Issue 115 | December 2019
Your Monthly Access to the
Top Rated Trail Riding Show
in the World,
Best of America by Horseback !
Office Phone : 540-829-9555
Tom's Email: tseay10@aol.com
Tom Seay and co-host Del Shields in the Yukon Territory
A Note from Tom Seay
Editor's Note : This month, we are featuring an excerpt from the new book, Best of America by Horseback Family Cookbook . Filled with stories, recipes, and personal photos, the cookbook contains cowboy cooking and family favorites from tables across the country. Tom wrote several stories himself to go along with some of his treasured dishes and included memories from his childhood and family photos from his private collection. You can find more information about the cookbook, including ordering information, here . -- Jess
Hoe cakes were a favorite addition to our home family meals. It was one of the most favored foods of President George Washington. He was quoted many times about this and loved to have them "drenched with butter and honey." I like these best with Grandma's brand molasses, but George Washington's use of butter and honey works well, too.

Hoe cakes are not pancakes nor are they corn bread. Cornbread was baked and pancakes use flour as a base. The hoe cake is more crispy and was often called a "journey cake" for travel. It is a very simple recipe of corn meal, salt and fat or lard. Particularly in the south, field workers would build a fire near a creek or spring during the day as they worked the fields by hand, usually using a hoe as the primary tool. The mixture of cornmeal would be placed on the actual flat surface of the hoe and held over the fire to cook, much like you would cook a pancake. These hoe cakes are so basic that it is understandable why we add sugar, molasses, butter, or honey to make it better for the taste.

Today, I am often amused by how many "original" or "authentic" recipes there are in cookbooks and on the internet that use a variety of ingredients that just were not on hand for a field worker. It just did not happen that way. I particularly like Paula Deen's recipe, but whatever you use, lean toward the ones from the South where the recipe has been handed down over generations."
Hoe Cakes

1 c. Jiffy Cornmeal
1 c. Flour
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt
1/2 c. Buttermilk
1/2 c. Water
Crisco


  1. Combine cornmeal, flour, and salt in a bowl. Add egg, buttermilk, and water. Whisk until combined. Batter should be thick; if too runny, let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Fry large dollops of mixture in Crisco over medium-medium high until golden on one side. Carefully flip and cook other side. Remove hoe cake from pan when crisp and let drain on rack or paper towel.
  3. Serve with honey and butter or molasses for best results.


Yields 5-6 servings
Please feel free to write me anytime on my personal email tseay10@aol.com for questions, comments, or suggestions of places to ride.


Tom Seay
For this and other delicious southern recipes from Tom & Pat Seay, Del Shields, and more
of the Best of America by Horseback Family, click here !
Nationwide Event Dates - 2020
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Cattle Drive Weekends at Andora Farm
AVAILABLE NOW
Best of America by Horseback Family Cookbook
Featuring recipes from Tom and Pat Seay and the Best of America by Horseback Family, this cookbook contains delicious southern dishes, campfire cooking, and crowd-pleasers straight from the kitchen at Andora Farm cattle drives. Finally learn the secret to Tom's famous Corn Pudding, read family histories from folks across the country, and enjoy photos from trail rides with Best of America by Horseback. This is some of the best food America has to offer, from our families to yours.
Order soon to receive by Christmas!

Click the button below to purchase your copy from blurb.com and then click "Add to Cart"
For a signed copy of the cookbook, call our office at 540-829-9555
Signed copies are just $24 plus shipping.

We are so proud to share this collection with you and are so grateful to all of the folks who shared recipes, stories, and precious photographs of their friends and families with the entire Best of America by Horseback family. We hope you cherish this keepsake for years to come. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
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Back in the Saddle at Cook Forest
by Elaine Durlin
A light mist gracefully weaves its tendrils through the trees. Autumn is hard on the heels of summer, bringing a chill to the morning. Horses stomp and whinny, calling for breakfast as the camp wakens. Wood smoke mingles with the smell of coffee as campfires are coaxed into life, and the day begins.

