If you're looking for a family outing that combines outdoor fun and the pride of giving back, Easy Does It Ranch & Pungo Equine Rescue and Rehab Center deserves a visit.
This picturesque rural ranch is located just 28 miles southwest of Sandbridge Beach at 1424 Benefit Road, Chesapeake, Virginia. So, it's perfect for a quick trip while you're staying at your Sandbridge rental.
Here you and your entire family can enjoy leisurely trail rides through acres of scenic woodland, with experienced staff on hand for guidance and assistance.
It's a treat for all ages - 7 and up - and a challenge for every ability level, beginner to advanced. Best of all, your funds help needy horses heal.
Rescue Horses: Carefully Trained for Trail Rides
Easy Does It is so much more than just another horse ranch. It has a unique, special mission: rescuing and rehabilitating horses that have suffered from abuse, neglect, starvation, or abandonment.
Founded in 1999, the ranch is the brainchild of Malinda Scott, a veteran equestrian who's being working with horses for over 30 years. Over the decades, Malinda and her daughter Brie have rescued more than 100 horses from high-kill shelters and other abusive environments.
Malinda customizes her rehab regimen to each individual horse, tenderly nursing the traumatized animal back to physical and emotional health. Under her care, feisty horses learn calmness and composure, timid horses gain courage and confidence, and severely abused horses learn to trust and bond with humans.
Once the horse is successfully rehabbed, it's ready to carry visitors on tour rides and other excursions. Malinda and her staff make extra sure that even horses with behavioral issues heal and recover completely. If a horse isn't safe, it's not allowed to carry anyone.
An Amazing - and Heartwarming - Track Record
Often the transformation is astonishing. Take Windy, for example. When this beautiful mare first arrived, she was prone to buck and rear. But after rehab, she became the most laid-back horse on the entire ranch. In fact, she's now so reliably gentle that she's the number one choice for beginners, children, and nervous riders.
Talley is another success story. When she came to the ranch, her stomach was filled with sand, and it took over seven months to clear it all out. Today she is so much happier and healthier, and her sweet disposition charms everyone who meets her. She can be a bit sassy under saddle, though, so she is mostly used as a lead trail horse and for advanced riding lessons.
Fun-Filled Rides for Everyone (Ages 7 and Up)
Now that you know the backstory, are you ready for the trail-ride experience? Call ahead - 757-721-4646 - to book your reservation.
- Never rode before? No worries. You'll have your pick of several easygoing horses, including Windy and even-tempered Viper, a three-year-old race-bred quarterhorse.
- Comfortable in the saddle? Choose one of the ranch's livelier mounts like spunky Poco or spirited Red.
Each ride lasts about an hour. You'll want to arrive a bit early to meet your guide and your horse. Then, saddle up (your guide can help) and set off on a memorable adventure.
All told, you'll have 13 acres at your disposal, including an entire mile of beautifully wooded trails. At the gorgeous trailhead, you can choose from three trails, each featuring gentle terrain ideal for your entire family.
All rides are supervised. And, if you need help at any point, just holler - the skilled, experienced staff is always ready to respond.
Lessons for Every Ability Level, Beginner to Advanced
If you'll be staying in Sandbridge for a week or more, you may want to sign up for Easy Does It Ranch's popular riding lessons, available as a package of four in-depth sessions suitable for adults and children (ages 8 and up).
If you're a novice, you'll master the basics - staying safe around horses; grooming and tacking your horse; walking, trotting, and loping; proper trail-riding technique; maintaining a healthy horse; and more. If you're at an intermediate or expert level, you'll get to hone your skills, tackle obstacle courses, and maybe even meet some new challenges.
All lessons involve plenty of riding, so there's never a dull moment.
Just Relax and Meet the Horses
Chances are that not everyone in your family is up for a lesson or trail ride. That's OK. Non-riders will enjoy strolling the grounds, petting and brushing the horses, and hobnobbing with Mr. Pickles, the resident miniature donkey.
Plus, Make a Difference with the Rescue Efforts
Along with its own rescued animals, Easy Does It Ranch provides expert care for additional abused/abandoned horses. Once their rehab is complete, these pampered beasts become available for adoption and re-homing.
No doubt you'll see a few of these adoptable horses during your visit to the ranch. Feel free to ask Malinda, Brie, or any other staffers about each animal's story. You're sure to find it moving and inspiring!
The entire rehab/adoption program operates under the auspices of Pungo Equine Rescue and Rehab Center, a nonprofit organization. Donations are always welcome!
So Much More to Explore
You'll find adventures at every turn here in the Sandbridge Beach area. Saddle up soon and saunter out to this serene coastal paradise.