Photo provided
Noblesville’s John Stewart, owner of K-Trails Equestrian Adventures, which offers trail-riding in its third year at Strawtown Koteewi Park, has created K-Trails Global Adventures, which offer horseback-riding experiences around the world. Here, he travels by horseback in Patagonia, South America, one of the trips he will offer.
Photo provided Noblesville’s John Stewart, owner of K-Trails Equestrian Adventures, which offers trail-riding in its third year at Strawtown Koteewi Park, has created K-Trails Global Adventures, which offer horseback-riding experiences around the world. Here, he travels by horseback in Patagonia, South America, one of the trips he will offer.

If you like trail riding, it’s time to saddle up and head for Strawtown Koteewi Park. 

Or if you’re ready for a bigger adventure, how about an equestrian holiday around the globe?

Two years ago, Noblesville’s John Stewart saddled up to offer a new trail-riding experience at the 800-acre Hamilton County park in Noblesville. In its third year, K-Trails Equestrian Adventures re-opens for the season on Thursday with 16 horses awaiting trail riders.

This year, Stewart, who has traveled to more than 40 countries in his lifetime, founded K-Trails Global Adventures, which offers horseback-riding experiences around the world. 

“Based on global travel and experience with riding holidays, we are planning trips to some incredible places,” said Stewart, the owner and operator of both K-Trails entities. “From Patagonia to Mongolia, these are the types of experiences many in Hamilton County would love.”

Each of the trips are focused on cultural experiences where Stewart knows the local host or guide.

His son, Andrew Stewart, K-Trails operations manager and the loyal K-Trails employees and volunteers will focus on the barn operation and everything at Strawtown Koteewi Park while John Stewart builds out the global side of the business.

He said, “It’s a natural extension, as we can help get people familiar and prepared on a horse prior to the riding holiday.”

The Wayne-Fall Lions Club member and Headless Horseman rider of 12 years at Conner Prairie -- whose day job is an executive with Boy Scouts of America -- said K-Trails Equestrian Adventures has been successful in its two years of operation.

He expects the third season, in 2019, to be even better, with more signage on the public roadways and a 55-acre Strawtown Resort with cabins, campsites, an event center and a 20-acre lake currently under construction across the street.

He is comfortable leaving his son and others in charge of the barn and the trail riding experience so he can take give time and attention to his new K-Trails Global Adventures.

And while these trips will definitely be for the adventurists, travelers won’t be roughing it. 

There’s no primitive camping plans on the schedules.

It’s more of an “upscale glamping experience,” said Stewart, who will have chefs preparing food and porters getting your overnight accommodations ready. 

While travelers might be in the saddle for eight days in India, their overnight accommodations will be in a palace.

Every trip will travelers unique experiences.

Guests on his Mongolian trip will be on horseback for nine days, traveling and hunting with a Nomadic tribe during the Golden Eagle Festival.
Travelers on the Iceland trip will be there during the country’s annual Sheep Round Up.

Guests on the New Zealand trip will spend the first two days in a horsemanship clinic.

He’s hoping to offer a trip to North Dakota to see how large ranches brand their cattle. Guests would even learn roping skills like working cowboys, who rope cattle from their horses, “I want them to have that experience of feeling what a cow’s like on the end of the rope,” he said.

Stewart has traveled all over the world since he was a kid, logging more than five million airline miles to date. 

His parents would rather take a family vacation across the globe than buy a new car or new clothes. His brother’s first job right out of college was in Romania, where the family visited on one of their vacations.

While some of Stewart’s travels have been as a Scout, a Scout volunteer and a Scout executive (Scouting is found in 170 different countries and he’s been to 11 of the countries for his job), and in college, he did mission work in the Philippines, he has also worked in various global marketing careers.
“I’ve always been about culture and how we respond to the environment and care for the environment… even on these tours, it’s an immersion in nature….”

He’s not a travel agent and doesn’t pretend to be one. If someone wants to visit a guest ranch, he’ll refer them.

What he’s doing is curating horse experiences where he knows the tour guides, where he knows the experiences, and where he can personally say “here’s what your experience is going to be like.”

He understands the difference between camping in a tent and staying in a Ritz Carlton hotel, and how to scale the accommodations based on the guests.

“I know global travel,” John Stewart said. “I know horses.”

He said, “The upscale experience is what I want to focus on.”

Stewart said he not only offers a cultural equestrian experience, but the “ultimate adventure.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com