Welcome to Cook Forest and “The Best of America by Horseback” trail ride hosted by Tom Seay, at Cook Forest Scenic Trail Ride, Dude Ranch, and Campground. This is the second year Tom, his wife Pat, and crew have been here at Cook Forest in Clarion County, located in scenic northwestern Pennsylvania on the southern borders of the Allegheny National Forest. Plans are set to return next year, and here’s the reason why: owners Ray and Terrie Smith have devoted a good chunk of their lives to making their campground into what is touted as the “horse lover's paradise”! And now voted Number 1 Horse Campground in the United States by Best of America by Horseback!
No surprise that I would want to break an almost three year hiatus from riding by coming here. As an “Old Cowgirl”, stepping out of my comfort zone to join the ride was daunting. Several years had passed since retiring my old trail horse, and too many resounding failures to find another steady had left me with little confidence. Where I once would load Bud and go without hesitation, I now was at the proverbial crossroads. Add a bad wreck with a runaway, throw in a few health and family issues just for kicks, and, oh yeah, don’t forget the new horse that I’d hardly ridden!... but I wasn’t near ready to quit.

Spring found me in the Horse Expo audience as Tom Seay spoke of not letting anything stop us from doing what we most want in life (not his words exactly, but my interpretation). I’d seen his program, Best of America by Horseback, and I was so impressed with his sincere and unassuming manner that I went home and made a BUCKET LIST. NUMERO UNO on that list was to ride a Best of America by Horseback trail ride. I signed on for the September ride.

There were no surprises at Cook Forest. Ray and Terrie Smith and the staff at Cook Forest did everything in their power to ensure a safe and relaxing stay each and every day. I thank God for the guidance to end up at the very best ride I could have found to break the ice.

When I arrived, Terrie greeted me with a smile and a friendly hello at the desk, and Ray took me right to my campsite to make sure I was settled in. The wooded campground itself covers 32 acres with shaded sites large enough to accommodate any size rig, and set up in such a way to allow ease of parking for any novice. There’s no stress trying to get your trailer jacked around into a tiny space. After a meet and greet with Tom, Pat, and the Cook Forest crew, Tom and Ray answered questions and visited with guests. The next morning greeted us with an excitement that the chill could not dampen as an assortment of horses and riders gathered at the mess hall, then followed Tom and our guides for today’s adventure. Along the way we met up with Tom’s film crew at predetermined locations along the trail, smiling and waving for a few million viewers of Tom’s televised program, “The Best of America by Horseback.”
Our guide led us through high meadows covered with grasses and wild flowers, on logging roads, across clear-cut sites in the National Forest, stark in comparison to idyllic woodlands with displays of towering trees, rock formations, and a sea of softly waving ferns. We rode more challenging trails with rocky and muddy areas, at times the horses picking their way carefully up or down steep hills – the sound of their shoes on the rocks echoing off the ravines we rode through. We crossed crystal clear mountain streams, horses splashing or stopping for a cool drink, discovered breathtaking overlooks on the tops of the mountain, and on the last ride we crossed the Clarion River. Wildlife abounds in the area, and we were blessed to see several deer on our adventure.

Trails at Cook Forest are varied and marked with colored dots that correspond with maps they have developed for riders who prefer to explore the 200 miles of cleared trails independently. An app of the trails is available to download on your cell phone, or you may want to hire one of the very competent guides they offer. Folks who want to ride but don’t own a horse can rent one from the dependable horses there.

Safety was a huge factor in deciding to ride with a crowd this size. At no time did I feel left behind or in any danger and Ray himself accompanied the ride. I found riders to be courteous and helpful to those of us who were not as seasoned or had issues with tack or horses. Many of the riders knew each other from previous trips to the camp and were good friends with the Smiths.
I spent a relaxing 7 days camping. The package included 6 days camping and trail riding with Tom and Pat Seay, cattle sorting, a new tack auction, a live band Saturday night, church service Sunday morning, and four of the best home cooked buffet suppers to be found ANYWHERE! The mess hall is huge and inviting with country and western memorabilia everywhere and hot coffee and donuts ready in the morning for anyone.

