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 didn’t make friends easily, like the other horses did. Willow, our Belgian mare, terrified her initially, and she would want to keep her eye on Willow at all times. She would become agitated if Willow was out on a trail ride. When she couldn’t see Willow, Sun Rae would weave back and forth in her stall and call out until Willow came back.

We normally try to pair a new horse with a buddy, so they adjust more quickly to their new home, but Sun Rae wouldn’t buddy up to anyone. She hated the trail. We were at a loss what to do with her, so we put her up for sale, thinking that maybe if we rehomed her, someone would give her her old job back, and she’d be happy.

But slowly, over the course of more than a year,  things are beginning to change. She’s warming up to one or two of our other horses…..Starbuck seems to be accepting her as a friend. Willow no longer terrifies her. She does not break into a nervous sweat on the trails any more. She’s much calmer under saddle, now that she understands that she does not have to run full blast when someone gets on her…..

These are some pictures taken today of Brittany working with her. It’s a gloomy, rainy day, but her pretty palomino coloring pops against the clouds….




Ain’t she pur-dy!!!






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.

6X0A1390   We clipped their reins to their halters, and away we went!

20150720_135910    ‘Pache, our Clydesdale Paint, and Clyde and Valentino,  our Paso Finos, liked it.

6X0A1414   When we took a break, they got to graze….

6X0A1477   ….and they got their favorite Spanish moss treats right off the trees…

6X0A1433   Brittany even went rein-less, on Palomino mare Diamond, for a little bit!

6X0A1504  To me, the nicest way to see Florida is still from the back of a horse.

6X0A1441   It never grows old!










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.

6X0A1188  Monday was ‘Pache‘s first time at the beach.

6X0A1191   He discovered that salt water is not good to drink…..


6X0A1213   ….but he enjoyed splashing around in it….

6X0A1271  …and he didn’t mind being Montana’s lounge chair…..

6X0A1286   …or her diving board…..


Copy 2 of 6X0A1291   …..but he thought people coming up at him out of the water was a little freaky!

6X0A1328  Seagulls and riding buddies were fun…..

6X0A1358   ….and the salty sea grass tasted pretty yummy.


6X0A1362   Eventually, it was time to go home.

6X0A1368  …yup….

6X0A1351   …but we’ll do it again soon!

A Beautiful Day For A Beach Ride

When you’re too busy to do the things you love, you’re too busy……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 the time with the horses, but, really, we’re usually so busy being, well, busy, that we just don’t.

We loaded up ‘Tino and Clyde, who are both pretty much always game for a road trip,  and headed out to find white sand and salt water.

IMG_8285     We found both…

IMG_8324   …just like lots of other beachgoers did today….

IMG_8320    ….gorgeous views!

IMG_8475   …nice people with Kayaks…….

IMG_8390   ….pretty birds…..

IMG_8489   …and nice, cool water.

IMG_8491   Valentino and Mark liked it….

IMG_8508   …and so did Brittany and Clyde.

We’ll have to do it again, soon!

IMG_8513   …beach grass…..Yum!…







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 in Florida:

Wash the horses with regular Palmolive green soap (or regular Dawn blue)

and then, when they are dry, spray them with a mixture of Listerine and Baby Oil.

In a nutshell, during the summer rains… in Florida…wash your horses often, and rinse them well.

IMG_3483 All of our horses love their baths….like Jazz….. And they enjoy being combed and brushed..

IMG_3477 And sometimes, as a bonus…they get braids.

IMG_3481 Not all of us know how to fish tail braid, but Destiny does it well.

IMG_3482 Valor thinks so too.

IMG_3490 The horses weren’t the only ones getting baths…

The flock of little sparrows that live by the horse pens decided it was bath time too!

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…

key west nov 2013 159…Monarch Butterfly…..

.Ebay Nokv 2011 046….Giant Swallowtail….k

Key West Nov 2011 010s…..Gulf Frittilary….

Key West June 2013 022….Zebra Longwing, our Florida State Butterfly…Key West June 2013 027

Key West Nov 2011 013s….Common Buckeye…


Key West 2012 059 …Duskywing….      Key West Nov 2011 017w

Key West Nov 2011 020s…and a Great Southern White….

