By Nathan Pfau and Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WritersJuly 19, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 19, 2012) -- With such a wide variety of activities and sports for people to participate in at Fort Rucker, many people seem to overlook that there is a full compound dedicated to horses and their riders.
The Fort Rucker Riding Stables offers services like boarding privately owned horses, entertainment for seasonal events like the Fright Night Haunted Hay Ride, birthday pony parties and riding trails, according to Marty Haverfield, recreation aide at the riding stables.
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, she said, adding that immunization for all horses that are boarded is required and proof must be furnished to the stable office.
"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."
Benehan and her daughters, Rylie and Kiera, have their horses, Dante, Huey, and Stella, boarded at the stables and enjoy coming out to ride from time to time.
"We've been riding since we were 8 years old," said Rylie. "It's fun to come out here and ride with other people."
The riding stables also offers riding instruction from contract instructors.
"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 lessons take place at the riding stables in any of the arenas, depending on the lesson type, she added.
There are two lighted arenas available for night riding, two-round pens and two regulation- size dressage arenas, said the recreation aide.
"It's a very unique one-of-a-kind facility, especially for the military," said the recreation aide. "Most boarding stables may be able to offer the stabling and the work arenas, but they don't have the trails that we do."
The facility has access to 30-50 miles of marked trails, depending on which areas are available throughout the year, she added.
The riding stables is also a place where Families can come and enjoy children's birthday parties with a birthday pony party.
The birthday pony party consists of access to parts of the facility for three hours, including the clubhouse, and one hour with Tony the Pony and his handler, said Haverfield.
The clubhouse has bathrooms, refrigerators and a kitchen for people to use during parties, but the kitchen area is not currently accessible because the clubhouse is being renovated, said Aida Diaz-Carter, business manager for the community recreation division.
"People can utilize the front of the clubhouse for parties, but when the clubhouse does fully reopen, people will have a place to store their food and grill outside if they wish," she said.
The cost of the birthday pony party is $75 while the clubhouse is under renovation and $85 when the clubhouse is complete, Haverfield added.
Along with everything else the riding stables offers, it is also getting ready for its Fright Night Haunted Hay Ride in October.
"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.
"We get people coming in from all over the place just to get scared, and they will get scared," said Carter.
For more information on boarding, pricing, riding instruction, volunteering or birthday parties, call 598-3384.