A quick word about the facilities at the campground. Water & electric hookups, box & tie stalls, livestock panels with and without roofs are available. The modern restrooms are clean and heated, and include shower and dressing rooms with a toilet enclosed in each unit; as well as a dumping station, wash bay, arena, playground, basketball & volleyball courts, and a permanent dining and recreation hall. Check out their website for more information: www.patrailride.com

Cook Forest Scenic Trail Ride and Campground is the culmination of many years of hard work, and commitment to make it the best that it can be. On Sunday, I sat down with Ray and Terrie before I pulled out, not only to express my appreciation for the best time I’d ever had on a trail ride, but to get a look into what made this place so great
“Terrie and I started this business from scratch many years ago. It’s been a good journey with no regrets. If it was just the money end of it, we’d probably quit tomorrow. It’s the smile you see on people’s faces that really motivates you to keep improving and going forward. And the family was always behind me.” Ray and Terrie’s son, Kris, buys and sells horses for a living and helps out at the campground from time to time. Daughter Stephanie helps some in the summer when she’s not teaching full time. From this conversation, it’s not hard to recognize the love they have of a close knit family and people in general.

Says Terrie, “We have met people from all over the world through this business. People are so fascinating with their different cultures and experiences. Horseback riding brings all people to a common level. God has blessed us through this business and we have learned to appreciate those blessings daily.”

Then I asked Ray, what do you enjoy the most? He sat back, considered my question, and in his soft-spoken way he answered: “The people. We have a lot of return riders. We’ve made thousands of friends; I might not know them all by name but they’ve been good to me. They come throughout the year and it’s like a reunion. There were people at church service this morning that’s been coming for 35 years. They compliment on the whole place, but the biggest compliment is when they tell me this has helped to change and better their lives, and you realize what you did has not been in vain.”

Boy, howdy! Ray and Terrie, I’m a believer! You have touched many lives, including mine, through horses. You have given me a gift of helping restore my confidence; to get back in the saddle and go forward with my life. This Old Cowgirl will be better off for the change. No doubt in my mind the reason Cook Forest is Number One. That’s why I and many other riders will be back. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Tune into RFD-TV on Thursday December 12 to see this year's ride at Cook Forest Scenic Trail Ride, Dude Ranch and Campground! Check local listings.
Join us at Cook Forest in 2020
Best of America by Horseback is heading back to Cook Forest for a week of trail riding and horse camping starting August 11, 2020.

Call to reserve your place on the ride: 540-829-9555

So, you want to jump in your Cavallo Boots?
by Carole Herder

Jumping is a multifaceted sport. Success requires harmonization of both horse and human bodies, individually and collectively. Rewarding when accomplished with finesse and agility. Life-threatening when uncoordinated and clumsy. Have you ever watched, in dumbfound awe, at the magic and lightness while a team flows perfectly through a complex course? Have you ever sat and wondered what in the world someone was thinking when trying to navigate a corner and direct their horse over a standard with completely inappropriate management? It’s opposite ends of the same spectrum. Same sport. Completely different delivery. Challenging both ways, and for entirely different reasons.

Leaving the nuances of performance behind, lets turn to the effect jumping has on the body - primarily horses’ hooves. This is always the favorite topic at Cavallo. Concussion. Impact. Shock. Massive force of weight, descending on those relatively small hooves.
Here’s what one foremost authority on this topic has to say:

Dr. Robert Bowker, DVM - from Horse & Rider, Feb. 2006,

“The blood in horses' feet does much more than provide nutrients to hoof tissues. It also enables the unshod foot to function as a hydraulic system, in much the same way that gel-filled athletic shoes do. We need to be trimming hooves so that more of the back part of the foot -- including the frog -- bears the initial ground impact forces and weight.  Horseshoes provide a much smaller surface area to absorb shock.  So, if a bare hoof landing after a jump experiences, say, 1,000 pounds of loading per square foot, then with a traditional shoe, there's going to be 2,000 pounds per square foot."
 
Cavallos Under Study

Gabriella Lynn, a student at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, recently conducted a study to determine Cavallo Trek boots’ effects on hoof pressure distribution. She chose these boots because they cover the entire foot and have tread for riding over rough ground. Lynn presented her findings at the 2019 Equine Science Society Symposium , held June 3-6 in Asheville, North Carolina.

In her study, Lynn measured pressure distribution as horses walked over Fujifilm Low Prescale Film barefoot and when wearing boots, on asphalt and over crushed stone. The color film images revealed pressure over the hoof wall and sole, as well as minimum and maximum pressure, mean pressure, size of contact area, and force. After analyzing these, Lynn observed that hoof boots created more low-pressure regions on the film than bare feet, meaning, in Lynn’s words, “that hoof boots absorbed more force and distributed more pressure upon impact”. 

