We went to Sandbridge, Virginia (the southern part of Virginia Beach) for vacation this year and I knew my daughter would be thrilled if we could incorporate some type of equine activity into the week. She has recently started taking lessons and had 2 weeks of horseback riding camp this summer. A quick Google search brought us to the Easy Does it Ranch in Virginia Beach. It offered trail rides and was only 15 minutes down the road from our vacation rental. Perfect!
The Easy Does it Ranch Missions Statement:
“We are dedicated to giving second chances to horses of all kinds who have suffered through starvation, abandonment, abuse and neglect. Our mission is to love and heal! The horses that come into our facility have a forever home here and will never have to worry about missing a meal or being left out in the cold. They are all spoiled and given the utmost care. Our staff is educated and trained to their full ability to make sure these horses have the care they deserve. It is a family atmosphere out at the ranch, where we allow people from all around to experience these great animals and see how much love and they give to us in return. We want to show the world how horses are creatures of passion, knowledge, care, and affection, whose friendship is greater than ever imagined. We need help and donations to be able to support our new and incoming family of horses and this is where you can play your part! Support our great efforts by taking a trail ride or by contributing a tax-deductible donation to the Pungo Equine Rescue and Rehab.”
I didn’t see an option to make a reservation online so I called the phone number provided on the website. I got to speak with Malinda, who operates the Easy Does It Ranch. Malinda was very personable on the phone and you could tell she was very passionate about her horses. She told me about their Back Bay Trail Rides which consisted of an 1.5 hour trail ride and featured a dip for the horses and riders in the Back Bay. We made a reservation over the phone for a Tuesday morning trail ride for my wife and daughter. I was hoping that a morning ride would be cooler and hopefully less likely to be cancelled due to rain/weather.
I called the day before to confirm the time and what the girls would need for their ride. The ride was scheduled to start at 0800 and Malinda suggested older sneakers for the ride (they are gonna get wet). Everything else you could need was provided.
They loved it…
They arrived about 15 minutes early for the 0800 appointment. Malinda was just finishing up getting the horses ready. My daughter rode Maverick and my wife rode Pungo. They walked down a combination of trails and roads until they got to the centerpiece of the ride – Back Bay. Malinda led all three out into the Bay and the horses got to play and enjoy the water.
This was the highlight for my wife and child. They said the horses were making moaning sounds because the loved being in the water so much. Pungo loved blowing bubbles under the water and Maverick spent time trying to splash everyone. Malinda talked about the horses, their histories, and different personalities while they strolled around the Bay. My wife said she is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the Ranch and her horses.
After the ride was over, they got to give the horses some treats and Malinda took the time to hug Meredith and Kay and thank them for coming. Her staff took a ton of pictures for us to enjoy and remember the special day.
Bottom Line – My daughter was looking forward to this more than anything else on her vacation and she came back thrilled. She loved her time with the horses and the opportunity to ride them into the bay. I honestly know very little about horses, but I do know a happy 10-year-old when I see one. She would love to go back next time we stay in Sandbridge and that is probably the best endorsement I can give.