Over the past 17 years these are the most frequently asked questions I have answered every day. Please take moment to look them over before reserving your ride, as I hope you will find them helpful and informative.
Q: What is your rain policy?
A: We ride rain or shine. Please keep in mind that mountain weather is very unique and can be raining in one area and clear 10 minutes away due to the way the weather patterns move over the mountains and rivers. It takes us several hours of preparation to prepare the horses for your ride, therefore our 24 hour cancellation policy is strictly enforced, so please check the weather before you book.
Q: Is it too cold to ride in the Winter?
A: We ride all day in the coldest of temperatures. As long as you are properly prepared these are probably the most exciting and beautiful tides we have. The horses LOVE the cold weather and are at their peak on the brisk weather. The views that we get from every ridge top and wildlife spotting are amazing because there are no leaves to block the view. Did I mention the snow? If you are lucky enough to get one those rides, that memory lasts a lifetime.
Q: How should we dress for winter rides?
A: Here are a few of our secrets for staying warm. Layers everywhere - feet and hands included. A hat, fleecy head band, or back of the head ear muffs are a great start. A gator (fleece turtle neck without the shirt part) for around your neck is a must. Hand and foot warmers are our big secret to keeping warm ALL DAY in the winter. These can be found at Wal Mart in the hunting section, any sporting goods store, and sometimes the Dollar Store. Put one in each glove and shoe, and put one in each back pocket. Happy trails!
Q: How do I select a stable?
A: Because this is such a large part of your adventure in the mountains, you want to do your homework. The main rule is do not shop on price alone! There are stables that are more expensive than us, and stables that are less expensive. When getting on an a strange animal that weighs over 1000 pounds, cost should be toward the bottom of the checklist. Some questions to ask: Find out what the guide to riders ratio is. How long have they been in business under the current management? Are they licensed and insured? Are their guides CPR and first aid certified? Do they offer and require safety gear? What does their trail cover? What is their reputation with the cabin rental agencies or Fannin County Chamber of Commerce?
Q: Is there a weight limit? A: Yes, the weight limit for the 1.25 hour ride is 220 pounds and 2200 pounds for the 2 hour ride.
Q: Is there an age limit? A: We have built an outstanding reputation over the past 17 years by introducing the youngest of riders safely to the world of horses. We continue offer opportunities for all ages to interact with our wonderful horses. Our insurance regulations require us to have the guardian acknowledge that the child be 6 years old in order to participate on the trail rides. Our youngest riders will be lead by the guide for added safety and control, but they must be able to sit independently on the horse. Sorry, children may not ride double with a guide or parent. The cost is the same for all riders regardless of age. For the very tiny children unable to ride on the trail, we can offer a pony ride in our riding ring. This service is offered to the children of families enjoying a trail ride on our ranch. The pony rides are offered when available, and by appointment. They last about 5-10 minutes, and cost $10, and is open to children 5 years and younger only. This is not a trail ride, but it does give the littlest riders an opportunity to interact with our four legged friends.
Q: Do you allow double riding? A: Due to insurance restrictions, we do not allow double riding of any kind, with the guides or parents. For very tiny riders unable to participate on the trail ride with their families, we can offer a pony ride in our riding ring. The cost is $10 for a 5-10 minute ride. No riders over five years of age, please, no exceptions.
Q: What ride should I pick - the 1.25 or the 2 hour ride? A: Do not select a ride on the length of the ride, but on the riders ability, and the terrain covered during that ride. All of our rides showcase the beautiful scenery of Blue Ridge Mountains, which includes stream crossings, wooded trails, and a fantastic view of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. All or our rides will get the rider into a walk and trot. The 1.25 hour ride is for riders of all abilities. It is great for families with children, first time riders, or groups that have mixed riding abilities. When choosing a ride for your group or family, use the person with the least experience as your gauge, as that is the level will have to keep the entire group at. The 2 hour ride is for those who are experienced and are ready for some speed. We take an flat trail a long a ridge that allows the rider to get into a canter. Please no first time or timid riders. This ride is for riders age 8 and over,and under 200 lbs.
