Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides Offer Serenity and Fun for Everyone
Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables (AGF&S), located at 613 S Co Hwy 393, is a taste of country paradise located right next to the Gulf of Mexico in Dune Allen Beach. Nestled on 15 acres of land behind the galloping horse seen from 393, AGF&S is a family-friendly 30A horseback riding farm that I have visited several times with my children. With fun for ALL ages, a day at the farm will leave you feeling refreshed and full of peaceful vibes.
Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables…The People
Karen Arnett, the owner of AGF&S, loves what she does. A lawyer by trade and a life-long horse enthusiast, Karen began showing horses at age 50 as a hobby. When the opportunity presented itself in 2011 to be around horses full-time and start a business, it was easy for Karen to retire from her 9 to 5 job as a lawyer. Karen told me that one of the best parts of her work is being outside in nature.
Karen was fortunate enough to find Jackie Fisher, who has been the Barn Manager at AGF&S for the last 5 years. Jackie has been riding horses since she was 6 and training them since she was 15. Certified as a veterinary technician since the age of 18, Jackie is in charge of all the animals on the farm. She makes sure they get fed and nurtured and handles any medical issues that arise. Jackie also manages the riding lessons and Trail Rides. Jackie told me she enjoys watching a nervous rider gain confidence while riding and “come into it, not be so afraid.”
Thirty-eight horses, one miniature donkey and a few chickens keep Karen and Jackie busy on the farm. While some of those horses are boarded by other owners, most of the horses are owned by Karen. Frank the miniature donkey roams the property and enjoys his place on the farm as the mascot. Karen lives on the farm to make sure all of the animals are cared for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With big appetites, the average horse eats 18 to 22 pounds of roughage a day, as well as an AM and PM protein feeding, but each horse is fed according to their need. They also enjoy four feeders placed around the field that are filled with rolls of hay. The horses spend most of their day outside in the field unless they are on trail rides. Karen and Jackie agree that “most horses like to work and have a purpose and most are herd animals and like to ride together.” But Karen and Jackie rotate the horses out on a regular basis and make sure to pull them out of the rotation if they have a medical issue.
Like many animals, horses grow and shed hair according to the weather. When it’s cool, a horse tends to grow more hair. In the summer when it’s hot, a horse sheds. Says Karen, “A horse never gets naturally overheated, and horses are healthiest if you let them be outside and be horses.”
Call 850-208-3114 or go here to book your 30A Horseback Ride… Arnett’s Gulfside Horseback Trail Rides
- Trail Rides and Lessons-rides and lessons are offered for children and adults starting at age 6. There is no upper age limit. Karen and Jackie do their best to match the temperament and personality of horses to each riders ability. Call Karen or Jackie to learn more or visit their website to book a ride.
- Festivals-seasonal festivals are planned on the farm. Visit Facebook to learn more about the annual Pumpkin Festival this month, where kids can enjoy choosing a pumpkin, pumpkin painting, pony rides, bouncy houses, popcorn and cotton candy.
- Farmhouse Friday’s Music Events-new to the farm is an indoor air-conditioned music space complete with a stage and bar that serves wine and beer. Karen recruits both local acts and other artists as well. Enjoy Forrest Williams at 7:00 pm on October 14th and visit Facebook for a calendar of future artists.
- Special Events-the air-conditioned facility is available for weddings, holiday parties or your school or sports events. Call Karen to inquire about rates and availability.
- Church-enjoy church in the air-conditioned facility at 10:00 am every Sunday.
- Birthday Parties-book the outdoor covered space and enjoy pony rides and a bouncy house during your child’s birthday party.
- The Carriages-the farm has multiple carriages and horses available for weddings and other events. In the past, the carriages and horses have helped with special events like bringing Santa into Gulf Place.
- RV Park-the farm boasts a 16 space RV park, complete with laundry facilities and full-service hook ups, including strong internet service.
Visit Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables and, as Karen says, “Enjoy a little bit of farm life down by the Gulf.”