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Here are some common question we are asked:
Do you ride all year around?
Yes, weather permitting! Best time to ride is April - November. Spring is great, but can be rainy- so watch the weather reports (if you believe them!!). Summer is nice, but can be hot. Mornings or evenings are the best times to ride during the summer. Fall is wonderful, can be cool. Winter, we don't ride if there is ice. Rides can and will be rescheduled if there is bad weather.
What do I bring?
-Depends on the time of year. Be prepared for the weather! Spring/Fall, you might need a jacket, gloves and hat if it's cool out. Summer, bring bottled water/drinks. Sunscreen, bug spray are a good idea also.
-Don't forget the phones/cameras! We have bags you can put on your saddle to carry your gear! However, the larger cameras can be bulky and hard to carry. Bottled water, great idea!
-What not to take while riding-- Keys, wallet, purse or anything else you might loose while riding a horse. We live out in the country, where your car will most likely be safe. We do have a safe place to keep your keys while we ride so you can lock your cars. We've had many riders loose keys, wallets, phones even money fall out of their pockets while riding. We do have horn bags and saddle bags that will keep your stuff safe while riding, but you only need the necessities!
How long does it take to get there?
From Madison 20-30 minutes. From Cincinnati, Ohio about 1 hour 25 minutes. From Louisville, KY about 1 1/2 hours. From Indy about 2 hours. These drive times are approximate. If you are running a little late, no problem, just call if you have a signal.
What I mean, is please don't show up and hour or two before your appointment. We would rather you be a few minutes late than an hour early. All our appointments are scheduled so both the guides and horses have time to break between rides. During the summer months this is very important due to heat. Also sometimes we have to switch out horses, which takes time. If you show up early, you'll just end up sitting in your car! Due to insurance purposes we can not just let you wander around with out someone attending you.
Mapquest and your GPS systems will over estimate the drive times. Not trying to be rude, but if you find yourself leaving Madison an hour early before your ride, you are going to be way to early! If you find yourself in Versailles an hour before your ride, you're going to be way to early also! It takes about 20-25 minutes to get to our farm from both Madison and Versailles.
Is there an age limit?
You know your child the best, so please consider the comfort level of your child. Horses are large animals and can sometimes intimidate young children. It is hard to put an age limit on younger riders, as some are fearless and others are very apprehensive. Please consider this when scheduling a ride. Your child will be responsible for actually steering and controlling the horse! I would hate for a young rider to have a traumatic experience. I actually had a 12 year old have a panic attack once while ridding on horse back!! It really depends on the individual and better to be safe than sorry! And always remember, the horse is about 20 times larger than your 5 year old and very intimidating..
Here's an example of a call we get all the time-- You have 2 teenagers wanting to ride with one or both parents / guardian, and also have an 8 year old.
------The safest way to approach this, is have 2 guides and ride only 1 hour. One guide lead the young rider, to insure a safe ride with no problems. Another guide to keep an eye on the other riders to insure no control problems. The ride would be at a walk only, no trotting at all. This way the youngest rider has a safe, enjoyable ride, and realizes that it's ok . As he or she gets older, they would ride again and be able to ride alone most likely. (the first time is the scariest!) My worst fear is for a little rider to have a problem while on horse back, get scared, and never want to be around horses again.
------Another way to deal with this is leave the 8 year old here at the farm, we can have a horse saddled and ride in the round pen and around the farm while the rest of the riders are out. Also play with the dogs, rabbits, and other animals around here. But again, we still have to pay someone to watch and ride with the youngster.
Is there a weight limit?
This is a tough one, with no easy answer. Best advice I can give is know your physical limits and abilities. You will have to mount and dismount the horse, we do have a step to help. While riding you will also have to balance yourself, it's not like sitting in a chair!! I've seen some guys 6' 7"(or taller) and weigh probably 275 ride fine. However, if you are 4' and weigh 275, not so fine. The truth is some riders who maybe not be height and weight proportionate may have a hard time riding. If you have a question, just ask when you call; we are friendly and honest!!
Also, please be honest about physical limitations. Such as knee problems, hip problems, a bad back, ect. This will make it easier for us to give an honest opinion on ride time limits.
How many riders can you take out?
Another tough one. Depends on the riding level of the riders. We have great horses, but some are not for beginner riders. As I mentioned, it is very important to be honest about everyone's riding ability when scheduling rides. Riding Grandpa's pony when you were 5 does not count as riding experience! We can take out 1-6 riders at a time. But not all of those horses are for beginners! If you have a group larger than that, we may have to do 2 rides. Safety is always the key!
What do I wear?
This may seem silly, but we've seen it all! I recommend - jeans, shoes/boots, and a light weight top, t-shirt or tank top for Summer riding. You can ride in shorts, but probably not a good idea. No flip flops, heels or sandals. You'll want a sturdy shoe/boot that covers your feet and toes. Probably best if your shoes/boots aren't extremely wide, but have a good sole to provide good support in the stirrups while riding. Also, you may not want to wear your Sunday's best clothes! I'm not saying get out the old rags, but don't wear anything you don't mind getting a little dirty!
Here's another thing to consider.... Guys may want to wear bike shorts under their pants. I've even had some first time men riders mention a cup would be nice! Especially if you are interested in trotting or cantering, it can be a bit "bouncy" if you get my drift..... Ladies, a sports bra is a great idea!!
How long are the rides?
I recommend starting with 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It may not seem long, but your butt and thighs will say otherwise! We can ride a little longer, but I do not recommend this for first time riders or children. We are not set up for all day rides or over night tours.
Should I wear a helmet?
