class horse facilities. The property, owned by Bruce and Beth Johnson, is a 700-acre working Tennessee Walking Horse ranch located just outside of Boerne, Texas, about 45 minutes from San Antonio.

Entering SisterCreek Ranch is like stepping into equestrian bliss. You drive by coastal fields and through the creek. Then you pass the living-quarters-trailer campsite, covered horse pens, and gorgeous paddocks, and go right up to the large barn.

Behind the barn are a large arena and a covered round pen; the barn is also adjacent to the ranch’s Western town, KickBack Flats.

Ranch Facilities
SisterCreek Ranch equine facilities include a 250-by-150-square-foot arena with sand and crumbled-rubber footing, covered, lighted round pen, covered stalls, paddocks, a wash rack, and a large barn with a restroom in the barn.

The recreational-vehicle/living-quarters-trailer area has four water and electrical hookups. The area features covered horse pens, plenty of shade trees, and a nearby creek.

The ranch’s guest houses are also on the creek. Each guest house has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a loft, plus a kitchenette, a large fireplace, and a screened-in porch. The accommodations for both human and horse are sublime.

Texas Trails
My first trip to SisterCreek Ranch was in September 2010. I went with my riding buddy, Carol. Bruce gave us a map and did his best to provide this directionally challenged person some trail-navigation tips. He invited us to ride anywhere on the ranch, including all the marked and unmarked trails.

The 18 miles of ranch trails are fun, provide natural obstacles to master, and give you an Old West feel as you ride over rough Central Texas Hill Country.

The “PG-13” trail is mostly flat and rocky. The Jar Head Mountain and Pop A Top/Moon Rock trails are rough and challenging.

On our first excursion, Carol and I traversed the northwest side of the ranch. Watch out as you ride past the stock tank just west of the arena; it can get boggy.

We rode to a blacktop road that follows a small trail that runs behind a house next to a shop and several gates. We headed through the gate on our right, which immediately led to a second gate. I welcomed the chance to practice opening and closing gates.

We then found a nice water trough, which our horses really enjoyed, immersing their noses in the cool water, then curling their lips in the air. Several cows hung out nearby.

Carol and I headed down the fence line, which later turned into a long, slow, rocky climb. Just on the other side of the fence, we spotted a fully antlered buck.

We then left the fence line and followed a trail leading to the Pop A Top area, an ancient-looking spot comprised of circular rock labyrinth formations and an old-style gazebo with an amazing overlook.

There were hitching posts, as well as stone benches we later used as mounting blocks.

Suddenly, the feeling of being in the Old West overtook me. This was such a unique spot, perfect for admiring the magnificent Texas Hill County. We sat there for a bit to soak in the views and relax.

Heading back was interesting, due to my directionally challenged condition and a few dead-end trails. We made our way using the wide Jeep trails and following the fence line.

Obstacle Course
Back at the barn, we practiced walking our horses on a bridge obstacle located by the round pen. The wooden bridge worked like a teeter-totter, with a round piece of wood in the center. Carol’s horse, Ace, an Arabian ex-racehorse, was a champ.

My Spanish Mustang, Angel, wasn’t so sure about the moving creature and would only cross over the short side. I was still proud of her, as she’d never seen a bridge like that before.

Spring Trip
I returned to SisterCreek Ranch in May 2011. I was joined by two riding friends, Carol, again on Ace, and Caroline on her black-and-white Paint, Jack.

Bruce and Beth gave us an updated ranch map. We explored the PG-13 trails, which are rocky, but loads of fun.

A watering trough is located off the trail (the higher of two parallel trails). One trail had several large logs lying across the path. I enjoyed taking Angel over these logs at a walk; later, we jumped them at a trot. Carol and Caroline followed suit.

In the PG-13 trail area, several small, unmarked trails branch off from a pond in all directions. The pond helped me keep my sense of direction intact.

On one side of the pond is a nice circular trail, free of rocks and perfect for working on collecting and suppling your horse on circle, free from the confines of an arena.

As we rode, a much-welcomed cold front blew in, raising the horses’ spirits

and making the air fresh and cool.

Heading home, we exited the PG-13 trail gate and discovered several short trails that wove through trees.

These short trails brought us to a spot where there were a few logs laying on the ground in an L pattern, another great trail obstacle challenge in backing your horse. We had lots of fun practicing backing our horses through this pattern.

Near the ranch arena, Angel and I also practiced walking across the teeter-totter bridge again. This time, we did it! What a great note to end the ride on and reward my Angel for being such a good girl. I rinsed her off, filled up her water bucket, and stuffed her hay bag. She looked content.

I’m looking forward to my next ride. Next time, I want to take on the challenging Jarhead Mountain trails.

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