PACE — Families looking to take advantage of warmer weather may want to try something new this weekend.

The 150-acre Hayes Ranch at 5091 Berryhill Road may be just the ticket, where you can enjoy a relaxing horseback ride along meandering trails.

Those who are novices or might have a fear of the huge beasts need not worry, Jill Nelson said. The ranch can find a horse to meet your personality and riding skill.

"The general rule is an older, more experienced horse is better for beginners," Nelson said.

The horses, according to Nelson, are creatures of habit. The staff makes sure that the process is the same everyday. The horse knows what is coming up next and what it needs to do.

On the other hand, younger horses can be more challenging and are reserved for the experienced riders.

"They are like people in that respect," Nelson said. "Age makes a big difference; older horses have mellowed."

Trail riding is not the only thing offered at Hayes Ranch. The ranch offers stabling, riding lessons, barrel-riding lessons, cutting-horse lessons and horse maintenance. They will teach you everything from saddling and bridling to feeding and grooming.

Nelson also breaks horses — meaning she trains new horses to accept riders. The process takes roughly 30 days, but she likes to train them up to 90 days depending on the horse.

Most of her students are children and that is fine with Nelson. They listen better, she said.

"The ranch was started in 1969," Rufus Hayes said. "I can't remember ever not working with horses."

Hayes Ranch offers one-hour trail rides for $45. Private instruction cost $60 an hour.

Nelson said the majority of lessons are in the afternoon after students are out of school. However, she will work with customers to set a schedule to meet their needs.

The lessons are full now but they do have a waiting list.

"We recommend riders and students interested in lessons be at least 8 years old and above," Nelson said. However, she will consider younger students on a case-by-case basis.

The best way to get more information is through the Hayes Ranch Facebook page at