Learning to ride a horse isn’t a one day event. It is like everything else with merit, it takes a bit of practice and patience: practice for the rider and patience from the horse.

Santa Rosa County has much to offer someone who would like to learn about the care and keeping of horses. There are businesses available for every need, whether it’s a birthday party event and children want to ride or for the serious learner who are looking to learn a way of life.

Julie Catone, owner of Rustic Trail Stable, School of Riding, said her home and barn sits on 10 of the 37 acres she operates for her business. The rest is made up of trails; Pond Creek borders the property. Located just off Willard Norris Road in Milton, Catone appreciates the quiet surroundings of her Stable. “It’s quiet and peaceful. No one knows we’re back here unless they’re looking for us,” she said. Operating the school for fifteen years, she said she has a passion for teaching others how to care for the “majestic creatures.”

“I enjoy the satisfaction of bringing people and horses together. Working with horses has so much to teach us about life and ourselves,” said Catone.

She said she has a few horses who have come to her through rescue situations and she feels good about doing it, giving the animal another chance in life.  “It’s important,” she said.

Catone lives on a very structured schedule, where everyone who comes to learn throughout the day has plenty of opportunity to take care of their horse properly, spend time on it’s back, and be very thorough with the ministrations the animal receives.

Catone says if all a person wanted to do was arrive, get on the horse, ride and go home, true horsemanship is lost on the student. Rustic Trails offers shows, clinics, boarding, and most of all, an opportunity to get to know an animal who can sometimes anticipate what the rider needs beforehand.

Michael and Karen Newman along with their daughters Aleece and Britney Jarman operate Aubrey Hill Equestrian in Pace. The Newman family has a lifetime of experience with horses. “It’s our passion. It’s what we love. There’s something new every day. You need to love what you do,” says Karen Newman. She said both of her children have been riding since they were three years old.  “It’s a very rewarding sport,” she said.

Aubrey Hill offers an English riding program, hunter-jumpers, for all ages, along with a kid friendly lessons and child sized tack.

“It’s very good for children. They learn how to take responsibility for an animal,” said Karen.

Aubrey Hill has three fully functioning arenas and specializes in importing, training and selling warmbloods and ponies. They also sell their horses.

Boarding is another aspect for Aubrey Hill. Their facility sits on 105 acres with three barns, 30 stalls, 19 paddocks, three riding arenas and a 40 acre grass field available for clients. “We offer different options you can’t get anywhere else,” said Karen.