Riding trails and stables dot the area for riders and wannabees

By Susie C. Spear
Staff Writer
Posted 7/5/07

On horseback, you can find perspective.

A child can discover the grandeur of a noble animal’s kindness and see nature up close. An adult can relax and forget the rigors of the work world and carpool.

And in Baldwin County, horses and …

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Riding trails and stables dot the area for riders and wannabees


On horseback, you can find perspective.

A child can discover the grandeur of a noble animal’s kindness and see nature up close. An adult can relax and forget the rigors of the work world and carpool.

And in Baldwin County, horses and well-cut trails abound for the casual and hobby rider.

From hour-long jaunts and trail rides that last a few hours, to day-long hoofers, the options are varied for the equestrian set. And the county’s well-stocked stables mean you don’t have to own a horse to ride one every now and then. Boarding, oats and grooming are taken care of. So take the reigns and hold on!

At popular Lakewood Stable, some 42 four-legged friends offer rides year-round to stable guests, as well as serve as leaders for various Mobile and Baldwin County Mardi Gras crewes during the Carnival parade season.

Horseback riding builds children’s self esteem and delights most any age, said riding veteran Sharon Adams, who with her husband, Bill, and daughter, Kim Adams, owns Lakewood.

Riding since the age of 10, Adams says the “relationship girls especially develop with the horses” is great for their confidence.

Formerly located in Point Clear and Silverhill before moving two years ago to Summerdale, the stable charges $20 per hour per person. Children age 8 and up may ride alone, while 6- and 7-year-olds may ride with an adult for $30 an hour.

For youngsters under 6, parents may lead their rides for $15 an hour. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the stable closes daily from noon-1 p.m. for lunch.

Quarter horses, walking horses, stock, Appaloosa and “paint” horses make up the residents of the barn at Lakewood where day-long rides are available for $75 per person. The stable likes to plan such treks a week or more in advance and prefers to take day riders to historic Blakeley Forest and the park there for good scenery. Riders will find day journeys a fine opportunity for great picnicking and can plan menus ahead of time.

Adams said she is also proud to host parties at the stable for those who wish to rent space and horses. Lakewood also provides horses off-site for special events, as well as services the Girl Scouts of the Deep South Council and Camp Rap-A-Hope for children with cancer.

Over in north Foley, Jonathan Riebe, 13, is getting the hang of life in the saddle as a ride guide for Seahorse Stables on Alabama Highway 59.

With about a dozen horses — Belgians, quarter horses and Tennessee Walkers — owner Les Amos sees that customers enjoy a trail that spans 50 acres.

Known for their gentle nature, most of the horses are quite content to walk and are an easy ride for those getting their first leg up.

After children ride the trail, “they talk about the enjoyment and they brag about riding. They are real proud,” said Riebe, who began riding earlier this summer.

Indeed, “Slowpoke,” a 37-year-old horse at Seahorse, is a favorite of children because he is just that, slow as cold syrup.

“Children just love riding because they are out in the open, and they see the horses and nature,” Riebe said.

Rides run from $20 for 30 minutes for adults to $35 per half-hour for parent and child sharing a saddle. Adults pay $35 per hour and child/adult pair riders trot for $55 an hour. Open seven days a week, Seahorse Stables is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Out Greeno Road you'll find some 40 gentle horses ready to saddle up for trail rides at Oak Hollow Farm Inc. in Fairhope.

It’s a great place for young people to hone their riding skills or for family outings.

And it’s clear that horseback rides imbue a sense of strength and freedom in everyone.

“It’s just the joy of getting on the horse. It just makes you feel like you’re free,” said Sydney Dillehay, 10, who visits her grandparents, Ronney and Marilyn Daigre of Fairhope, each summer and enjoyed her first time up riding English-style in Baldwin County several years back.


To find out more about horseback riding and stables in Baldwin County, including party rentals and field trip outings, call these fine Baldwin locations.

Blue Sky Ranch, Seminole: (251) 946-2038.

Chisolm Acres Arena & Stable, Elberta: (251) 986-3032.

Lakewood Stables, Summerdale: (251) 945-6711.

Sea Horse Stables, North Foley: (251) 971-7433.

Green Branch Farms LLC, Fairhope: (251) 928-4994.

Lake Forest Stables, Daphne: (251) 626-6800.

Oak Hollow Farm (251) 928-4840.

Rawhide Boarding Stables, Fairhope: (251) 928-7897.

Tips for Safe Horseback Riding

• The safest way to learn to ride is with an experienced coach on a quiet school horse. An instructor can teach you safe riding skills like stopping and turning, and how to cue for transitions between gaits.

• Ride a suitable horse for your riding skill level.

• Wear an ASTM approved riding helmet. Numerous agencies and safety committees cite that the majority of rider fatalities are due to head injuries.

• Wear sturdy boots with minimal tread and a 1-inch (2.5 cm) heel. Alternatively use safety stirrups or cages. If you fall, you could be dragged if your foot slips through a stirrup.

• Always ride in complete control.

• As with cars or bikes, the faster you go the faster things can go wrong.

• Leave a map of your route when riding out on trail and the approximate time you will return. That way the folks back home will know when to start worrying and where to look if you are overdue.

• Always ride out with a buddy. As an extra precaution carry a cell phone or two-way radio.

• In a group ride the speed of the least experienced rider.

These are very basic rules. For more safety tips for different situations you may encounter, visit http://horses.about.com/od/learntoride/qt/arenasafety.htm

Source: Katherine Blockdorf, noted national expert on equestrian safety.