Forever Florida offers a variety of fully guided adventures through this managed conservation area which covers acres of untamed wilderness. As well as horseback safaris, there is a zipline safari course or the chance to ride five feet above the swamp in an open-sided coach safari with great views of the Florida ecosystems and wildlife.
We checked in at the shop/restaurant building where waivers must be signed and restrooms are available. We then sat in rocking chairs on the shady porch to await the arrival of our experienced guide, Allan. He led us on foot across a meadow to the stables where a variety of well-fed horses were pulling at their hay nets in the breezy loose boxes.
Riding through Florida's scrub
Once we were all matched up with our mounts, we set off along the dusty trails, first ridden 500 years ago by Native American Indians. No doubt the landscape was much the same then – saw palmettos and sabal palms rising above the flat scrub with low shrubs and the odd flowering weed. Riding past the small lakes the watchful eyes of an alligators can be seen staring back. Other wildlife includes squirrels, white-tail deer, raccoons, wild turkeys and plenty of other birds. Along the way, Allan pointed out some of the highlights – huge deer feeders to sustain the wildlife through the drought, the tracks of black bears or the occasional bird of prey soaring high above.
The comfortable western saddle and relaxed pace make this a most enjoyable and pleasant ride through Florida’s outback. We rode for a time through a sand pine forest and then in the shallow headwaters of Bull Creek which was no doubt cooling for the horses’ hot and dusty hooves. During the ride we stopped for a break and Allan handed out chilled bottles of water and answered all our questions.
We returned at sunset, fully relaxed having experienced the natural flora and fauna of Florida and feeling at one with nature.
If you enjoy exploring Orlando, you may be interested in this book:
or download the ebook version here
Day Trips Around Orlando Florida