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!



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, but sturdy and moveable. Most importantly, though, they’re not stuffy like a traditional wood barn would be. There is good airflow and ventilation….no danger of mold or fungus like with a regular wood barn. We picked an extra sandy spot for our horse pens…the horses stand in clean sand, not straw, stall mats or on concrete. The pens are open so they get a nice breeze and can also see their friends!  The tarps that we use on the tents are silver colored and reflect the heat. With the breeze flowing through the panels and the tarps reflecting ability, it is actually nice and cool in the horses’ pens, even in the Florida summer heat. Most of the pens are 10×24. Some of our pens are back to back, but other horses have a pen all to themselves. Horses are extremely social animals, so we pay close attention to who hangs out with whom in their free time.  Friends get put close to each other, so that they can enjoy each other’s company even when they are in their pens. When you see horses in back to back pens, it’s because they’re good buddies and like hanging out with each other. Normally, the geldings (boys) will want a stall buddy while the mares (ladies) want a pen to themselves!

IMG_3116 Phantom, Dillenger, Jazz and Blaze like to share…..

IMG_3119Our mares, Diamond and Eden  need their personal space…..

IMG_3118 Apache has a pen by himself because he’s half Clydesdale and he’s BIG!

Round pens, arenas and quarantine areas are also quickly and easily constructed as needed.  Whenever we get creative and want to reconfigure our setup, it can be done in a day. And last but not least….when there’s a hurricane or a tropical storm headed our way, we take down the tarps, so there will be no flying debris. In these situations, the horses have a natural instinct to wait out the storm in our woods… the safest possible situation during difficult times.

We like tent city. It works for us.

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…!

……..it 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!

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….IMAG0926_1_1

On the way back, Mark just rode him with a halter and a lead rope. It gave him a chance to snack here and there….

He loved it…..Copy of DSCN0699

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…… 🙂

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…