Van Alstyne Area Equestrian Information

Van Alstyne Population Sign - Realtor Keith Laursen Riding The Back RoadsMany areas in and close to Van Alstyne are suitable for equestrian homes and there are a variety of activities that you and your horse can participate in close by. It’s just one more reason why Van Alstyne is such a great place to live. You can ride safely down the back roads but you should always be aware that some people don’t have a clue about spooking horses so ride accordingly!  If that isn’t your cup of tea, there are many local horse organizations and places to ride nearby.  Let me help you find a home for you and your horse, then let’s ride!

Trail Riding Near Van Alstyne

We are lucky to have some great lakes within an hours drive of Van Alstyne.  Most of them have excellent equestrian trails to go along with hiking, fishing, boating, camping and just all around good fun.  These are some of our favorite places to ride.


Lake Texoma – Platter Flats Recreation Area

Platter Flats Trail Riding - Photo Keith Laursen - Van Alstyne RealtorThe Platter Flats recreation area of Lake Texoma is only about 40 minutes from Van Alstyne and offersPlater Flats Trail Ride - Photo Van Alstyne Realtor Keith Laursen some of the best trail riding in the area. There are miles of trails with numerous switchbacks, creek crossings, creek banks to ride up/down, lake views and wildlife.

Don’t be surprised to see a bald eagle, deer or other critters!  There are plenty of places to find a good log to sit on for lunch and due to the tree cover it’s a great place to go in the heat of the summer.  Saddle up with the Saddlebags or ride with your own group. Shoes will not be needed.


Lake Ray RobertsIsle Of Dubois

Lake Ray Roberts Tunnel - Photo Van Alstyne Realtor Keith LaursenLake Ray Roberts has good equestrian trails that range from rocky to open to wet.  Depending upon where you start your adventure you may end up slogging through wet areas, riding through a tunnel, picking your way through rocks or ending up at Lantana.

Don’t be surprised if you see deer or other wildlife here and watch out for strange horse monsters. We had two horses at a gallop lock up when a guy with a canoe over his head walked across our trail.  Imagine what that looked like to the horses –  an upside down canoe with legs!  Park Contact 940-686-2148

A group of riders has formed that is adopting the trails and sponsoring rides.  For more information check their Facebook page at The Lake Ray Roberts Equestrian Association or their webpage at

Lake Lavon – Trinity Trail

Trinity Trail - Van Alstyne Realtor Keith Laursen At Lake Lavon Giant Sycamore Tree

Lake Lavon Trail RideThe Lake Lavon Trinity Trail is an excellent 25+ mile trail system about 45 minutes from Van Alstyne. It is one of the best maintained trail systems around due to the efforts of the Trinity Trail Preservation Association. More Info on the TTPA below.

When you are out riding be sure you stop for your lunch or a break by the giant Sycamore tree.  It’s a nice shady spot near a creek that is a photo opportunity.  You can just imagine the stories this tree could tell in its 100+ years in this location.  You won’t need shoes on the trail as it isn’t rocky and you will meet some great new friends.

Cado Grasslands – Bonham,TX

Caddo Grasslands - Photo Keith Laursen - www.VanAlstyneHomes.comThis area is near Bonham which is east of Van Alstyne.  The trails are rugged and much more primitive than the area lake trails & there are very limited facilities. If you are just looking for a change or you are bored with your normal riding areas this can be a welcome change.  It’s just one more choice which is a nice problem to have! For more information on the Cado and LBJ National Grasslands  west of Van Alstyne in Decatur, see the USDA website.


Not too far north of Van Alstyne is the Texas and Oklahoma state line. While we like to visit Lake Texoma and Platter Flats, there are many great places to ride in Oklahoma if you want to do a road trip or camp for a few days. Rather that duplicate already good information, check out Oklahoma Horse Online.


Parades, – Denison, Van Alstyne, Weston, Anna, Farmersville

Weston 4th of July Parade Van Alstyne 4th of July ParadeMost of the towns in the area have old-time community parades.  Normally all that is required is for you to show up with your horse or they may want you to pre-register and of course have a valid Coggins certificate.  The two best times  for these parades are Christmas and the 4th of July. Besides the fun of riding, you get to decorate your horse and dream up a proper costume appropriate for the event. The parades can range from a couple of hundred people to the Denison Christmas parade that has had over 7000 people attending. Be aware that people line the streets so you need to control your horse. If you participate and finish this parade spook free, your horse is a champion!

Horseback riders in 2014 Van Alstyne Christmas Parade

2014 Van Alstyne Christmas – Courtesy TX. Red Photography Trinity Trail Preservation Association (TTPA) riders

There are great Christmas parades in Van Alstyne, Anna, Farmersville and over 7000 people have attended the Denison parade.  These two shots are of the 2014 Van Alstyne Christmas parade are courtesy of Texas Red Photography of Van Alstyne with riders from the Trinity Trail Preservation Association and Kings Trail Cowboy Church.

