Searching for the perfect gaited-horse escapade? We found eight destinations that offer gorgeous trails, smooth-gaited horses, and a big dose of hospitality - all the ingredients you need for a perfect vacation!
Bar Fifty Ranch, Bismarck, Arkansas
Hosts: Owners Julian McKinney and Bette Clay.
Overview: Bar Fifty Ranch, a working cattle and horse ranch, is located in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, with 20,000 acres of forest nearby for trail riding. The 200-acre guest facilities include a petting zoo, catch-and-release fishing ponds, hayrides, a bonfire pit, a sauna, and a swimming pool (open May through October).
Season: Year-round; however, trails are closed during deer-hunting season (November). Call the ranch for trail-closure times.
Accommodations: The ranch offers a comfortable bed & breakfast lodge, as well as cedar log cabins (breakfast optional). During seasonal celebrations, other meals are served; otherwise, meals are self-catered or guests visit local restaurants in nearby towns.
Horses: About 35 gaited horses are available to guests, including Peruvian Horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, Tennuvians, Rocky Mountain Horses, Kentucky Mountain Horses, and Mountain Pleasure Horses. Most are bred and trained at the ranch.
Trails: The adjoining forest trails offer something for everyone. You can ride on flat or hilly terrain, or a combination. Most of the trails are wooded and shady, and creeks run throughout the area.
Rides: Bar Fifty Ranch offers guided rides, but experienced trail riders can go out by themselves. After assessing your level of horsemanship, the ranch will accommodate your riding needs.
Skill levels: All; rides are tailored to your abilities.
Limitations: Riders must be 6 years or older; 6- and 7-year-olds are ponied behind a wrangler. Riders under 16 must wear a riding helmet. Weight limit: 275 pounds.
Contact: Bar Fifty Ranch, 18044 Hwy. Bismarck, AR 71929; (888) 829-9570; email@example.com; www.barfifty ranch.com.