There’s no way better to get out and explore Brown County than on the back of a horse! Take in the natural beauty of the forest and have a little fun…no cowboy boots necessary! Recently the Visitors Center staff had the chance to hit the trails at Schooner Valley Stables for a daytime adventure.
Located right off State Road 46 West headed toward Bloomington, is Schooner Valley. Easily marked and sitting across the street from Mike’s Music and Dance Barn is a haven for horses and riders alike. Pulling up the gravel driveway, you’ll feel like you’re driving up to the ol’ family farm. With chickens roaming about and tired stable dogs lounging around, this place feels like home.
In no time at all, your gaze is sure to land on the “mane” attraction…a large pen filled with strong, yet graceful horses ready for riding. All saddled up and munching on some straw before the big ride, Schooner Valley’s horses were all shapes, sizes, and colors…nothing short of majestic.
Before our group could hit the trails, our helpful guide for the day gave us the low down on what to expect and what to do while riding. After learning how to lead and steer the horses, we were each assigned our own to ride. Knowing who was our match for the day, the excitement was real. It was almost time to go!
Leading our horses to us and helping us mount them one-by-one, the Schooner staff made getting ready to ride a breeze. Sitting high on our horses we were ready to head out. Filing out in line we hit the trail, our Schooner Valley guide leading the caravan. From curvy, narrow climbs to shaded, tree-laden descents, our horses took us on quite the trip. Winding our way up, down, and all around Yellowwood State Forest, we had plenty of great scenery to admire and even better seclusion to bask in. Besides our group and our horses, there was nothing but woods as far as the eye could see.
Besides enjoying Brown County nature at its finest, it was amazing to witness what Schooner’s horses could do. No hill seemed too steep, no pathway too rocky…these horses were clearly on their game and well-trained. Even though none of us were skilled riders it didn’t matter. Between the horses knowing their route and our guide who never hesitated to stop and help out, horseback riding at Schooner was not only a ton of fun, but it was completely stress-free and enjoyable!
Anyone needed their stirrups or saddle adjusted? Horses needing corralled? What about a break? No problem. Our guide made it happen. In fact, there were two guides with us on the excursion, both of whom were willing and eager to show off their horse expertise…and to cater to our every need!
We even got to trot on our trip! That’s right, throughout our hour-long ride there were several spots where the horses got up to a gallop. Talk about fun! Wind in our faces and a rush of adrenaline, trotting was exhilarating to say the least. A slow trot was fine for us but for all those avid riders out there, Schooner Valley actually offers a running ride! Just imagine cutting loose and riding a running horse along the wooded trail. Oh my!
After a long and pleasant ride alongside some funny, friendly guides, our horses led the way back to the barn. With a little help from the Schooner staff, we dismounted our steeds one-by-one. Feeling refreshed and energized from our ride, we were happy to have spent some time with good ol’ Mother Nature and with the Schooner Valley gang.
A great way to experience the hills and hollers of Brown County…and to have some fun with friends, family, or even co-workers, horseback riding is a must! Thanks to Schooner Valley Stables we got to experience it first-hand and you should too!
So, the next time you’re planning a visit to Brown County, carve out some time for a ride! Not only is it a memorable adventure, but it’s also a new way of exploring the area. We’ve also got plenty of other ways to enjoy the great outdoors too. Your escape awaits…come and get it in Brown County!