Head Out on a Horse
Saddle up in the stables at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa and experience the forests and valleys.
Inside The Dining Room at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa, I sat by the window overlooking Three Sisters mountains and wondered what my horseback trail ride would be like later that morning. Steaming buttery grits, scrambled eggs and sausage made for the perfect country breakfast before heading into the valleys and hills on a horse I was soon to meet.
Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa is the only full-service resort and conference hotel in the North Georgia Mountains to offer horseback trail-riding experiences on five miles of trails.
You can be a beginner or advanced rider—over the age of seven—to explore the open fields, hardwood forests and burbling trout streams.
I met Dana, my horse-riding companion and guide for the one-hour ride. She helps her guests mount the horses the old-fashioned way—first one foot in a stirrup—or the easy way, which is to climb the steps and slide on. That’s what I did because I haven’t been on a horse in a very long time.
Image: Dana and Julio in the stables
Julio, my four-legged companion for the next hour, was shy. He is a Paint breed, and is one of the biggest horses at The Stables at Brasstown Valley Resort. I stroked his long nose and told him he was beautiful. He raised his mouth and lips to sense me better and I looked him in his big wide eyes and said I was so grateful to go for a walk together.
Dana advised me of a few helpful hints for the trail ahead, handed me a saddlebag for my cellphone and she jumped on Twitter, her lead horse.
Image: Dana and Twitter lead us into the woods
This was the first ride of the day for Julio and Twitter. All the horses are evenly distributed in ridership for maximum rest. In addition to being fed high-quality hay, they are rested in the enclosed pastures where all the grasses and shrubs they’d like to eat are found.
One of the things Dana advised was to try to keep Julio’s focus away from eating trailside plants and instead on the ride. Julio sensed I was not a disciplinarian. A couple of times he lowered his horsey head and snatched a huge mouthful of green, dewy grasses.
The morning heat was slowly rising, and I relaxed on the journey forward and breathed deeply the fresh, cool air of the forest.
Our trail went mostly through the heavily wooded part of the North Georgia mountain woods that make up part of the 503 acres of the Resort. Julio and Twitter took their time carefully plodding through mud puddles and up and down slopes. Julio, of course, snuck another bite of fresh greenness!
Dana paused at times to rest the horses. That’s when she would point out unique local plants, or the hollows in trees where woodpeckers nest.
We emerged from the shelter of the forest into the open pastures and a sky without clouds, the bluest sky stretching over the May bliss of Brasstown Valley. We passed a pasture where the horses greeted each other as we paused to say hi.
Image: Julio and Twitter say hi to the horses in the pasture
When we returned to the Stables, I rubbed Julio’s neck and told him how honored I felt to go on a ride with him. If you want to experience this as well during your next stay, call ahead or when you check in, ask about custom excursions, hayrides and catered picnic rides for individual and group outings. Younger kids can participate in short rides within the fenced enclosure led by an equestrian.
Where did the hour go? It will always be with me. Thank you, Julio, Dana, and Twitter for an unforgettable excursion through the Blue Ridge Mountains!