By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 15, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 15, 2013) -- Fort Rucker is home to many types of people and four legged Family members, but many citizens seem to overlook that there is a full compound on Hatch Road dedicated to Family members who don't exactly fit in a backyard.
The Fort Rucker Riding Stables offers a full range of services to horses and their riders, such as boarding, entertainment for seasonal events, birthday pony parties, Western-and English-style riding competitions, and trails, said Marty Haverfield, recreation aide at the riding stables.
There are more than 10,000 acres of wooded trails, a clubhouse with bathroom and kitchen facilities, four community pastures, a hay barn, 40 duplex barns with individual tack rooms, 67 stalls, paddocks, two regulation dressage rings, two breaking pens, a lighted western arena and lighted jump and show arena, a covered farriers shed and double wash stalls with warm water.
A feed service program is also available for patrons, and hay and stall bedding may be purchased from there as well.
"The opportunity out here is fabulous," said Dany Benehan, military spouse. "There is no waiting list to board right now, which is crazy because the stables offer everything: lessons, fields, parties, and miles and miles of trails."
The boarding of privately owned horses is open to the public, but active-duty military have priority, and pricing depends on a person's rank and the type of stall they wish to have their horse boarded in, said Haverfield, adding that immunization for all horses that are boarded is required and proof must be furnished to the stable office.
Benehan and her daughters, Rylie and Kiera, have their horses boarded at the stables, and enjoy coming out to ride and compete because it is good for their minds and their bodies.
"We've been riding since we were 8 years old," said Rylie. "It's fun to come out here and ride with other people. I get exercise and so do the horses."
The riding stables also offers riding lessons. The price is $35 per lesson and is taught in a one-on-one style.
"We do have one instructor on contract right now that offers lessons and she will furnish the horse," said Haverfield. "She teaches both English- and Western-style riding."
The facility is described as being very unique and a one-of-a-kind facility, especially for the military.
"Most boarding stables may be able to offer the stabling and the work arenas, but they don't have the trails that we do," said the recreation aide.
The trails offered are cross-country preliminary, cross-country beginner novice, cross-country novice and cross-country training.
The riding stables is also a place where Families can come and enjoy children's birthday parties with a birthday pony party with Tony the pony.
The birthday pony party consists of access to the facility and the clubhouse for three hours, and one hour with Tony the Pony and his handler, said Haverfield.
"The pony parties are for toddlers and preschoolers up to 40 pounds. Price is $85 per party for up to 10 children," she said.
The clubhouse has bathrooms, grills, refrigerators and a kitchen for people to use during parties, said Aida Diaz-Carter, business manager for the community recreation division.
Along with everything else the riding stables offers, it is also getting ready for its Halloween special -- Fright Night Haunted Hay Ride.
"Fright Night is an amazing time where people will come out here and we'll take them on a hayride into the woods and around a graveyard," said Carter. "It takes months to put this on because we have over 200 volunteers that help us put it together."
The facility is looking for volunteers to sign up and help with the event, she said. Anybody over the age of 16 can volunteer to help with building, make-up and costumes, and acting to scare patrons.
The stables are located near Bldg. 20090 on Hatch Road, and the office is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on boarding, pricing, riding instruction, volunteering or birthday parties, call 598-3384.