To read more about Gabriella’s study, please read the article HERE.  
Not only can you jump in Cavallos, but your horse will benefit from the shock absorbing, weight distributing and pressure minimizing features of these technically advanced apparatus of ingenuity. Without the need for special trims or replaceable (breakable) parts and complete with 100% hoof protection, Trek have risen to become the most popular style in the Cavallo Hoof Boot collection . Cavallo receives reports and client praises everyday. Many happy riders choose to send their photos and videos, unprompted. It’s obvious. ‘YES’ you can indeed jump in Cavallos. And if you require more traction, stud kits are available.
This Month's Giveaway Winner
BJ Moretz
North Carolina
is the November 2019 Winner of
one pair of Trek Hoof Boots from
Enter to Win: Cavallo Trek Hoof Boots

Every single month, Cavallo Horse & Rider is giving away a pair of their Trek Hoof Boots
to one lucky Best of America by Horseback subscriber!

To enter, email Jess your name and state with the subject line "Enter Me to Win!"
Meet the Team - Matt
Chisholm Trail Ride Event
Come along with Best of America by Horseback as we head back to the historic Chisholm Trail! This special five day trail riding event will take place in Clearwater, Kansas with the Clearwater Chisholm Trail Saddle Club from September 9-13, 2020.

Each day, riders will experience a taste of cowboy life in the old west. Take on a different leg of the Chisholm each day and return to the same camp each night for a variety of cattle activities, authentic dutch oven cowboy cooking, live music, and so much more. Plus, guests will return to the Old Cow Town Museum in Wichita, one of the oldest open-air museums in the country and a highlight for last year's riders.

Call 540-829-9555 to reserve your place today! A $100 deposit reserves your place on the ride. Monthly payment plans are available.
Watch the Series
Did you catch our Chisholm Trail Series? You can now watch the entire series online on our YouTube Channel. On each episode, Best of America by Horseback visits a different Kansas location that played a part of the original Trail.

Best of America by Horseback is seeking nominations for special recognition of inspirational people that have contributed so much to the riding and horse world. Nominees can be folks of any age or background; they do not have to be trail masters or even own a horse.

The Awards
Aileen Livingston Award  The Aileen Livingston Award is to honor one of the finest people we have ever known. We had the pleasure years ago to meet John Wayne and to spend a day with Roy Rogers, but it is Aileen Livingston that I tell people is my most inspiring hero. Her love of horses and trail riding is inspiring, and her compassion for life and those around her, even in the face of health issues, has no boundaries. Despite a dozen reasons not to go, she rode across the country with us, hopping and skipping from place to place, all the way to California.

Nominees should be someone with great heart, compassion, and incredible spirit that has done much for the horse world. It can be in therapeutic, riding, a club or just working on trails.
Liz Malcome Award  The Liz Malcome Award is given to someone in the horse world that helps others with compassion and dedication. Liz dreamt of riding across the country "while she still could." She and her sister, Kathy Baldwin, rode with us on the famous Mexico to Canada Trail Ride. Both of these ladies are extraordinary in so many ways and have done so much for so many people. Liz & Kathy devoted their lives to nursing, and Kathy organized a medical mission to the children in Belize. Their love of training and riding Tennessee Walking Horses is well known. Liz passed away several years ago and we felt, like so many of you, that she and Kathy were truly part of everyone's family.

Nominees should be people who inspire others to live out their dreams, no matter the odds, and to be of service to others.
Mike Phillips Award  The Mike Phillips Award is given to modern-day trailblazers. Mike was a trail boss and close friend on the Mexico to Canada Ride. Mike needed heart surgery but rode from old Mexico with us along the Rio Grande and continued every inch for over 1,000 miles until he had to go have his surgery. A friend without boundaries to me and so many others, he never stopped wanting to care for all around him and to help people in any way. He and his devoted wife, Wanda, spent many years with us traveling until he passed away several years ago. He helped Back Country Horsemen, worked the trails, and his love of horses and trail riding was endless. He overcame health issues to help all of us. This year's award will go to someone that Mike would have loved to spend countless hours with. The person we will name has done so much for all of us, and you will enjoy learning about that person.