Q; What time should we arrive? A: You should arrive at the CHECK IN TIME LISTED. if not a little before. If you follow these guidelines you will leave enough time for trips back and forth to the car, clothing changes, bathroom breaks, paperwork, horse assignments, tack adjustments, and safety instruction. This is quite a bit to do in the time before your ride departure, so please be prompt. If you do not this time frame, the other people in your group who planned properly will have to wait for you, as well as pushing back the next ride time because we are late getting your group on the trail. Please be courteous and give us enough time to properly prepare you for your adventure with us. If you have not checked in by the ride departure time, you will forfeit your ride, and be charged the full price.
Q: I have never ridden before, can I still ride? A: YES!! We have first time riders everyday. Please select the 1.25 hour ride, for you first time out. We will instruct you on how to sit properly and control your horse. The guide will be with you the entire ride to ensure your safety and offer any riding advice necessary.
Q: What should we wear? A: Long pants are best all year. Please wear shoe that have a back to them (no flip-flops or sandals). Boots are great, but tennis shoes will work as well. Please be prepared for the weather during your visit. We will ride if it is cold, and you will be expected to keep your appointment. The early morning rides in the winter can be chilly, but often times are the best rides, as the horses love the cool weather! Plan ahead, check the weather forecast and dress appropriately so you can enjoy our beautiful mountains and onto worry about your cold toes!
Q: What can we bring along on our ride. A: Ideally just yourself, but cameras that can be secured are fine. Please leave your water bottles, sunglasses (the trail is shaded 95% of the ride), and cell phones in the car. Please do onto wear back packs as the are extra weight for the horses and can compromise your balance. Items that are brought along usually end up on the trail, break and can injure the horses feet, onto to mention litter our beautiful wooded land.
Q: What about weather? A: Rides will be still taken out in the rain, we will not ride if there is severe weather. Unless severe weather strikes you are still expected to keep your appointment. We do have a 24 hour cancellation policy so unless you have called and cancelled the appointment within 24 hours of your ride time you will expected to be at the farm for your ride time. Our climate may be different from what you are used to, but that is why you choose to vacation here. Please dress for the weather so you can enjoy your time with us to the fullest extent. We will not ride in severe weather(lighting, thunder, etc.) and we will bring the ride back early if severe weather strikes. If more than 1/2 of the ride time has expired the full amount will be charged. Discounts will be offered in the event that less than 1/2 the ride time was covered.
Q: Do you supply helmets? A: Yes, and riders under 18 are required to wear them, no exceptions. No bike helmets, please.
Q: How do I reserve a ride? A: I will need a name, phone number in the mountains, number and ages of the riders, and credit card number to reserve your ride.
Q: What is your cancellation policy? A: We have a very strict 24 hour cancellation policy. As long as you call to change you number of people, or cancel prior to 24 hours there is no penalty. If you fail to arrive at your ride or with the correct number of riders, you will be changed the full amount. You can pay this amount with the card you reserved.
Q: Why is your cancellation policy so strict? A: We often have a waiting list of people that would like to ride and onto enough horse to accommodate them. If we have set those horses aside for you, you will be expected to pay the rental fee. Also, our guide are paid per rider, so if you do onto keep your appointment it affects their earnings. When you make an appointment, it takes that guide about 2 hours to prepare the horses for your arrival, so you must be considerate of their time and effort. We do onto leave our horses tacked and standing all day, when they are in use they are left alone in the pasture to enjoy being a horse in their herd. I believe that this is the secret to the longevity of my horses and their overall happiness.
Q: Can I ride if I am pregnant? A: We do not allow expecting mothers to ride. There is always a chance that you can fall off while riding a horse, and we to do not want to be responsible for such a tragedy. Not to mention that your joints, ligaments, and sense of balance are changing constantly during this time.
Q: What is the custom gratuity to a guide? A: The customary gratuity to a guide is 10%- 20% of the total cost of the ride. Many guests, will tip above and beyond this amount for a particularly spectacular ride, or rides that require much extra work on the guides part, such as many very small children, or adults requiring an unusual amount of attention or reassurance. Please keep in mind that the guides work on a pay scale very similar to a waiter or waitress, and their gratuities make up a large portion of their take-home pay. For parties of 10 or more, an automatic gratuity of 15% is added
Q: What if I am late? A: If you are late for your check in and your group has left, you will be charged the full amount of horses for the length of ride you reserved. We will attempt to get you on the trail as "walk ups" on a later ride if the schedule allows. We will not RESERVE horses free of charge for a later ride.