Click here for the story about the ride featured in Northern Camper Magazine
Thank you for visiting the website for the 3rd Branch Farm in Otsego, Michigan. We are located in between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are extremely close to the riding trails of Silver Creek Campground (Allegan Game Park) and Yankee Springs Recreational Area.
I give riding lessons and sell and train gaited (and even non-gaited) horses as trail riding experts. We do not rent out the horses per hour. Each lesson horse at the farm has ridden across the state of Michigan on the Shore-To-Shore Trail, a 250+ mile trail that stretches from the shores of Lake Huron to the shores of Lake Michigan (for some of the pictures of previous rides, look to the left of your screen). This ride typically takes 12 days (including a rest day). Each horse is expected to cross creeks, wade into lakes, traverse highways, walk through a tunnel underneath I-75, cross bridges (steel, wooden and paved) and a 1/4 mile wooden boardwalk (in Luzerne, Michigan), stand on an overhead line overnight, deal with wildlife, boats, cars, motorcycles, ATVs, dogs and gun shots, be staked out for grazing and drink water out of plastic bags.
3 year old (TWH) Abe enjoying the Fall colors
These horses are used the following summer as lesson or trail guiding horses because of the wide range of experiences they've had. Because these horses have such extensive training, it takes over two years before they are ready for sale. We also train horses for carts/harness.
Lovely Mia at Hopkins Creek thinking about the big water crossing.
I specialize in gaited horses but also train non-gaited horses on the farm for different time periods depending on the horse's needs. In some circumstances, I can also come to your farm to work with you and your equine friend. At our farm, we have access to a race track, an obstacle course/bridle path, miles of hilly trails, an arena and several stream crossings on the trails. Please click on the link to the left on Training your Horse for additional information on training your pony.
Archie, my main guy, learning the ropes. He has a tough act in following the hooves of my beloved Orville (who is getting too old to do the long miles). But he's coming along. In 2014 we rode Shawnee National Forest together and he showed me what a Billy Goat he can be.
On occasion I can help train your horse by taking him/her across the Shore-To-Shore Trail, as well. Your horse must have reached some basic training thresholds before we proceed, and a space for him/her must be reserved well in advance of rides.
Finally, if you would like to traverse the state of Michigan on horseback, that can be arranged.
Thanks for visiting the website and please feel free to contact me for additional information.
My beloved old guy, Orville. Photography by Daniel Flanagan Photography (http://danielflanaganphotography.com/)