Van Alstyne Christmas Parade

Photo –
Riders from Kings Trail Cowboy Church .


Carolyn Barcus on horseback as Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus – AKA Carolyn Barcus – Denison,TX 2011

Carolyn Barcus riding in the Denison Christmas Parade. Thousands of people  spilled into the streets for this one!   The turn out for the Denison parades are amazing.

Realtor Keith Laursen on horseback in Weston.TX

Keith Laursen – Weston,TX 4th of July

Keith Laursen getting ready to start the Weston,TX 4th of July parade.  It’s small town Texas living at its finest and one of the many reasons to live here and enjoy horses!

McKinney Square – Carriage Rides

Happy Trails Carriage  Ride - McKinney,TX Just 18 miles south of Van Alstyne you will find the McKinney town square where you can take a nice carriage ride by the historic homes and learn the background of the area from equestrian, farrier & carriage driver extraordinaire Shannon Cole. Shannon not only rides, shoes and does the McKinney carriage tours, she is available for hire for weddings and other events.

Rather than tell you all the neat things she can do, go take a carriage ride and be sure to read the reviews  of the Happy Trails Carriage Service.


Riding Clubs/Organizations/Activities


Saddlebags North

The Saddlebags are a group of primarily women riders who ride somewhere on a weekly basis. There are no dues and it has been said that the only rules are there are no rules. The riders can be from 8 to 80 years old and they know what they are doing. If you want to hang back there will be a few riders that like a slower pace but if you like to move out and do a hard days ride you will find plenty of takers.  Every now and then you will see a male rider affectionately known as a Saddlebum. The cool thing is while they are serious riders, they don’t take themselves seriously. Everyone is welcome and everyone just gets along.  No one will get upset if you want to pony a horse, bring your dog or your Saddlebum husband.  Probably the best way to connect with them is via their Facebook page.

Trinity Trails Preservation Association TTPA

It will be hard to find a better organization that the Trinity Trails Preservation Association or TTPA.  They are responsible for adopting, maintaining and promoting the 25+ miles of Trinity Trail on Lake Lavon. This is another area that has trails of all kinds taking you through woods, creek beds, open areas and lake front.  TTPA puts on many events during the year including sponsoring ACTHA competitive trail events.  To keep up with what is going on you can visit their blog or TTPA Facebook page.

Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Association – TETRA

 TETRA has been supporting trail riding since 1997 and is involved in many projects benefiting trail riding and educating the public as well as riders to support trail etiquette, safe trails and family riding activities. They work with the Parks and Wildlife and other organizations to further that goal.  It is a large organization that has brought many benefits to trail riders throughout our area.

Horseman’s Association of Texoma – HAT

The Horseman’s Association of Texoma is an organization of horse enthusiasts located in the Lake Texoma area of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. They put on many shows and equine events.  Check out their link and newsletter.

Friends Of Big Mineral Equestrian Trails

Big Mineral is another riding area on Lake Texoma near Gordonville, TX..  It is much more primitive and rugged than most other area lake trails.  Recently a group has been formed to improve the maintenance, start marking the trails & promoting its use. Learn more or join up with the Friends Of Big Mineral Equestrian Trails  through their Facebook Group.

Ft Worth Stockyards & Will Rodgers Coliseum

Both of these venues will take you back to the old west.  There is always something going on in the Stockyards where you visit Billy Bob’s or catch national horse shows, auctions and events at the Will Rodgers Coliseum.  While not in the immediate vicinity they are only about an hour and 20 minutes from Van Alstyne so it’s not like it’s a huge road trip.

 Lone Star Park

About an hour away you can catch some thoroughbred horse racing at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie.  This is the also the site of many other events so check their schedule for concerts and other entertainment.


Cowboy Churches – Kings Trail

You’ll find several cowboy churches in the area.  If you have never been to one you might be surprised at how popular they are.  No one worries about what they wear or what background they come from. You may hear a little Johnny Cash with your sermon and don’t be surprised to see someone baptised in a nearby stock pond.  Normally they will have a riding arena and have numerous horse related and religious events.  Check out The Kings Trail Cowboy Church that is only about 8 miles east of downtown Van Alstyne.


There are numerous horse trainers in the general area and several boarding facilities. The best way to find these is to visit one of the local feed or tack stores. Check out these nearby: JC Stables Lil Bits Horse Camp Heavenly Horse – Twin Creek Ranch

Horse Humor

Every now and then you have to get away from the seriousness of dealing with horses.  They have their unique personalities and quirks, just like some humans I know!  I encourage you to visit the Facebook page of Fergus The Horse.  If you have ever been around horses you will recognize Fergus as one of your own.  Enjoy !

Miscellaneous Trail Riding Information 

Great reviews of trails, condition and location can be found at the Horse Trail Directory.

Get Started Today ——– Call Keith Laursen 469.233.1234

Information provided as a public service – Viewer should independently verify accuracy of all information

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