Gulfside Trail Rides in Santa Rosa Beach offers fun for entire family
Located just a stone’s throw from the beach, you will discover an equestrian experience off the beaten path. Long and winding trails to meander are just a snippet of the goings-on offered at Gulfside Trail Rides in Santa Rosa Beach.
Trail rides within their 20-acre spread, and throughout the Point Washington State Forest are offered, as well as Western and English lessons available for ages 8 and up. Programs for special needs individuals are also available.
Locals Michele and Kellie Hyde, have partnered with Tom and Karen Arnett, and are offering new management to the facility. Kellie brings years of experience to Gulfside. As a former owner of a 100-acre horse ranch in Oklahoma, Kellie raised, showed, and bred quarter horses. Together they have teamed up with big plans for events, lessons, and family oriented fun.
Gulfside offers boarding facilities for those who wish to enjoy an equestrian vacation while camping. There are 16 full hookup RV sites available as well a boarding for your horse. Restrooms and showers are available on site.
Fun for the little ones is offered, such as pony ride parties, with a pavilion area to grill and enjoy a campfire. If fun on a larger scale is your interest, Gulfside’s Tack Room facility is available for parties and weddings. Future plans include monthly events with live music, campfires, and seasonal festivities.
Head on over to Gulfside – take a ride or just drop by to meet the horses. You can also stop by their gift shop and suit yourself up with a new pair of boots or a cowboy hat.
Hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 7 days a week. Gulfside Trail Rides is located at 613 County Hwy 393, Santa Rosa Beach. For more information, call 850-208-3144, or click here to go to their website.
The Paso Fino experience at the Seabreeze Farm
The Paso Fino is a natural-born gaited horse, and one of smoothest breeds to ride. The Paso is a stocky breed that reaches 14 hands. Cissy Barfield and her daughter Ceely have been riding Paso Finos for several years, with Cissy more than 24 years experience. At the Seabreeze farm, they offer guided trail ride learning on McClellan saddle, a cross between Western and English. “Pasos are gentle, and easy for beginners – their smooth gate is perfect for anyone from the age of 4 to 74,” Barfield explains. Cissy, Ceely, and their Pasos have earned several National Championships in Paso Western Pleasure. One of their winners Concierta, “Consy” is a two-time National Champion. The Seabreeze Farm offers 27 acres of trail riding along with instruction structured to the rider’s pace. I took a short ride on a Paso while visiting the Seabreeze Farm and felt as though I was riding on the Cadillac of horses. Such as smooth ride, I barely had to hold on to the reigns as the gentle movement left or right directed the horse with ease. Barfield can be reached at (850) 830.3146 Seabreeze Farm 4233 Bob Sikes Road DeFuniak Springs Watch video below of Cissy and Ceely on their Paso Finos.
Rocky Bayou Stables
Rocky Bayou Stables offers a Trot-N-Tots class for children ages 3-8. Other programs included are a beginners class from 8-10, birthday parties, camps, Boy/Girl Scout merit badge program, a home schooling program and private or group lessons. There is 3 arenas and 42 stables on 15 acres. Contact the stables for more information regarding instructor availability. rockybayoustables.com 767 Forest Road Niceville (850) 729-8821 ————————————————————————————-
Local horsewoman recalls trail rides on South Walton beaches
Folks that have lived in South Walton for more than eight years, will probably remember the Brand “N Iron Corral on U.S. Hwy 98 in Santa Rosa Beach. One would often spot horsewoman, Lanna Williams, along with her young riders sauntering along the beaches and trails in the area. Williams remembers when a trail ride to the beach was a refreshing treat for both the riders and the horses. “The horses loved getting in the water,” Williams recalled.
