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Beautyberry bushes – repel mosquitoes AND make jam!

Beautyberry, or Callicarpa Americana, is native to Florida. It is drought-resistant and easy to grow. In the fall and the spring it has gorgeous purple berries clustered around the stem. Everyone should have at least one of these in their yard. The leaves have mosquito repellent properties. You can crush a few leaves and rub them […]

Kiddies at the Stables

Everything is an adventure at the stables if you are just a little person. Especially if you have brought table scraps to feed the goats, and the pigs. Running around burning off all that excess energy is wonderful. I know some kids that will sleep well tonight!

Sun Rae, our little Palomino Tennessee Walker, is doing just fine…..

Before coming to us, Sun Rae was used to living in a stall in a barn, and working in an arena or a round pen. She competed, and did barrels and poles. Then she came to us and was suddenly expected to mingle with other horses and walk down trails in the woods. It scared her. She […]

Manatee County Equestrian Trails: Go Bit-less!

July is National Park and Recreation Month. We took another road trip  to one of the Bay Area’s many beautiful parks. As we were tacking up the horses, we decided to leave the bridles in the trailer…and go bit-less.    We clipped their reins to their halters, and away we went!     ‘Pache, our Clydesdale Paint, […]

Horses at the Beach – Beach Buddies

‘Pache and Montana have a great relationship. The big Clydesdale Paint has a soft spot for the young teenage girl, and she can do practically anything she wants with him.   Monday was ‘Pache‘s first time at the beach.    He discovered that salt water is not good to drink…..      ….but he enjoyed splashing around […]

A Beautiful Day For A Beach Ride

When you’re too busy to do the things you love, you’re too busy…..so…after we finished pressure washing our horse trailer, we decided it was so nice and clean we’d take it for a drive to the beach. The beach is only about 15 minutes away from the stables, and you’d think we’d go there ALL […]

Bath Day…..

The rain we’ve been having lately is very, very needed. All the moisture, however, may cause horses to get skin conditions in the hot Florida weather, if you’re not vigilant. Our personal solution is inexpensive and it works as well as any of the other remedies we’ve tried over the decade and a half we’ve had horses here […]

Butterflies on our trails…

I love our trails. They are different from week to week…month to month…season to season…..And they never get boring. One of the things that has always surprised me here in Florida is that you almost always see butterflies while riding the trails. Here are some of the ones I seen, whose picture I have taken… […]

Pickles gets mistaken for a horse…

When its time for Rita to give the horses their second feeding, Pickles the pig is always right there waiting for her share. All the horses are eating….no horses available….and Nicole wants to ride.   Wait…there’s Pickles….    Pickles has finished her food. Pickles?  Yes, Pickles!  …not super comfortable….. …..very fussy and noisy….  ….and after only about a […]

Barns? No way! We like the modular system:”Tent City!”

Our horses roam around free on our property much of the time, but during business hours, when we could have customers coming for trail rides, they stay in tents!  We’re pretty proud of our modular housing for horses. It fits the Florida climate perfectly. The horses’ pens are made of horse fencing panels. They are expensive, […]

Carrots, apples and…sugar cubes???

Occasionally our visitors, and especially our regular riders, will bring treats for the horses and other animals. Usually the treats are apples or carrots, which the horses love. Today our visitors from Serbia brought sugar cubes! I was fun to see the horses carefully taste them….  …and discover that they liked them…a lot!   Blaze, […]

Paso Fino Valentino don’t rear no mo’…..

When we first got Valentino, he was still a stallion, and one of the fun things about him was ability to stand on his hind legs in an beautiful controlled fashion. …Perfectly balanced, like a pro…..….Paso Fino horses are just the coolest…! ……..it was a really fun thing to do with him……… But now that […]

Dairy Queen Commercial…

Relish, our little pet sow,  likes Dairy Queen Malts. If she happens to catch you drinking one…   …….She will make sure you share………….ALL of it!…… ……….every last drop………………..all gone……   …………YUM!….. …..How can you resist that face?…… I bet all pigs like Dairy Queen Malts….

Green Anoles – Florida’s little chameleons

I know that they are not true chameleons, but the green anole is the only native lizard in the southeastern United States that changes color. It is only from bright green to brown or gray, but it’s still really cool. The native green anole is slowly being displaced by its more aggressive cousin from Cuba, but […]

Goin’ on an Adventure Ride….

Even though our trails are lovely, sometimes we just take a few horses and go check out other parts of Florida. We have a number of horses that think loading up and heading out is…well…. fun! For us and our horses, the grass IS definitely greener on the other side of the fence…we have very little grass, so our […]

It’s hard work having a harem….

We have Nigerian Dwarf goats and Barbados black belly sheep. After trying our numerous varieties for our Petting Zoo, we settled on these two breeds. Barbados Black Belly sheep are perfect for warm climates like ours here in Florida, because they have no wool. We do have to shear some of our animals sometimes, but I […]

Puddle pics…

It has not rained all that much this summer, and compared with last year the trails are really dry. Hurricane season is far from being over, though….it lasts through the end of November, and anything could happen here in Florida. That being said, never miss an opportunity….. …. after the rain is over and the […]

Trail rides go better with Spanish Moss……just ask Montana and Willow….

