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Indian Spirit Springs: Just add horses

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Texas, horses, and wide open spaces—they go together. Events at Indian Spirit Springs combine all three. This article isn’t about a specific scheduled event, but about a little-known spell-binding place to make memories.

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Horse owners around the Brazos Valley often look for places to ride that provide a change of scenery and plenty of space. Unlike some areas, the Brazos Valley has no immediate public lands set up for horses or trailriding. At Indian Spirit Springs equine owners can bring their own horses and ride the trails. Folks who don’t own horses can still enjoy the setting by coming for meetings or picnics, taking time for fishing, or making a day trip to simply enjoy almost 800 acres of wide open spaces.

“We’ve got several events scheduled including a wedding, birthday party, and group of horse-and-wagon association members,” says Jackie Brown, who owns Indian Spirit Springs with her brother Antone Dobrovolny and others of the Dobrovolny family. “We welcome folks to hold events here now, and we are building facilities to host a wider range of activities very soon.”

Indian Spirit Springs, located at A&F Farms near Bryan, boasts plenty of local history. Two stately cedars carry stories from the days of the land’s Native American period, and many of the live oaks are grown from acorns collected from oak trees on the Texas A&M University campus in 1925. Over the years, the farm has housed a dairy, pecan orchard, buffalo herd, freshwater aquaculture, and homesteads. And, of course, there’s the spring—and the spirit—that gives the place its name. According to legend, the spring once served as the water source for farmers, ranchers, and residents near Smetana, Texas.

Today horseback riders visit the farm for a variety of pastimes from strolling along to endurance riding practice. Unless you’re a seasoned trailrider, you might want to take along a pocket GPS. Some trails are marked, while others beckon adventurers to strike out on their own. Lake Mary, Dobrovolny Lake, and several smaller ponds provide places to kick back and enjoy the scenery or take part in a little catch-and-release fishing.

Whether you bring a horse for riding or a group for celebrating, the spirit of Indian Spirit Springs provides a unique event experience.

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