Since the 60s, Williams and her family ran the 8-acre Brand ‘N Iron Corral, offering pony rides, riding instruction, boarding and a western store. “We were the only place on U.S. Hwy 98 for miles,” Williams said. A popular place to come learn to ride, Williams noted her students enjoyed the sport so well, many continue to ride as adults. In 2002, Williams sold the property in South Walton moved the Brand ‘N Iron to its current location. It is now located on 80 acres, off of U.S. Hwy 331, just north of Rock Hill Road in DeFuniak Springs. Williams is actively involved in team penning competition. Team penning is a western equestrian sport that evolved from the common ranch work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring, or transport.
It is a fast-paced sport that involves teamwork with three riders working in harmony to cut out numbered cattle and drive them to a pen while keeping the wrong numbered cattle back. Williams competes in the Dixie Region Team Penning (DRTPA). Williams continues to offer youth lessons and boarding on her ranch, along with her llama, goat, kitty, pups, guinea pigs, bunnies and 30 horses. For more information about the Brand ‘N Iron Corral, you can contact Lanna Williams at: 850.225.1241. ————————————————————————————-
Good old horsing around at Pleasant Ridge Arena
Kids of all ages enjoy horse back riding at Pleasant Ridge Arena Pleasant Ridge Arena in DeFuniak Springs hold a neigh and bray fun show for children the third Saturday of every month. Hosted by owners Diana and Red Brannon, young children enjoyed stick races, horse back and carriage rides. The more seasoned riders compete in pole bending and barrel racing. Pleasant Ridge Arena is located at 1917 Pleasant Ridge Road in DeFuniak Springs. The facility hosts a variety of events throughout the year. To find out more, go to their website at http://www.pleasantridgearena.com. Phone: (850) 892-5398
Walton area trails
Point Washington State Forest Mcquage Bayou Horse Trail As part of the Point Washington State Forest Longleaf Greenway, the Mcquage Bayou trailhead is located in South Walton on CR 283 (Bay Drive). Click here for a complete Fla. Equestrian Trail Guide
Sunshine Riding Trails offers rides in the Econfina Wildlife Management Area
Interested in taking a guided horse trail ride through Northwest Florida’s beautiful Econfina Wildlife Management Area? Head on over to the Sunshine Riding Trails, the great folks there will saddle you up for a day of enjoyable riding. Owned by Kathy and David Rich, Sunshine Riding Trails offers Tennessee Walkers and Paso Finos for most every age and skill level. They offer 1 2, 3, or 4-hour rides along the area’s beautiful equestrian trails. A day of sightseeing is in store as you meander through long leaf pine restoration areas, ponds, small creeks, and moss covered forests.
Riders will receive a bit of training before the ride to ensure you will be comfortable handling your horse. Be prepared to spoil your ride, as a pouch of carrots will be supplied keep your steed happy. Learn more at: http://sunshineridingtrails.com Hours: Mon–Sat Trail Ride rates: 1 hour: $35.00 2 hour: $50.00 3 hour: $75.00 4 hour: $100.00 (includes lunch) Overnight camping trips: $175.00 per person Rates are per person adult or child Call for reservations at: Toll Free: (888) 335-8530 or (850) 773-1900 2273 Rolling Pines Road Chipley, FL 32428-3658 ————————————————————————————-
A look into the equestrian experience in the Walton County area
Equine therapy working wonders at Grace Rides
Sherry Hall is on a mission to help special people with unique challenges. As director of Grace Rides, an equine-assisted therapy facility in Niceville, she makes that happen in a big way, five days a week. Hall is founder of Grace Rides, a non-profit faith based organization formed in 2009. The facility provides safe and effective equine therapy and horsemanship training for students of all ages with emotional, physical, cognitive and developmental challenges. “Riding opens up a new world of experiences for people of all ages. It is a great vehicle for encouraging otherwise boring things like exercise and rehab work because we all have such a great time together around the horses. Our equine volunteers are the unique facilitators of this therapy, and our volunteers help each person feel special, important and valued,” director Sherry Hall said. The path to Grace Rides was a natural one for Hall who grew up on a farm in Marianna. Her mother was a special education teacher, and Hall earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and clinical psychology. Click here to continue