All of our horses like Spanish Moss. Normally when you are trail riding, don’t let your horse stop and eat. It is the horse’s way of gaining control over the ride….and they will want to do lots of stopping and grazing and very little walking…..if you start out letting them do this….rewarding them with a treat […]

The Willow – Montana toss…..

This is Montana… using Willow‘s head as a pillow… Awww…….so sweet….. This is Willow getting tired of it….. and tossing Montana…. LOL…We love Willow! She’s the best, sweet Belgian mare!  Here she is chowing down at the hay ring with her peeps: (Shelby, her bestie, and Gypsy & ‘Pache)  

Special effects photography…Danielle and Diamond….

It’s so much fun to play with a picture that’s already very pretty…. Like this picture of Danielle and Diamond…… Here it is in sepia…. Grainy….. With accented edges….. Watercolor….. And Embossed…. But maybe the original is still the prettiest of all….…….right?    

Dillenger, our Missouri Foxtrotter, and Mark….

Dillenger, our Missouri Foxtrotter, really took to off-site trail riding. He loaded easily and was relaxed and happy to be in a new environment. He even went saddle free. Bringing him along was a lot of fun. Here he is with Mark, taking  a break…. On the way back, Mark just rode him with a halter and a […]

Resurrection fern….

Resurrection Fern, or Pleopeltis polypodioides, is one of the pretty sights you might see on a trail ride now at Sun City Stables. You only get to see it when it has rained and there is moisture in the air. It is an epiphyte, which means it lives on top of other plants (think trees!) […]

Nelson loves Gatorade

Nelson, our palomino paint pony, loves Gatorade. He’s a treat hound anyway…. ….. and will wander around begging for snacks when he’s loose… ….but Gatorade is particularly yummy! Especially when some nice person… ….. like Montana….. ……. pours it into her hand and lets him drink it! And how can you refuse him? He’s SOOOOO cute! Just […]

Mani Pedi Day at Sun City Stables

Friday was farrier day at Sun City Stables. All the horses, including the miniature horses, get their feet trimmed…. …this is Drummer….    …and Casanova….     The hooves are clipped with a nipper….  …and then filed with a file….  ….a rather big file…  Our horses generally are good about getting their feet done. They will often just stand quietly by […]

What’s better than riding bareback….?

Riding bareback is great. It’s nice not to have to bother with a saddle and just hop on a horse….. What’s better than riding bareback?  Riding double bareback…. ….on a goofy Tennessee Walkerwith REALLY dirty feet and a soda in your hand…. ….like Montana and Mark…. (and, yes, Delight, our Walker, is goofy…ask anyone who […]

What Jeremy and Gypsy do on their days off…..

This is Relish enjoying a cool bath in a nice big puddle with her baby…. This is Jeremy going for a trail ride with Gypsy…….. They spot Relish lounging in her puddle…….. ………and give her a heart attack! They scare her away……….……..and when she goes running off……. ……they take over her puddle!!            […]

Orange is the new black…..

We’re now easier to spot when we’re on duty……   When you come to Sun City Stables, just look for the person wearing orange! Our guides, workers and volunteers now all wear orange shirts. So…if you’re new in town, or coming to Sun City Stables for the very first time…look for the person in the […]

Buddy Stirrups – a great invention !

Horseback riding can be a bouncy business…especially when the horse breaks into a trot and you are so little that your feet can’t reach the stirrups… Hence the invention of buddy stirrups: a set of small, kid-size stirrups that hooks right over the saddle horn….and voila…a small person’s ride on a big horse is suddenly […]

What we do when we’re not busy….

We lie on a picnic table and stare off into the distance…..like Mae…   We sit on Willow as she meanders to the hay ring … …like Mark and Montana….     We kick off our boots and practice being stunt riders in socks…. …like Josh and Olivia…. on Casanova and Valentino, our Paso Fino […]

A pot belly pig named “You-glee”

He joined the Sun City Stables Family about a month ago….He was found wandering around a neighborhood, and some people took pity on the little pot belly pig and brought him to our stables. Initially he was terrified and we kept him in a pen for a while until he settled down…. He comes and […]

Carrie Ann our Belgian Draft mare….

Carrie Ann is one of the sweetest horses we have. She is a Belgian and a retired Amish carriage horse. Even though she’s been a draft horse pulling carriages all her life, she’s fine with people riding her too….even two or three people at a time! She’s very sane and safe, and trail riding with […]

Trail Riding in Florida – Fun to do!

Many tourists who visit Florida either plan to head to the beaches, go sight seeing, or choose to enjoy the nature and wildlife. A preferred activity for those who choose to enjoy the nature and wildlife is horseback riding. In Florida, there are a variety of trails designed for horseback riding. Stables such as Sun […]

Sun City Stables – see the beauty of central Florida

Sun City, Florida gets very warm and humid in the summer at times. Thunderstorms rapidly move through the area during some summers. Keep in mind that the summer is still a great time to ride. The horses don’t mind the rain, and Sun City Stables operate rain or shine. We have a saying ” we’re […]