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Ready to Ride? Welcome to 30A Horse Farm at Arnett's Gulfside!

August 9, 2018 by Manny Chavez

While SoWal is known for amazing beaches, water activities and fine dining - you're missing the boat if you haven’t checked out the fun at 30A Horse Farm at Arnett’s Gulfside.

Located on Hwy. 393 South about half-way between Scenic 30A and Hwy 98, the Horse Farm offers many activities including Guided Horse Rides, Event and Party Hosting, Camping/RV Parking, a very cool Wedding Venue, an on-site Boot Shop, and numerous weekly and annual special events.

When owners Karen and Tom Arnett decided to open shop here as 30A Horse Farm, they already owned the property here and had several show horses from their Shelbyville, Tennessee walking horse enterprise.

“We wanted to open up the property to the public,” explains Karen, “so we started the trail ride business with our walking horses that we brought down from Shelbyville. We started in 2011 using our show-quality horses for our trail rides and have added others to the mix. We added draft horses so that we can accommodate any size of rider and use with our carriages for weddings, parades, events, etc.”

Hiking and biking our local trails and forests can be done just about any old time but experiencing the trails on horseback is something else. Riders from age 6 and up can see and feel nature in a unique way, saddled up on high with a sure-footed steed leading the way.  In addition to trail rides, private lessons, private rides, and hand-held horse rides in the barn (these for children under six) are offered. One-hour trail rides are priced at $60 with one-hour private trail rides going for $80 and pony rides for the young’uns set at $20.

As a first-timer to the Horse Farm, I was amazed as to the tranquility of the property. Once you’ve entered the gate and driven down the dirt road to the barn area, you are in an alternate universe with free-range chickens running about, roosters crowing, and horses milling about seemingly horse-talking their way around their pristine environs. These animals are HAPPY campers and the horses will saunter over to make real eye-contact with their visitors. Mr. Ed would have fit right in here!

If you’re short on boots, need a proper cowboy hat or are a fan of local hand-made jewelry, be sure to visit the Boot Shop which is attached to the barn and will be the place that you check in for any guided trail-riding. The shop carries over 40 styles of Old Gringo Boots for men, women and children. Store manager Linda Richards will assist you with your reservations or retail purchases.

On a recent visit, horse owner Shannon Nesius was admiring her two-month-old colt Camelot as the colt nuzzled dam Carlina near the barn feeding trough. Like all the other scenes being played out at the Farm, tranquility reigned as all was well at the barn.

Events have become a big part of the 30A Horse Farm experience with the Friday Farm House Concerts quickly becoming “the Friday night thing to do” here in SoWal. The August Summer Series will include the Luke Langford Band, Kevin Post & Kyle Jennings, Boukou Groove, Buck Johnson, and Roosevelt Collier. Food for each event is provided by long-time 30A Chef Christopher Holbrook (30A Smokehouse) with the menu changing for each event. Christopher will be offering up his delights for all the Friday concerts, but plans are in the making for his 30A Smokehouse to become a permanent fixture at Arnett’s Gulfside. Keep your eyes open for future 30A Smokehouse announcements!

Farm House Concerts are held at the Tack Room with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and showtime at 7 p.m. General admission is free with VIP seating priced at $25. A beer and wine bar are provided. Be sure to call ahead (850-208-3114) with questions or to VIP.
The Farm House is the perfect place for birthday parties, weddings, concerts, fund raisers and camps. All reasonably priced, the background is perfectly suited for your special day or occasion.

Camping facilities at Arnett’s are booking up quickly with four tent sites and 16 RV full hookup and internet options available. Bathrooms and showers are in place along with restrooms, washers and dryers. Although the sites are beautifully located adjacent to the Point Washington State Forest, don’t forget that the beach is just ½ mile away with public beach access at Ed Walline County Park.

With Summer slowly fading away, thoughts of Fallish things to do are made to order here at The Farm…. their 8th annual Pumpkin Fest will be held the last two weeks in October with pony rides, feeding carrots to the horses, jump houses, hay rides, live music, pumpkin paintin’…. well, you name it, just a great family event that will be THE family haydown here on Scenic 30A!

Any visit to Arnett’s is not complete without a hands-on powwow with Frank the miniature donkey. This cat is cool as a cucumber and makes friends fast with both animals and humans. He strolls about the Horse Farm property freely and can sometimes be spotted with his BFF, a miniature horse by the name of Buttercup. Frank is legend at the Horse Farm and both Karen and Events and Social Media Coordinator Jennifer Sundal delight in telling stories.

“We once had a new horse come in that really didn’t take well to Frank…she didn’t seem to know what Frank was and when she went to attack him, the other horses created a circle around Frank to protect him! Everyone’s got his back, here at Arnett's! We consider Frank to be our protector as well…. he keeps away the foxes, coyotes, and such.”

So, if you’re in the mood for a trail ride (trail bosses Sandra Garvey and Jacob Jubenville were leading one this past weekend), want to book an event, see some great musicians, eat some awesome Smokehouse food, or heck, just be ONE with Frank the legendary donkey,  please call 850-208-3114 for more information or visit www.arnettfarm30a.com. Location: 613 S. County Hwy. 393.

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Manny Chavez's picture

Manny has been a working photojournalist his entire career and is now writing stories/taking pix for SoWal.com. He and his wife Kris live in Seagrove and have “seen a lot come and go.” Lots of stories have been told, with lots more to come!

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