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Saddle up to enjoy nature at North Georgia's horseback stables
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Guests can enjoy unique views of Lake Lanier atop horses at the Stables at Lanier Islands. - photo by Beth Pedaggi

Horseback riding, one of the oldest modes of transportation, is a fun way to enjoy the beauty of North Georgia has to offer and experience nature from a unique perspective.

Here are a few of the best places to go horseback riding in North Georgia:

Golden City Corral

• Where: 49 Forrest Hill Road, Dahlonega, GA 30533

• Contact: 706-867-9395, www.goldcitycorral.com

Golden City Corral is open daily for one hour, two hour, or half day trail rides, by reservation only. Reservations are available at 706-867-9395.

Riding opportunities are offered for a range of skill levels through miles of trails located on the Forest Hills Resort property. The Corral is open to the public as well as resort guests.

One-hour trail rides for adults and children ages 12 and up are $40; for ages 8 to 11, the cost is $35 per child. A family of four can ride for $130.

The cost doubles for two-hour trail rides, which set out first thing in the morning.

“It’s a walking trail ride; there is no cantering,” said Gina Keene, an employee at Golden City Corral.

All guests ride horses from the stables, and with advanced notice and a fee of $25, are able to get to know their horse by brushing them down, saddling and giving them a treat before the ride begins.

Half-day rides are for experienced riders, and includes lunch for $150 per rider. Half-day rides are not available every weekend, and advanced notice is required.

The Stables at Lanier Islands

• Where: 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway Buford, GA 30518

• Contact: 678-318-7886, www.lanierislands.com

Known for the resort and waterpark, one of the hidden jewels of Lanier Islands is the Equestrian Center.

Open to both resort guests and the public, the center boasts “a variety of beautifully shaded trails along the shore of lake Sidney Lanier for every skill level, from novice to experienced,” according to Stable Manager Beth Pedaggi.

Trail rides for ages 7 and up are available for 45 minutes up to 90 minutes, with prices ranging from $45 per person for a 45-minute ride up to $85 per person for an hour-and-a-half ride.

More timid riders ages 2 and up can enjoy a half-hour pony ride for $20, accompanied by an adult.

“Safety is highly emphasized through personalized and individual attention on every trail ride,” Pedaggi said.

The stables also offer a Ride n’ Romance package for couples, which includes accommodations at the resort, breakfast at Sidney’s and a 45-minute guided horseback ride, ending with a private picnic lunch along the water’s edge.

Along with trail rides, private and semi private lessons are available for all ages.

Children ages 7-14 with beginner or intermediate riding skills can also enjoy summer day camps from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekly.

Reservations for all activities can be made by calling 678-318-7886.

Experiences are tailored for each person’s individual skills and needs. Weight limits do apply.

The Stables at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa

• Where: 6321 Ga. 76, Young Harris, GA 30582

• Contact: 706-379-9900, www.brasstownvalley.com

Riders can expect to encounter wildlife and a cool mountain breeze when riding at Brasstown Valley, according to Stable Master Jerry Hamilton.

“We range from (ages) 7 to 107 ... we ride generally around and through the mountain.” Hamilton said.

All rides are guided, and most rides last one hour or two. One-hour rides are $45 per rider, two-hour rides $77.

Children under 7 can enjoy a 30-minute hand-led pony ride for $20.

Reservations are available at 706-379-9900.

“We offer basic instructions and how-to’s before (trail rides)” Hamilton said, about Brasstown Valley’s “personal, one-on-one experiences.”

Catered picnics are also available for $85 per person, where riders can order lunch prior to the excursion from Brassy’s (lunch not included in price) and the meal will be waiting at a picnic spot during the ride.

Brasstown Valley is willing to accommodate new riders with walking and even hand-led trail rides.

Sunny Farms North

• Where: Long Branch Road Dahlonega, GA At the end of GA 400 North

• Contact: 706-867-9167, www.sunnyfarmsnorth.com

For those looking for a self-guided riding experience, Sunny Farms North is the perfect fit.

“We have a pretty mountain trail,” farm owner Stan Gabriel said, “It takes about an hour to go through.”

It costs $40 per rider per hour at Sunny Farms, $45 to ride double, meaning one adult and one child on a single horse.

Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, rides can be scheduled during the week by calling 706-867-9167.

Reservations allow horses to be ready upon arrival, and horses are chosen for each excursion based on information given with the reservation.

“We have horses for everyone ... and everyone’s riding ability.” Gabriel said.

The horses at Sunny Farms North are familiar with the trail, making at an accessible experience for anyone.

Family owned and operated, the Gabriel family seeks to accommodate riders of all ages.

“We allow parents and grandparents that don’t care to trail ride to lead the small kids around in the yard.”

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