Like many girls growing up, I loved horses and dreamt of having one and riding it through the fields and woods of my Western New York backyard. We had a barn where my dad and siblings kept a horse but my siblings and I ended up with goats and chickens instead. As a nearly-50-year-old adult, I still get all the feels when around horses and couldn’t wait to say, “giddy up,” I found out my former gym trainer opened a horse ranch in Lake Suzy.
About a year or so after moving into my new digs in North Port, Fla., (I purchased my house in 2012), I stopped going to the Port Charlotte gym I had been a member for several years. Al Thurston was my trainer, who had success in training beauty queens and bodybuilding champions, and I enjoyed his salty personality. However, the gym was no longer convenient in an ever-busy life, but, thanks to Facebook, I’ve remained connected to Al.
While helping others become the best they could be, Al started rescuing horses, some of which needed rehabilitation. He told me to date he’s rehomed about 50.
Over the weekend, I experienced the evolution of his horse rescue, Horsing Around Ranch, LLC, located in Lake Suzy, Fla., near Port Charlotte. Here, visitors can enjoy a guided trail ride (about 90 minutes) through the Florida wilderness or take English or Western riding lessons. The fourth Saturday of the month is Dude Ranch Saturday with trail rides, a cookout, bonfire, games, and good old chilling out (bring the bug spray and sunscreen!). Pony rides are also offered for kids.
Some of the horses at Horsing Around Ranch have been rescued while others have been cared for all their lives. In addition to horses and ponies, a tribe of lively goats entertain visitors.
I cannot wait to return and share the experience with friends. This is a fun activity to do when visiting Southwest Florida!
Reservations are required and can be made by calling Al Thurston at (941) 979-7293 or visiting the Horsing Around Ranch, LLC website. The ranch is located in Lake Suzy, a short distance from Port Charlotte and minutes from I-175 at Exit 170. You will drive through a residential community (I thought I was going the wrong way!) and the ranch is located behind Faith Preparatory School of Lake Suzy.
Horsing Around Ranch, LLC
SW Academy Dr.
Lake Suzy, Fla.
Tel: (941) 979-7293