Sporting Life // 8 min Read

Saddle Up: Longfield Stables’ Trail Ride Program

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Apr 26, 2024

Nestled amidst the tranquility of Palmetto Bluff, Longfield Stables stands as a beacon of serenity amid lush green pastures and the gentle presence of grazing horses. Its picturesque setting makes it a haven not only for the esteemed Palmetto Bluff Club Members but also for the equine companions who call it home. Recently, Longfield Stables underwent a significant expansion with the enhancement of its Trail Ride program, ushering in a new era of experiences for members, guests, and, most importantly, the cherished horses. Spearheaded by the dedicated leadership of Julien Beaugnon, the Equestrian Director, and Bella Urie, the Trail Program Manager, this initiative reflects a commitment to surpassing the expectations of all who grace its grounds.

Before the launch of the new Trail Ride program, only three horses could be taken out for a trail ride at a time. In addition, each trail ride needs a lead horse to guide the herd through the trails, and not every horse was well-suited to lead. Late this fall, Longfield Stables brought in nine new horses to join the program and learn the trails. The team started by getting to know the horses and teaching them what their new job would be by fitting them with equipment and showing them the trails. Just like people, horses find a purpose through having a job, however, some jobs can be physically taxing. Trail rides are the least physically demanding job that a horse can have. The horses are also rotated so that each horse only works a trail ride per day to give them time to rest. 

While each horse has a stall in the activities barn, the horses spend most of their days outdoors in the hayfield pastures roaming freely. Palmetto Bluff Club Members may notice the horses enjoying their days outside when driving down Old Moreland Road. Many of the horses at Palmetto Bluff are former working horses and have lived a much simpler life since coming to the Bluff. Trail Ride Manager, Bella Urie, shared more about the program and what the horses mean to her. Bella started with Palmetto Bluff three years ago in the Upper Barn, before which she was a horse wrangler in Montana. She has done everything from teaching lessons to leading pony rides, to now managing the trail ride program. “Here the health, safety, and well-being of the horses are put first. We work alongside these animals every day and we must support them. We love them so much. That is what sets us apart from other programs. It’s so rewarding to give these horses a good life,” she said.

Trail rides are offered to Palmetto Bluff Club Members at 10am and 1pm in the cooler months and 8am and 10am in the summer. Times are subject to change based on weather as rainy days can make for unsafe terrain. When Members arrive for a trail ride, they will watch a brief safety video to learn the do’s and don’ts. They then will get their helmets fitted and take time to meet their horse. Horses have unique personalities much like us, and it is the most fun part to learn the personality of your horse. Once everyone is acquainted, an instructor will help each Member mount their horse before mounting their own horse. The lead horse will guide the group on a one-hour ride through beautiful Spanish-moss-covered trails, exclusive to the Trail Ride Program.


Magic is a barn favorite. He is a quarter horse who is often stoic and calm. It’s hard not to love him with his easy-going attitude and cute face. Although he is small, he can be quite bossy when out with his friends. His best friend is Ollie, and the two of them can always be seen hanging out together while out in their pasture! One thing magic hates is bugs! 



Ollie is a staff favorite; we love his unique coloring! Just like his best friend Magic, nothing ever seems to bother him. He’s a go-with-the-flow kind of guy and does best when he’s with all his friends! It’s hard not to fall for his adorable baby face and inquisitive personality! When he is outside with his friends, he is very playful and sometimes can be a troublemaker! 


Cowboy Bill 

Cowboy Bill, or just ‘Cowboy’ as we often call him, will quickly steal your heart with his gentle eyes and calm demeanor. Although he is our biggest horse, he is by far the gentlest. He can be slightly reserved when you first meet him but is quick to warm up after a cookie or banana! Cowboy can be quite selective with his treats and will make sure to sniff the treat before accepting. Cowboy has found a unique friendship with Phoenix, and the two have become inseparable!



Phoenix has been at Longfield for about 8 years, he is a Kentucky Mountain Horse. It is hard not to fall in love with Phoenix’s quirky personality and cute face. You can often find Phoenix begging for treats by making funny faces at you from his stall and will never forget to remind you when he feels like he has earned one. You will rarely see Phoenix without his best friend Cowboy somewhere close by. Phoenix is also a natural in front of the camera and loves to model with his long blonde hair! 


Polly is an Appaloosa, a unique breed and color of horse. She is very sweet and loves attention anywhere she can get it! Out in the field, she is the first to come over and say hi! She can be inquisitive and careful but is very laid back. Her best friend is Big Mama! 



Big Mama 

Big Mama, or Mama as we often call her, is a Draft Cross that came from Pennsylvania. She certainly lives up to her name. She serves as the “mom” to her friends out in the pasture and will always make sure everyone is behaving themselves! We love her for her floppy ears and droopy lower lip. 



Surely is another one of our most easy-going and friendly horses. He loves people and is always the first one to come over for pets and treats! We love him for his fluffy coat and long mane. He is always in charge of the herd when outside with his friends and can sometimes be a loner, preferring the company of people instead of other horses. 



Belle is a draft cross that has never met a stranger! She loves all horses and people and always likes to have a friend nearby. She has become a favorite and is very observant of her surroundings. She has become quite the heartbreaker out in the pasture, with her looks and personality winning over all the boys. She loves to have her face pet and would be happy to spend hours being pampered by the staff and guests. 


Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey is a staff favorite. He has really come out of his shell since arriving on property and has grown into one of our best lead horses. Although he is not very big, he has a big heart and big personality. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and you can always tell what he is thinking with his animated facial expressions. He always tries his best for his rider and is a great partner out on the trails. 


Daisy is the smallest member of our herd, and the most laid back. She always seems to be in her own little world, not bothered by much of anything at all. Before Daisy came here, she was used on a ranch as a kid’s horse and seems to be enjoying the slower lifestyle here in Palmetto Bluff. She loves to sleep and can be seen multiple times a day lying down in her pasture or stall taking a nap. 



Longfield Stables serves not only as an equestrian facility but also as a haven where horses thrive in an environment of purpose, companionship, and attentive care. It represents a seamless integration of nature, hospitality, and the camaraderie among its equine residents and human stewards. As dusk descends upon the Bluff, illuminating the stables with a warm glow, Longfield Stables stands as a testament to the enduring connection between humans and horses, where each step echoes with a shared sense of fulfillment and mutual regard.

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