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“Nice pony ride for kids, but beware of rude owners!”
Review of Dead Broke Farm

Dead Broke Farm
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Dead Broke Farm has a 110 acres of wood trails and more than 75 horses for all experience levels.
Reviewed January 13, 2013

This review is mixed because my 5-year-old nieces did have a good time on their half-hour pony ride, and the guides (a part-time employee and a 13-year old volunteer) were very friendly. However, the customer service provided by the owner was terrible. I purchased a Groupon for the two pony rides and made an appointment for the rides in mid-December. The woman I talked to on the phone to arrange the appointment was unfriendly and seemed put out, but I figured it was just "country" straight-forwardness.

When we arrived for the pony ride, no one greeted us, and there were few signs or instructions posted. We had to ask one of the volunteer workers, who was preparing the horses, how to proceed. She pointed to the owner, who was sitting at a picnic table, talking on the phone. The woman on the phone did not even acknowledge our existence. We just stood there feeling ignored, until eventually an older woman came out of a make-shift office, gave us some paperwork to sign, and told us to pick out riding helmets for the girls from of an old shed. The sum total of communication we received before our ride began was about two sentences, given begrudgingly, with no smile, much less enthusiasm.

We then waited for quite a while, while the horses were groomed and saddled. We weren't in a hurry, so it was no big deal, but we were the only people there, so it seems odd that it took so long. What's worse is that the owner, who had finally finished her phone call, began yelling at the staff, including the older woman who appeared to be her mother! Awkward!

Finally, the horses were ready to go. This is the positive part! The two young men who were the guides were very friendly and patient, and the horses were very sweet and calm. We walked along the trail while the girls rode the horses through the woods. It was very pleasant. We enjoyed chatting with the guides, and they answered all of our questions. When the ride was over, we gave them a handsome tip, partly because my nieces had a good experience, partly because the only signs posted around the farm instruct you to tip the volunteers, and partly beacuse we felt bad that they were yelled at right in front of us.

As we were leaving, we told the owner that the girls enjoyed the ride. Instead of reacting positively, she told us that she would never offer Groupons again, that she only made $13 per ride with the coupon, that her farm needed to make money in order to operate, etc. This just sealed the deal! How rude to blame the customer for taking advantage of an offer that the business owner made available in the first place! We left feeling like we had done something wrong! In this economy, it is an insane business practice to alienate customers. This was a luxury, not a necessity. There are plenty of other horseback riding options in the area, including those offering savings on Groupon or Living Social! The owner should be bending over backwards to ensure repeat business. We certainly will not be back.

15  Thank LSTravelerNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 8, 2013

If you are a work camper, and like horses, wild life and wonderful people to work with and for, then you should give Carla a call. This is without a doubt the best place to work that I have had since I started work camping in 2005. I worked on the farm from March 2012 until Dec 2012.
The work begins at dawn and ends when you get done or collapse. This is never ending job and at times it is very hard. It is not for the weak or lazy. The duties I have here are, attend to the horses first and foremost insure that the horses are groomed and ready for the days ride then operate equipment that mows, weed control, road upkeep, use chain saws, trail upkeep, erosion, check fences and help maintain the same equipment.
Come on out and go for a ride with us. You will be trained to handle a
horse , then guided thru our wooded forest where you will see deer, wild turkey and other wildlife. Unfortunately, there are no bandits or wild indians to contend with.
Now I must leave my tour here and continue my travels, but I can never forget The Dead Broke Horse Farm.

4  Thank billyecole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

I volunteered a couple days at Dead Broke Farms & it was nothing noteworthy. I have been riding since I was eight years old so I'm not new to the equestrian business.
This place has nothing to brag about! I have never been treated so rudely! The first day I just wrote off the attitudes as a bad day. The next couple days I came back, nothing changed. I spoke with a young male worker there about the awful behavior & he replied, "Oh, that's just how they are." Carla, the owner, was nothing short of a hothead. Her mother, Rosie, was worse & moody & very ugly to me.
I volunteered MY time & I get treated like DIRT? No thank you.
I do not recommend this place to the younger riders. The staff are very disorganized as well & will not be helpful to people who don't know how to ride.
What I did like about the place was that there were a significant amount of horses. A hundred, to be exact. But the conditions of the pastures is heartbreaking. The mud is up to their knees!
Please reconsider before you spend your hard earned cash at this facility.

14  Thank spf1000_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2012

I have ridden many a horse, few as poorly trained as the one at Dead Broke Farm. I have never been treated as rudely, so consistently, in a pervasively negative atmosphere as at Dead Broke Farm. The horses were so poorly trained, we were indeed grateful to be only broke, but not dead, after our ride at Dead Broke Farm. With so many wonderful places to go horseback riding, don't waste a minute of your life at this one.

I was appalled at the rude staff, untrained horses, and unprofessionalism and negativity that defined Dead Broke Farm. The staff was rude throughout, from the reservations, paperwork, to the very last moment we were on the horse. They snapped and YELLED at the customers very inappropriately throughout. A cloud of negativity seemed to emanate from the owners and seep into everyone and every horse on that farm.

For an hour after our reservation was supposed to start, the staff readied the horses. They did not fit us to our horses, however, as inexperienced riders were put on wild horses and vice versa. Also, they did not fit the stirrups to all of the riders, as one new rider complained mid-ride that her feet did not reach the stirrup. She was YELLED at for this, although it was the staff's fault for misfitting her.

From the get-go, the trail guides (the owners) callously ignored our concerns that the horses were fighting with each other and not listening to simple commands. (I am an experienced rider and the horse I was on reared its head at the slightest command.) The horses were obstinate and unruly, which is a sign of either poor training, not being able to roam freely on a regular basis, mistreatment, or all of the above. (Many of the horses seemed to be accustomed to being tethered, having to stand in mud all day.)

The trail guide (owner) went far ahead of the pack and did not check on the customers, many of whom were beginners. When customers shared concerns with the trail guide (when they were finally within speaking distance and she was not talking on her CELL PHONE), the owner either completely trivialized our concern or blamed us. When the horses did not listen to our commands, the owner rudely yelled at us to control them, although most of the riders were beginners and the horses were not responsive due to their being not well trained by the owner. Also, the trail guides gave contradictory information on how to handle the horses.

The owner chose to ride as the trail leader a horse she'd only had for a week, whose temperament and social hierarchy were unknown/unestablished. The horse reared into the air several times, making the other horses and customers even more anxious.

The owners of this farm just don't seem to know the appropriate way to treat other human beings. I feel sorry for them for this, and we tried to demonstrate to them how one should treat others. Please do not subject yourself or your children to these people.

17  Thank Beth K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carla C, Owner at Dead Broke Farm, responded to this reviewResponded December 17, 2012

Beth, our horses are very well trained, but you have to be willing to listen to the guide's instructions and advice. You flat out refused to use your reins to control your horses. You said so in as many words. You would only yell "whoa" even after I reiterated that our horses don't respond to voice commands - only to leg pressure and use of the reins.

In your reservation request, you asked for a horse that "likes to run", because you used to ride when you were a teenager. In my mind, riding as a teen doesn't constitute significant experience, so you were given horses suitable for beginners. I'm sorry you couldn't handle that.

We want our customers to have a fun and safe ride, but there is a minimum level of cooperation required on your part in order for that to happen.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2012 via mobile

A bit disorganized but overall a great wAy to spend a few hours especially with the kids. We came away all smiles.

3  Thank GeorgeSmart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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