We decided to take a break from Walt Disney World and try something different and since one thing I’ve always wanted to do and have never done was ride a horse so I made reservations at Forever Florida in Saint Cloud which is not too far from our condo in Kissimmee.
When I found the Forever Florida website I was super happy because it looked great! They have a large piece of land and offer ziplines, a motorized coach tour through the park and horseback tours! I was a bit nervous as my only cowboy experience was watching The Rifleman on TV so was really happy to read their website because as it says:
“The Horseback Adventure features a walking trail ride through historic trails (and a creek!) through unspoiled Florida for riders with varying levels of experience. Horses are personally matched to each individual’s personality and level of riding experience so first timers are welcome.”
And I am a first timer and so is DD! Yeehaw it will be so fun to ride a horse.
It’s a hot morning and we arrive early as they asked and got registered and then took a look at the alligators in the pond and the Rawhide Roundup which is another group activity they offer where groups on horseback work in large corrals with some big cattle. It was pretty spectacular!
The vultures were riding the warm updrafts and circling overhead as our group finally gathered to choose our horses. The guides were friendly and they helped to assign us with the best horse although my horse seemed to be a bit cranky as he kept putting his ears back and I was not too happy when another horse got too close.
Being on a horse for the first time was fun! We got into a line, there are about 12 of us on horseback and it’s a perfect Florida day with warm sun and we head out in a group towards the trail through the scrub.
We bumped along the trail, across open areas and past stands of trees. The vultures passed overhead occasionally and we talked with the guide who told us about the horses. I was glad to be right behind the guide so I could hear her talking.
DD was behind me most of the time and her horse seemed fairly friendly. It was quite a sensation to be riding high in the saddle as the horse plodded along the muddy trail. I felt a bit sorry for the horses the way they walked made me feel like they were leading such a life of burden. All they did every day was walk a muddy trail through the spiked bushes in the scrub carrying strangers on their backs.
Some parts of the trail we have to go through some fairly deep streams and our horses go in to the water up to their belly and my feet are getting wet as they are going under the water it is fairly deep! It was quite an adrenaline rush with the water surrounding us and the reflections of the Spanish Moss that hangs in the trees in a canopy above us.
I started feeling even worse for my poor horse, being forced to trudge through a mud bottomed stream bank over and over day in and day out but I am sensitive to these sorts of things and I’m sure the horses weren’t mistreated or anything and were probably living a fairly happy life considering the options that some creatures have to endure but by the end of the first hour of the ride I was pretty much convinced that I wouldn’t go on another ride like this again.
When we got back to the stables we disembarked and said a quick good-bye to our new friends. It would have been nice to be able to spend a few moments to thank the horses but it was a bit awkward at the end. Don’t get me wrong, the people at Forever Florida are very nice but my heart pinches a little for the horses.
Thank you to the horses! You are such elegant and noble creatures!