PHOTO CAPTION: Rylie Benehan, military Family member, does a trick on her horse, Spanky, an American Quarter Horse, at the Fort Rucker riding stables recently.
August 29, 2013
By Sara E. Martin
Army Flier Staff Writer
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 29, 2013) -- The Fort Rucker Riding Stables is rounding everyone up to enjoy a day in the warm summer sun and the cool waters of Buckhorn Lake.
Ride, Swim, BBQ is scheduled to take place at the Fort Rucker Equestrian Center Sept. 7. Riders will saddle up around 9 a.m. and ride to Buckhorn Lake where they will have a chance to swim and ride their horses through the waters of the lake, said Justin O. Mitchell, Fort Rucker deputy garrison commander.
"This a really fun event for all riders as we have a slow novice trail ride to the lake and a fast-moving ride through the wooded trails for more experienced riders," he said. "It is also fun for people to watch as the horse and riders enter Buckhorn Lake. Most horses love the water on a warm day, and seeing the smiles of the people as they play with their horse is great."
Registration for the event is no later than Sept. 6, and the ride is open to the public. A safety briefing will be held at 8:30 a.m. before riders set out on the course that morning.
"We will ride from the stables to Buckhorn Lake about a mile away, swim with the horses, then ride back for food and fellowship," said the deputy garrison commander.
People will need to provide their own horse to ride, and if patrons are coming from off post a negative Coggins test must be verified for each horse.
The ride is less than an hour for novice and about an hour for the longer wooded trails, said Mitchell, and the swim will last a couple hours because only a few horses are allowed to swim at one time.
"We also provide lifeguards and equipment safety checks at the lake to ensure everyone is safe," he said. "After, we will ride back to the stables and eat barbeque around 11:30 a.m."
The event is $20 per horse and rider for those who are not patrons of the facility and $10 for Fort Rucker Riding Stable patrons.
Twenty six riders participated in the event last time it was held, and Mitchell said that everyone had a lot of fun, but that the event will be even better this year.
"We put this on just to offer another quality of life event for our Soldiers, Families and surrounding community members," he said. "It shows just another aspect of the exceptional staff and programs the garrison has working for our installation."
Mitchell advises to bring a towel and a change of clothes or bathing suit to the event.
"We have people take saddles, tie downs or other snag hazards off at the lake, and folks can dry off and re-saddle after the swim," he said. "This works well as others swim while some get ready for the ride home."
For more information on the ride or to register, call or email the riding stables at 598-3384.