Horseback rides in paradise

January 1, 2011

Locals and horses enjoy the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy Lanna Williams
Locals and horses enjoy the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy Lanna Williams

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.

Locals Heather Marse and Jimm Ferguson in front of the Brand ‘N Iron Western Store. Circa 1968
Locals Heather Marse and Jimmy Ferguson in front of the Brand ‘N Iron Western Store. Circa 1968

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).

Lanna Williams in team penning competition.
Lanna Williams in team penning competition.

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.

    1. could you please give me information about horseback riding on the beach of gulf of Mexico?

    1. Hi, I was wondering if ya’ll folks have any scheduled group riding and if ya’ll did can my father and I join the group riding? We have our own horses that we would use if it is possible that we can ride in the group thanks very much…


    1. Hi Ms. Lanna, Remember us from long time ago. My little girl loved to ride the horses with your little black and white dog. Visiting with you has always been the highlight of our trip. We were the ones with the green scarf which meant healing. We have looked for you ever since and unable to quite locate exactly where you are. Love to hear from you. Karen & Hannah

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