A look into the equestrian experience in the Walton area
Learning to ride
It is easy to notice that local equestrian Allison Richards loves horses. She speaks the language of horsemanship with confidence as I watched her guide two young riders during a recent lesson.
With the years of knowledge under her belt, it is easy to understand why. Riding since she was 10, Richards started riding in a pony club. She quickly progressed, and began teaching the sport at age 14. Her diverse background has included the equestrian program at Sweet Briar College outside of Lynchberg, Va., and fox hunting in Cincinnati and Virginia.
Richards works with students on a contract basis. Along with riding skills, Richards teaches good horsemanship, which includes stable management – grooming, basic veterinary horse care, stall cleaning and proper nutrition.
Isabelle Meadows and Savannah Burden, both 10, have each been riding horses for more than five years, and are currently two students training hunt seat style with Richards in Santa Rosa Beach.
Currently, Richards is working on USHA Training Program Certification, which establishes and promotes standards, good horsemanship and credibility to the horse training environment.
Allison Richards is teaching at Gulfside Trail Rides at 613 CR. 393 in Santa Rosa Beachcan be reached at 561.635.9696 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch video below of Isabelle and Savannah during one of their lessons with Richards. The girls are riding Buddy, affectionately nicknamed “Air Bud.”
Allison Richards teaches hunt seat to locals Isabelle Meadows and Savannah Burden.
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
4233 Bob Sikes Road
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.
767 Forest Road
Gulfside Trail Rides
Gulfside Trail Rides at 613 CR. 393 in Santa Rosa Beach offers trail rides in the Point Washington State Forest. One or two hour guided trail rides for up to 6 riders are offered Monday through Saturday. They also offer birthday pony parties.
For more information, call 850-208-3114 or visit their website at gulfsidetrailrides.com