My family just returned from the sunset trail ride. Things turned sour from the very beginning. The owner greeted us by yelling about the former group with his beer-drenched breath. He seemed very upset about a family letting a 5 and 6 year old ride when the age limit was 8. First thought: if that is your policy, why did you allow them to ride?? We found out later the 6 year old had fallen off the horse. Our trail was supposed to begin at 6:30, but we didn't take off until closer to 8. The sun was already close to setting. As we started on the trail, my brother was told that his horse did not get along with the one in front of him. Instead of re-arranging the horses, they just let them be in that same order. My brother asked at least twice to move to a different place in line since the horses kept fighting one another. They ignored him. Later, this turned into a nightmare as the one horse spooked my brother's causing it to run away, throwing my brother onto the ground. He got a concussion from this.
This however, is not the end of the nightmare..... throughout the trail, I realized this was not for beginners at all. The hills were steep and slippery, the horses were not calm, they were agitated from missing their meal earlier. We were taken along a narrow cliff, and the horses wanted to do their own thing disregarding the pulling of their reigns. My sister's saddle kept slipping to the side and at one point her horse slipped in the mud, causing her saddle to slip, throwing her into a tree.
It was at this point that she asked to leave the trail. SHE WAS NOT ALLOWED. She was forced to continue through the trail. The guides were inexperienced and the girl who "tightened" my sister's saddle had been there only 3 days and could not properly tighten it. The head guide finally came back and tightened it for the third time.
Later, we reached a hay field where the horses tried to roam even more. The guides were not helpful in keeping the horses in line. One guide let her horse eat whenever it wanted which was one of the main things they warned us against. When one horse tries to eat, they all will. My sister's horse was trying to eat instead of follow, even though she was pulling at the reigns. The lead guide came back to help my sister's horse and slapped it making it run ahead with my already scared sister on top. At this point, my sister asked again to get off the horse and go back. She was clearly upset and did not desire to continue. Still, she was FORCED to finish the trail!
The sky was almost black now, we could barely see, and we were concerned about getting back to the stables by way of a very steep, slippery downhill slope. My father asked the lead guide about letting the whole family off the trail before the steep hill. He did not feel comfortable with beginners riding a horse down a muddy slope in pitch black. Especially since the horses had already slipped and had not followed the pulling of reigns. The guide agreed and contacted the owner. The owner met us along the way, but to our horror, he was still making us go down the hill in the dark. He begged for us not to have to go down, and my sister again asked to get off the horse and just walk the rest of the way, but again..... THEY FORCED all of us to ride down the scary slippery hill. My father was very upset because my sister didn't feel like she had control of her horse and was getting scared. The owner called her a sissy and said that 6 year olds do this all the time. (Wait, wasn't your age limit 8??) My father was shouting over and over that we do not want to go down this hill because it was too dangerous for beginners. The owner then began to cuss out my father claiming we were the ones being dangerous since apparently one is "safer on top of horse sliding down a mountain than walking down a mountain on your own feet".. hmm.. The owner then grabbed the reigns of my sister's horse and pulled the horse down the slippery mountain as she screamed for him to stop. The owner fell in the mud, releasing the reigns, causing the horse to run wild into the woods before finally coming to a stop. This was extremely terrifying for my sister and all of us.
Shortly after the slope we were back at the stables where the owner basically tried to talk us out of a lawsuit by making the ride free of charge.
I would NEVER recommend this stable to any riders who want to actually enjoy themselves. It was a time of stress and overall doubt if any of these people even knew what they were doing. Equestrian Adventures is putting money over the safety of their customers and has made our entire family afraid to ever go near a horse again.
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