Always! But this is one of those, do as I say, not as I do!! Safety is the key! If you want to wear one, we do have a few helmets here. Bike helmets would work just as good if you would like to bring your own. We always recommend the children wear helmets. If you have a large group, ask if we have enough helmets for everyone while scheduling your ride.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary depending on how long you ride, how many riders, how many guides are needed. It's best to call!
When can I ride?
Just about any time! We only do 1 or 2 rides a day, the horses need time off too!! We can ride just about anytime of the week or weekend. It is best to call and schedule an appointment, 2 days a head of time is recommended. On rare cases, you maybe able to call and ride the same day. Please keep in mind, holiday weekends fill up fast! So, it's best to plan ahead. When you schedule a ride, please don't forget to leave your home number and a cell number. Weather is always a factor, we may have to call your cell phone to move ride times around if it starts to rain!
What if I have to cancel my ride?
Ok, here's the deal. There is no politically correct way to say this... So, here it goes..... If your ride is scheduled for 12:00, don't wait until 11:45 to call us and cancel. Most likely, you are driving anywhere from 1/2 an hour or more to get here. And you knew way before 11:45 that you were not coming. Honestly, you call us 10 minutes before your ride, and we're going to be, let's just say, really upset. This is why, it takes us up to 45 minutes to get the horses caught before your ride. Our days are devoted to our customers ride times. We have had no shows, no calls and it's not very nice. And most likely if you ever call back to schedule a ride, not happening with out full payment before the ride.
Now, if you are running late, no big deal. Call us.
If something comes up and you have to cancel please call us! We understand life can throw you curve balls, it happens to us all the time! Just call as soon as possible, that way maybe we can schedule someone else to ride. Especially if it's a weekend we would appreciate a few days notice, if possible, that way we can make other appointments.
Let me put it this way. If you coming to our place to ride, you've had to get ready, drive here, maybe book a hotel room, find someone to watch the dog, ect. How would you feel if you did all that, you pull into our farm and no one was here. Kind of a big waste of time, hugh? That's how we feel about no shows. Just had one happen today, and we're not happy about it.
What if it rains?
If it is raining or bad weather the day of your ride, we might have to cancel or reschedule. If you are visiting from out of town, we will do everything possible to get the ride rescheduled. It's important when you schedule a ride, to leave a cell number or hotel number so we can keep in communication with you!
Can I ride double?
Absolutely not! No riding young children with adult riders. Just imagine if for some reason you can not control your horse, what is going to happen with your child? Do you drive your car with your child sitting on your lap in traffic on the interstate? If your child is not old enough to ride by themselves, we just can not allow a little one to ride with you. Sorry!
Can I run or trot?
Maybe. That depends on the rest of your group. Imagine, 4 riders out with 1 guide. 2 riders want to run/trot, the others don't. It will be very hard for the riders to keep their horses back while the others run away. You would either need 2 guides or just walk the whole time. We can not allow riders to run/trot with out the accompaniment of a guide. To many things could happen! Remember these are animals you have to control, not a car! Also, we can not leave riders unattended. If everyone in your group is willing to try a trot, then that's great! Away we go! We are not the boring head to tail place, you can ride at your own speed. Keep in mind, it's harder than it looks and a bit uncomfortable! John Wayne makes it look really easy!
We accept - Cash. Maybe, Reds Tickets for trade, dog food, Euros, Rubles, Gold, Silver, Copper, Hay, Mason Jars, Garden Vegetables and maybe cat food...
But, seriously, cash only. We live in the middle of no where.. There is no close ATM, Bank or store. We do not have access for accepting credit cards at this time, and probably will not in the future. On rare occasions, we will accept IN STATE PERSONAL CHECKS. To find the closest ATM you will have to drive up to 20 miles.
Due to recent problems with no-show customers. Deposit might be required via mailed check or paypal.
WE DO NOT TAKE CREDIT CARDS!!
Do you tip the guide?
Tips are always appreciated, but that is totally up to you! Some people do, some don't. But not required.
Where the heck are you located at?
Just a little north of Madison, Indiana. About an hour South West of Cincinnati. 2 hours Southeast from Indianapolis. About 1 hour 15 minutes Northeast from Louisville. About 5 1/2 - 6 hours Southeast from Chicago. Be sure to print the directions here on our website - Beware of MapQuest- it will get you lost out here!!
What is there to do in Madison, Indiana?
All kinds of stuff! Lots of arts and crafts, music festivals, food festivals! Antique shops, wineries, unique gift shops, nature shops, coffee houses, golf courses, bed & breakfasts, near by Casinos, the Ohio River, Clifty Falls State Park, Versailles State Park, local wineries with great wine, and good food! Lots of hotels/motels. Nightlife, I guess it depends on what you like, but there are a few great taverns with great food and music.
Great place for a family trip, girls weekend, romantic get-away, or day trip!
It's a small community, friendly people with a great atmosphere. Madison has a lot of festivals Spring-Fall. There are art and craft shows, Blues festivals, Chili Cook offs, Rib-fest, Madison Regatta, and many more! Check out the Madison Area Website and Visitor Bureau page for more information. Click here for Madison websites Keep in mind, if you are coming to visit during one of the festivals, hotels/motels/b&b's may be booked, call ahead! The Madison Visitors Bureau has a great calendar of all the fun things to do around here! It's a great resource.
Also, check out the Red Wolf Santuary in Rising Sun, IN. A private tour wild animal rescue and rehabilitation center not far from here! You can "google" the website. Had a previous rider visit before coming to our place and they loved it!!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! We'll give you our honest opinion, for what ever that is worth!! Hope to see you soon!!
Happy Trails from -Rod and Jenny