Saturday, September 04, 2010

Head for Sand Hills! - Full Article

Story by Genie Stewart-Spears

With a combined 46,000 acres of rolling hills, long-leaf pine forests, and open fields, Sand Hills State Forest and H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area is a top Southeast destination for trail riders. Located in north-central South Carolina, between Hartsville and Patrick, the H. Cooper Black in particular is the ideal staging and camping spot for your horseback excursion.

"You can ride all day and not see a human being, just forest creatures - beautiful black fox, squirrels, deer, turkey, and, if you have a keen eye, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker," says Patsy Gowen, an endurance rider and American Endurance Ride Conference ride manager who developed a unique trail system there.

"The entire area is beautiful," Gowen continues. "In the spring, iris, dogwoods, yellow jasmine, and other wildflowers are in bloom. Sand Hills is also a working forest, with logging pine-needle harvesting. With the underbrush cleared out, you can see far into the forest."

The South Carolina State Park Service, which is extremely horse-friendly, manages H. Cooper Black. There are three entrances, and you can arrive anytime; there are no gated entries. And you don't need a permit to ride on its 7,000 acres and 20 miles of marked trails...

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