Anyone who shares a passion for horses and wants to help ensure trails
stay open is welcome to join Capitol Riders at any time. Go to our
Join Us page for more information on when and where
we meet along with contact information. We hope to see you
at our next meeting.
Capitol Riders was created on February 1st, 1956 and was patterned after the Walla Walla Wagon Wheelers, a dual-type club formed in 1936. The Wagon Wheelers were a Sheriff’s Posse of men who were an Auxiliary to the Sheriff’s Department along with a club of their families. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Posse had been formed in 1951 and Capitol Riders gave the families of the sheriff's posse the opportunity to join husbands and fathers on horseback.
The group originally leased property near the Olympia airport and had an outdoor arena that the posse and club members could use. When the airport and the freeway came through, they lost their lease and moved the riding and meetings to a covered arena on Littlerock Road. It was known as Green Acres.
The club met and the posse drilled and met at Green Acres for about 10 years into the 1960’s. Then the group moved to the lodge of the Trails End camp near “The Trails” arena (closed as of June 2010 due to the economy) east of the airport. The group met in the lodge through the 1970’s until Trails End sold the camp. The group then moved into a house behind Trails End for several years.
The posse was looking for property about this time, and it was no longer a family group. They wished to have their own club separate from Capitol Riders, and in the late 70’s or early 80’s the two groups went their separate ways.
Capitol Riders met at Trails End stables in the upstairs room which eventually became the restaurant. When Trails End built the restaurant and bar, the group moved to members homes for a couple of years. They also met in a variety of places until settling into a place on College Street in Lacey.
The club was always connected with a state organization. At the beginning Capitol Riders was a part of Washington State Horsemen. When Ken Wilcox set up Back Country Horsemen, there were five Capitol Rider’s families present. Capitol Riders helped to develop the state organization from the beginning and to which we all now belong.
Back Country Horsemen was an individual type organization for the first few years and members could choose to join or not. When Back Country Horsemen developed the chapter system, Capitol Riders reformed into the chapter we now have and became a chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Washington in 1988.
The group has always been active in the Southwest Washington Horse scene, staging and helping with many different events and projects. Some notable events were a Pony Express Ride in 1958, a Horse Show and Rodeo in 1959, Playdays in 1960 and 1961 at their new lighted Arena and quarter mile track, a Campout at Silver Springs Ranch in 1963 and the Great Train Robbery on Mima Prairie in 1966.
In 1972, Capitol Riders members yearly project was the activation of the Thurston County Noxious Weed Board. They did this by collecting 700 signatures on a petition presented to the Thurston County Commissioners. The Noxious Weed Board was established in 1973.
In 1975 Jim Moe from Washington State Department of Natural Resources told the Capitol Riders that if they did not make more use of the Capitol Forest they were in danger of losing the facilities to other more interested groups. The chapter heeded the call and are now staunch advocates for the use and care of the trails and campgrounds in Capitol Forest, where we contribute many volunteer hours each year.
The chapter currently meets at the Littlerock fire hall, 10828
Littlerock Road SW, Olympia, WA 98512
We are a very active chapter that participates in leadership training,
legislative activities, fundraising and meeting with Public Land
Managers and other user groups. We are doing volunteer work with
the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the US Forest
Service and the Olympic National Park in maintaining the trails,
campgrounds and packing in supplies and materials for them.
Social activities include day rides, campouts, educational clinics, potlucks
“Keeping Trails Open And Leaving Them Better For Our
Having Been There”
The purpose of Back Country Horsemen of Washington is to work toward the
perpetuation of the legal and moral claim by the American people
to use horses and mules for recreation on public lands. See the Back Country
Horsemen of Washington web site for general information.