Of course I wasn’t on horseback when I took these pictures…photographing a butterfly is surprisingly difficult because they never seem to sit still. But, once you are aware of them, they are easy to spot as you’re riding along on your horse. Enjoy!

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.

IMG_3079  Wait…there’s Pickles….

IMG_3081   Pickles has finished her food. Pickles?

IMG_3082 Yes, Pickles!

IMG_3083 …not super comfortable…..

IMG_3084…..very fussy and noisy….

IMG_3085 ….and after only about a minute she just sits down…

IMG_3086…a very offended little pig….

IMG_3088…but a peace offering of some more sweet feed makes everything better!



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…..Valentino rears….Paso Fino horses are just the coolest…!

…… was a really fun thing to do with him………Tino and Me

But now that he is no longer a stallion, he’s very lackadaisical, and  can’t be bothered to do it any more…..

Clyde may occasionally be prompted get up on his hind legs for you….clyde and olivia…he’s a Paso too….

….and here he is with Olivia….

The rest of the horses only do it when they’re playing.

Here’s horseplay between Casanova and George….Ebay October 2012 018 while Valentino and Clyde stand

in the background, looking bored….. Ebay October 2012 022….note George does it all with his tongue hanging out!

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 horses mainly eat hay.

The horses we normally take are happy to go….because we make sure they enjoy themselves too.

I think they also understand that going off somewhere else means that they’ll get plenty of time to snack on that nice green grass….

I’m proud of the way that they load!

IMG_2809  Here are Clyde and ‘Tino waiting to get saddled….

IMAG0765 (1) …Oceans of nice green grass!

IMAG0753…..and pretty trails…. IMAG0771….a cool breeze…

It’s really fun! If you’d like to come along some time, you have to book the ride in advance.

Call and ask about our Adventure Rides, and come see Florida like you’ve never seen it before!

…..selfie…..   IMAG0770



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 personally don’t enjoy that chore.

Nigerian dwarf goats are small and colorful and friendly, and we really enjoy this breed!

The sheep and the goats have their own separate pens, but they also have a common area where they can mingle with the other small animals and eat hay. Our Billy and our Ram seem to enjoy each other’s company, and we often see them hanging out in the shade together, away from their girls.

Copy of IMG_2796…. They must be discussing their respective harems… 🙂

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…IMG_2179 ….but Gatorade is particularly yummy! Especially when some nice person…

….. like Montana…..

……. pours it into her hand and lets him drink it! IMG_2184

And how can you refuse him? He’s SOOOOO cute! Just look at that face…IMG_2225

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….IMG_2104    …and Casanova….     IMG_2112 The hooves are clipped with a nipper….IMG_2114 IMG_2115 …and then filed with a file…. IMG_2118 ….a rather big file…  IMG_2117 Our horses generally are good about getting their feet done. They will often just stand quietly by themselves while Chris works on their feet. Like ClydeIMG_2108 Out of the 29 horses that live here, only 2 or 3 are problem children about getting their hooves trimmed….. This time around only one of them was difficult….I won’t tell on her, but she’s big and blonde and beautiful….:) IMG_3264 Hi, Willow…… 🙂

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 WalkerIMG_1797with REALLY dirty feet and a soda in your hand…. ….like Montana and Mark…. (and, yes, Delight, our Walker, is goofy…ask anyone who knows him…but that’s a story for another day….).

Orange is the new black…..

We’re now easier to spot when we’re on duty……IMG_2099


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 orange shirt.

We can help!IMG_1766

Aaaand…..there in the background are Jeremy and Linda……wearing orange….. 🙂                      

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 a lot more comfortable!

IMG_1841    ….Works great…..IMG_1844


….just look at Lucas and Apache !…   IMG_1863

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 City Stables give you an opportunity to rent a horse and ride on these trails either with a guide or without. The special thing about stables such as Sun City Stables is that they do not force you to be accompanied on a ride with a guide. Sun City Stables is also known to allow customers to ride by themselves without a guide, or to hire a guide, whichever they choose.

Trail riding in Florida is a  wonderful experience for those who have never gone horseback riding. Florida viewed from the back of a horse is just a little different from a nature walk or a bike ride…..

The experience is well worth your while

.IMG_1856 Paso Finos Clyde, Frieda and Valentino…doing their thing…