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.
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