I've been putting off writing this review because I don't like to speak negatively of anyone and I'm a very forgiving person, but after reading all of the positive reviews I decided to put in my own experience to keep things in perspective...
My girlfriend and I visited for my birthday almost a year ago and I was very excited because I'm a big horse fan and love to ride whenever I get a chance. I'm a horse guy and will own my own one day. I had called the day before and everything seemed good...she was very helpful over the phone, answered all my questions, and assured me her horses were well behaved. I asked if she had an arabian because I wanted to try one and she was happy to talk about it.
Everything seemed good and we were both very excited....then we showed up and everything went down hill, very down hill. We showed up about 25 minutes early and that seemed to make Suzanne very upset. This was my first time driving here and it was a weekday morning so I planned to leave a little early in case there was any traffic coming from Tampa. Most places would complain about being late, but she was very rude because we were early, even after I explained the situation and told her we were happy just staying next to our car and enjoying the atmosphere until everything was ready. My gf and I both tried to keep a positive attitude despite the overwhelming negativity coming from Suzanne.
Next we asked to use the bathroom and when we came back Suzanne accused us of going into the rest of the rental house to check it out because we took longer than usual. We didn't. I assured her we didn't. I'm sorry that nature called, but I would have rather have gone to the restroom before the ride then during. She accused US of being nosy and rude even after I CALMLY explained that I needed to use the restroom and that I was "sorry" if I had done anything wrong. She also accused us of being rude because, GET THIS, we were "examining" the property. All we did was check out the garden (I was into gardening and bonzai at the time) which was right next to the car and walk around the property a little (not very far from the car, about 20 yards!!!). I would think that someone who has a beautiful rental property such as this one wouldn't mind potential customers admiring the place. I would think that is how you get people to want to stay there. I've never heard of vacation property owners NOT wanting you to check a place out.
Anyways, when we finally were allowed in the stable Suzanne was very rude and condescending the entire time. We almost decided to leave but we were not about to let her steal our Joy, and I really wanted to ride. She threatened me that if I damaged any of her horses that she would make me pay. She also said that if we were going to continue to be rude that we should just leave. WE had not been rude to her the whole time and every time she attacked us we responded positively and tried to assure her that this was just a big misunderstanding and we were just excited to be there.
So we finally get to the trail and as soon as I mount my horse she starts with her criticizing condescending remarks...I'll admit, i did mount the horse kind of awkwardly, uncharacteristic of me because I can mount fairly well for a novice, but it didn't deserve the criticism...the truth is I was very nervous and tense because I didn't want to do anything else to upset Suzanne...not that I think we did anything wrong in the first place, but I didn't want to make the situation worse.
The trails were beautiful, but I really wanted to go to a different trail. I didn't ask because, again, I was nervous and tense and didn't want to "stir the water". The horses were very nice, responsive, and beautiful. I rode Gemstar who acted exactly as I expected an Arabian would...willing to go whereever however and whenever, and do it fast if I wanted. Briscoe was good for my gf because she'd only been on a horse once before. He tested her a little, but not too much. Good learning horse. Suzanne seemed more calm on the trails and we actually were able to enjoy it a little. She even let me gallop which is a non negotiable event when i'm on horseback ;)
When we got back to the stable Suzanne was not as bad as during the morning, but there was still an air of negativity towards us despite us being very positive and patient the whole time. She treated my gf rudely because she was a bit cautious about feeding her horse a carrot. She did feed the horse but I guess Suzanne didn't realize that someone who has never been around a 1200lb animal like this is going to be careful about putting their fingers near the mouth. She also complained that she couldn't waste any time because she had a group coming in the afternoon!! When I heard that I thought to myself "then what was the big deal about us showing up a little early?"
I was very excited about this trip and the fact that it was my birthday made the experience that much worse. We are both poor college kids, taking a day off of school right before exams, and driving farther and paying more than we would have to at other stables in the area to try a new place. We definitely could have been treated much better!!
The only reason i'm not giving a terrible rating is because the horses and trails are very good.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A farm house vacation rental in the Withlacoochee State Forest with horseback trail riding, swimming pool and hot tub. ... more less