If you’re one of the locals or visitors to the Emerald Coast who think horses are popping up everywhere, you’d be right! From horseback rides at sunset on the area’s sugar white beaches to horse farms, boarding stables, and dressage competitions, the area has seemingly gone wild for horses.
A search for all things horse-related in the area turns up dozens of options. You can easily buy a thoroughbred from a reputable horse dealer, find a stable for boarding your horses or rent horses by the hour from numerous pleasure riding businesses. There are also several equestrian centers where you can learn how to ride horses, train them for competitions, and buy tackle and supplies. Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties, watched horseback riding grow in popularity on the Emerald Coast for years before finally catching the bug and buying two Tennessee Walkers. He said the area is ideal for horse enthusiasts and owners alike.
” The climate here is ideal for horses because it’s never terribly cold,” he said. ” There are so many recreational spots and scenic areas here, and to be able to experience it all on horseback is a unique experience. Tourists love to add horseback riding to their vacation schedules because it’s a memorable way to enjoy the trails and beaches here.”
Barrett said that his firm is getting more inquiries about horses from investors and residents contemplating a move to the area. He said most people want to know if there are plenty of places designated for riding and if there are numerous options for boarding.
“I think some people are surprised when they see the number of businesses devoted to horses here,” he said. “It’s not just one or two stables, because people here are making horse part of their lifestyle.”
Barrett and his wife board their two prized Tennessee Walkers, Dollar and Denali, at Bayside Stables in Santa Rosa Beach. He said the owner, Judy Ammons, is fantastic, the rates are reasonable, and he’s met several fellow horse lovers there.
“There’s nothing better than visiting these beautiful animals every day, even when there’s no time to ride them,” he said. “I like to go to the horse barn every day after work and take them apples and treats. Any stress of the work day quickly melts away.”
For more information about Bayside Stables, call (850) 585-0728.