NOTE: Rockn’C Trail Rides is no longer in business. We hope they will be back someday, but in the interim, enjoy our equine exploits!
Woodrow House recently was the site of a fun-filled “Girls’ Weekend” that brought together three of my husband’s high school friends (Leticia Mata, Becky McLellan Mays & Diana Glover Gatlin) & two adopted “classmates” (Karen Wright & myself – we married into the class & have become good friends over the years). Our goal was to pack as much fun into two days as possible, & judging by how we felt Sunday when we parted ways, the weekend was a huge success.Over the next few weeks, I will highlight some of our activities & hopefully give future guests some great ideas about other Lubbock locales that will make for a more memorable visit to our beautiful area.
One of our more unique excursions was to Rockn’C Trail Rides just north of Lubbock. Equine culture is an integral part of our Texas heritage, but not all of us were born into a saddle. I had to laugh when I suggested the trail ride, & one of the girls in our group replied, “On a horse?” It was an LOL moment & set the tone for our adventure.
Malinda Casares is the owner of Rockn’C & the self-professed leader of the “Giddyup Gang.” She traces her love of horses back to rural Indiana, when she was five or six years old & hanging on any fence that corralled a horse & begging for a ride. “Even back then, I loved the smell of a sweaty horse,” she said.
She was 35 before she was able to indulge her passion, & the first horse she owned was a 20-year-old sway-backed cowhorse by the name of Millie. “She knew exactly what not to do as I was learning.” Before she knew it, she had six horses & was offering pony rides at a local flea market on weekends. She eventually began working with the local Parks & Recreation Department to get people in the saddle, but her business morphed over the span of several years.
After some personal introspection, it took a breakup with her boyfriend & selling off everything she had worked so hard to earn & running away to bring her full circle. She reconciled & married that boyfriend, Daniel Casares, & he bought back everything she had sold so she could begin the latest chapter in her life. “I’m very lucky in that I get to wake up & live my joy.”
Malinda is the first to admit that Daniel, who is employed by Hartman Roofing, has made it possible to pursue her dream. He has seen her through three years to getting her business off the ground, in addition to adding touches that allow her to offer more diversified products to potential clients – including installing lights near her round pen & tack shed which allow her to offer a Moonlight Ride.
Additional adventures include:
Wine Tasting Ride – beginning at a two-hour ride that culminates in a tour of one of the Lubbock area’s fine wineries & a tasting of their delightful varieties.
Fishing Pond Ride – beginning at a one & a half-hour ride that finds participants stopping at a covered dock & picnic area.
Bunny Trail Ride – a ride highlighting the South Plains’ beautiful flora & fauna.
Birthday Pony Rides – Malinda brings a child-friendly mount to the party location, ensuring a unique experience for that special birthday boy or girl.
Summer Horse Camp – a four-hour morning session, Monday through Friday, that allows students to learn more than just riding. They’ll get hands-on experience in grooming, working in the round pen, bareback techniques, etc. “I want students to come away with self-awareness, respect & a sense of calm around horses,” Malinda added. She also encourages parents to stay & watch as their children discover the love of horses.
Each ride begins with a mandatory orientation, & anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Helmets are available upon request.
Woodrow House guests can experience this wonderful adventure by booking through us. Our specific packages begin with the one hour ride for $35 per person. Additional packages include:
Trail Ride & Swimming – $45 a person (three hours).
Trail Ride & Picnic – $55 a person. A treat-filled picnic basket will be packed by Woodrow House staff & it will be waiting for riders when they reach the pond (three hours).
Trail Ride & Wine Tasting – $90 per person, plus $20 for Wine Concierge. This ride begins at sunset & is suited for seasoned riders, as they must have experience on a horse (five hours). The ride must be booked at least a week in advance.
Please keep in mind that all packages are subject to availability & weather permitting (recent area rains have added some water crossings to the terrain). We also are happy to take guests to the ride destination & bring them back to Woodrow House for an additional fee of $15 each way (this is highly recommended for the wine tasting).
Our little group opted for the Moonlight Ride as it coincided with the Super Moon in May. I’m not going to say we were the bravest group of riders, but we were up for a challenge. Malinda took a great deal of care in matching us to the horse best suited to our level or experience (or lack thereof). She then went over the intricacies of “operating” our newest modes of transportation – using the reins, our knees & the stirrups. Safety weighs on her mind, & she wants the ride to be a positive experience. “The relationship between a rider & a horse is a very spiritual interaction.”
Our hour-long adventure offered enough variety to keep things interesting, but we never felt at risk or out of control. Our equine partners included:
Titan – a 14-year-old Thoroughbred that came off the racetrack. He is considered the “babysitter” of the group & is best suited to the least experienced rider because of his gentle nature.
Pancho – an 8-10-year-old seasoned Quarter Horse that is known for his steadiness. He was my mount & perfect to taking photographs of our outing. He has been a part of Malinda’s stable for many years & she use to affectionately refer to him as Brad Pitt because of his striking looks – a dark chestnut, with a blonde mane.
Elvis – an 8-year-old black Quarter Horse which served as our guide horse that night. His nickname is Big Sexy.
Angel – a six-year-old Paint Horse which, on his right side, sports the image of a child on its knees praying. Malinda claims he likes to lag behind, but will catch up if asked. I laughed at the friend riding Angel because I had to remind her it was, “whoa, whoa, whoa,” not “no, no, no!”
Stormie – a four-year-old Quarter Horse/Paint cross that sports two lightning bolts. This little horse is the newest to the trail, & a great match for riders with a smaller build.
Cuervo – a five-year-old Palomino that is a trained dancing horse. He is ideal for young adults learning to lope.
Mr. Zack Wobble Ears – a 33-year-old Quarter Horse formerly known as Chester. He comes to Rockn’ C via Malinda’s participation in local rescue efforts through Reilly’s Ranch – Horse Rescue & Rehab in Abernathy, Texas. The newest addition is a favorite of Malinda’s grandson, Izack Nichols, who rechristened the mount. Malinda states he is definitely a kid’s horse.
Other trail companions include two wolf hybrids, Whiskey & Jewel (just like the singer), & Gypsy, a Labrador mix & resident pheasant chaser. Aside from their congenial presence, they do serve the purpose in flushing out bunnies & birds along the trail. Malinda states no one needs to be wary of the wolf crosses, “They are so friendly & add to the rides.”
The Super Moon provided spectacular lighting for our ride, but the trail is well marked & easy to see by moonlight. One volunteer guide rode at the front of our group, while another brought up the rear & kept stragglers on track. They were knowledgeable & were more than happy to provide insight on our ride.
I wish I had a recording of our conversation as we drove back the Woodrow House – we were all jabbering 90 miles an hour & felt ready to become the next female John Wayne. We were a tad dusty & could tell we were going to be a little sore, but it was so worth it! We definitely hit the hot tub when we got back to the B&B that night. I wish Malinda had come back with us, as she was now one of the “Girls.”
Malinda is the only full-time employee for Rockn’ C Trail Rides, but she does depend on several volunteers who help out in return for riding lessons. She has had to have a little extra help due to a recently broken left ankle. “I’ve had more dirt baths than a chicken,” she quipped – leaving the impression that a bone & a few tendons aren’t going to get her down. “I’m very lucky to be a part of something so powerful!”
Rockin’ C Trail Rides
806-746-6083 – home
806-239-2474 – cell
Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast
David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
(At corner of Boston Avenue across from Texas Tech University)
Lubbock, Texas 79410
Toll Free: 800-687-5236