Nominees should be trailblazers who inspire those around them to get involved in the equestrian community, whether through volunteer work, maintaining existing trails or building new ones, or advocating for our parks.
Do you know of someone in the horse community who deserves to win a Best of America by Horseback award?

Send your nomination to Tom at tseay10@aol.com.
When to Hold & When to Fold
by Nancy Spoolstra, DVM

My 7-year-old gelding, Finn, has been the topic of numerous blogs. In  this post , I even declared that Finn’s objectionable behavior was improving! Perhaps my mindset was “fake it ’til you make it?” I have put two years of work into this horse. Sadly, last week while camping at  4-J Big Piney,  I realized Finn doesn’t have the mind of a trail horse. In fact, I thought if I worked hard enough on trust and respect, we could overcome his abject fear of all things unknown. I no longer believe that to be true.

Although we have made strides in certain areas, his testing and tantruming behavior has worsened. The day we prepared to leave for camp, we loaded Finn into the front of my LQ trailer. I’m not sure if he objected to a different trailer or to hauling in general. Regardless, he pitched a fit right after I had him tied. I was in the trailer when this happened. My head ricocheted off of him and the stall divider more than once. Thankfully, I never lost consciousness. Finn never did break the tie, and eventually, he stopped fighting.
We started our trip with a visit to the “Minute Clinic”. My neurological exam was fine. I was told I most certainly had a concussion. The doctor told Alan what to watch for if I developed a brain bleed. We headed for southeast Missouri.

Finn has successfully broken (at least twice) the aluminum trailer ties on the outside of my two-horse trailer. I guess they are designed to break, rather than have a horse destroy your trailer. Additionally, he’s managed to bust a snap or two. His approach is… “If I don’t want to do something, I’ll just exit stage left!” This is a really problematic attitude… It appears he doesn’t want to do much of anything.
We settled the horses in their stalls Friday night and had dinner. Saturday morning we headed out for a ride. It was a minor rodeo right after I mounted and before we headed out. Finn crossed the water and the mud without complaint. While he followed Kadeen in a fairly relaxed manner, he panicked if asked to lead. We rode several hours that first day, partially with the intent of wearing a certain squirrelly horse down.

Sunday morning started with discovering a 2-inch gash in Finn’s neck. I had ancient suture material in my bag, and some Acepromazine, so I did my best to close the wound. It wasn’t great… I don’t happily stitch horses, especially ones that just gave me a concussion. We rode again that day, and if I made him lead, he’d abruptly whirl around and throw a fit. His horrid behavior was really wearing on both Alan and me.
Monday we went to Rolla and didn’t ride. Tuesday morning we prepared to tack up the horses. I had been tying Finn to a tree, thinking that it would be harder for him to break! Not a problem for Finn… He shot back and broke yet another lead rope. (It should be noted that he was wearing a “pull-back” halter at the time. It puts pressure on his poll when he pulls.) Finn’s behavior did not impress our camping neighbors. The feature photo shows a horse very proud of himself as he trots unrestricted around camp.

Plan B involved putting a rope around his belly, between his front legs, and then through his halter. I tied him to the tree with that rope. As I was bridling him, he shot back. The halter was off his head and hanging off the rope, but the belly rope held. He pitched a major fit but didn’t get loose. I sacked him out big time after that, but he didn’t offer to pull that again. We finally headed out to ride. Once again, after following Kadeen for a while, I asked Finn to lead. This time his tantrum involved a “Hi Ho Silver!” routine and he reared up about 4 feet in the air. Furthermore, Finn reared and backed up into thick forest and foliage along a narrow trail.

When we finally headed down the trail again, I announced to Alan that I was done with this horse. Simultaneously, he announced he was tired of worrying about my safety. We made the decision to find another horse for Alan, and I would resume riding my beloved Kadeen.

Alan and I have talked often about how, after we each filed for divorce, our exes’ behavior only solidified our decision! So it is with Finn. He has continued to behave in a totally unacceptable manner. The second day he was belly-tied to the tree, he pitched yet another tantrum. He threw himself on the ground. In spite of his best efforts, he was unable to get loose. We faced loading him into the trailer with great trepidation. He didn’t disappoint…

We ran the rope through the window and secured it outside the trailer. I was NOT going to go into the trailer with him. I told him to load. He responded by shooting backward. Again, he put himself on the ground. Again, he didn’t escape. He finally jumped in.

