Can't make it to London for Prince William's wedding to his betrothed? Want to ride like a princess through the forest? Good news! You can at least ride into the wind in Central Florida, where Ocala Carriage and Tours takes you through pastures full of Thoroughbreds, Paso Finos, Percheron Draft and Quarter Horses.
Some of the world’s finest horse breeding farms are nestled in the rolling hills of Ocala, where the glorious (and pampered animals) create enchanting vistas.
On the fully narrated tours, the guides describe how Ocala became the "Horse Capital of the World” and tell tales about the famous steeds that have been trained or bred in the region. The grazing horses sometimes come to greet the carriages and – no doubt – to get treats from the passengers.
Ocala Carriage and Tours offers several types of excursions from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. The Country Carriage Ride is just over an hour long and available by reservation only. The coaches and trolley wagon can accommodate various numbers of riders beginning with just two.
Groups of 10 or more may also arrange for a BBQ lunch or dinner, including chicken and ribs with beans, coleslaw, potato salad, biscuits, iced tea or lemonade and dessert.
To me, anything involving horses is a treat. And Ocala’s combination of rolling hills and national forest make this a special environment indeed. I'm definitely putting Ocala on my short list for a place to spend Earth Day, April 22.
To make your reservation for a carriage ride, call Ocala Carriage and Tours at 352-867-8717. Don't forget to bring some carrots or sugar cubes for treats!