On Saturday, November 20, 2021 fourteen members of the Bayou Chapter spent the day constructing an equine trail at the OWL Center in Dubach, Louisiana. The Outdoor Wilderness Learning (OWL) Center is 800 acres of rolling hills, beautiful facilities, and programs designed to encourage teamwork, family bonds, character development, education, and fun!

The trail was about 1/3 mile in length and had to be at least 10 feet wide in order to accommodate a horse with a rider and a walker on each side of the horse.  The trail also had to be very smooth with no roots sticking out. The reason for this is that the walkers need to be looking up at the riders and holding onto them and not looking at the ground.  First, the area was bush hogged, then we repeatedly ran a tractor pulling a harrow to clear the trail.

Bayou Chapter Ozark Society (BCOS) volunteers then used sharpshooters, rakes, loppers, chainsaws and other tools at our disposal to smooth out the trails.  We also hauled dirt to fill in the holes that were left when the roots were dug out.  There were several 4 wheelers that repeatedly ran the trail to help smooth it out.

BCOS has done trail maintenance at the OWL Center before but this was our first time to build a trail. The OWL Center was very appreciative of our efforts and sent us the following message.

Message to BCOS:  The OWL Center would like to extend a huge “Thank You!”  to BCOS for adding a new trail for our therapeutic riding clients to enjoy! The OWL Equine Program uses equine assisted therapies to serve almost 100 clients a week, including at risk youth, veterans, and children with disabilities. Trail riding allows our clients to navigate changing terrain and involves all of their senses – and it’s fun! This new trail (called “The BCOS Trail”) provides a great opportunity for our riders to easily access a woodland trail.