We arrived home Thursday night, having left a day early because of rain. Furthermore, I needed to haul him to my equine vet friend to have his wound redone. A clean incision would leave a minimal scar on a horse that was for sale… Because he was so resistant to tying, he found himself attached to the Patience Pole. Of course, the belly rope was in play. He was fed and watered at the Patience Pole. The next morning, we had to load him into the 2-horse trailer. Once again, he reared, backed up and fought. Once again, he lost. He finally jumped in.

This week, I am taking him to a local Arabian trainer for at least a month of work. He’s for sale… hopefully the trainer can alter some of his belligerent behavior. While I have ridden him through many a fight, he has still managed to get away with too much. I have old bones. I am too old for this nonsense. He needs the consistency of a show ring. He needs a “handler”. His fear will not allow him to become a thinking member of a trail partnership.

We are now on the hunt for an Arabian or part Arabian trail buddy for Alan. We have some great prospects. Reach out to me if you have one for sale! And STAY SAFE!!!
This is part one of the series When to Hold and When to Fold.
You can read more on Nancy's blog here .
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Tom Seay's Tennessee Log Home is For Sale
Jamestown, Tennessee is known for horses and trail riding with The Big South Fork Recreation Area, East Fork Stables, Pickett State Park and other nearby horse camping areas.
Tom’s log home is in the gated equestrian community known as “The Highlands”. This community has 23 miles of designated horse trails on private property that will always be there and open to The Highlands property owners. These shaded trails lead riders through the woods, past streams and natural outcroppings with beautiful views of the gorge. Other equestrian communities have no trails with only access to trails on neighboring properties that could one day be closed to horses. The trails in The Highlands community will be there for the property owners in perpetuity!
A large, open front porch greets visitors as they approach. The log home has gorgeous high ceilings with wood beams and natural wood floors. An open floor plan makes this cabin great for entertaining friends and family, and wood cabinets in the kitchen add to the home's rustic feel. There is a beautiful natural gas stove in the living room that conveys with the home.
The Master bedroom is downstairs and features carpet and lots of natural light. The en suite bathroom features a large vanity and sink, and a full size bathtub and shower. The home's washer and dryer are also conveniently located in the Master bathroom.  
Master bedroom
Master bathroom
Upstairs, there are two carpeted bedrooms with dormer storage, an open area overlooking the living spaces downstairs with wood floors between the bedrooms that could be made into a nice seating/office area, and a full bathroom with a large vanity, sink, and a full bathtub and shower.
The back of the cabin has a large covered porch that faces the horse barn-- it's perfect for relaxing in the evenings after a long day of riding. There is a two stall barn (with turn out paddocks in the rear) and a storage area located behind the home. You can see your horses from the house. The trail head to 23 miles of private horse trails is just beside the barn. 
Tom Seay's Log Cabin
Jamestown, TN
Sale Price - $299,000
3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Please email any questions or inquiries directly to Tom Seay at tseay10@aol.com
Watch Your Favorite Trail Riding TV Show
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Find the latest uploads and your favorite destinations from our website or on our YouTube channel!
Upcoming Episodes on
Back to Back New Episodes All December Long!

Tue, December 3 | Bar X Ranch in Medora, ND  
Thur, December 5 | Winter Riding Destinations Pt. 2
Tue, December 10 | Winter Riding Destinations Pt. 2 
Thur, December 12 | Cook Forest Trail Ride (2019) - PA
Tue, December 17 | Cook Forest Trail Ride (2019) - PA 
Thur, December 19 |  Winter Riding Destinations Pt. 3
Tue, December 24 |  Winter Riding Destinations Pt. 3
Thur, December 26 |  RFD-TV The Ranch (2019) - NM
Tue, December 31 |  RFD-TV The Ranch (2019) - NM 
Host Tom Seay leading riders
down the sandy paths of RO Ranch in Mayo, Florida.
Best of America by Horseback
540-829-9555 | Website
Email Tom Seay at tseay10@aol.com