Tucked into the northern corner of The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards is a space dedicated to horsemanship, outdoorsmanship and the relationships we make when we learn to trust and connect. The Keowee Vineyards equestrian center welcomes guests with a beautifully built raised-roof 10-stall barn. The post and beam interior allows for an abundance of light as you walk through a pristine breezeway, surrounded by knotty pine walls and ironwork. Behind the sliding doors of the stalls are warm noses, breathing heavy into your hand as they determine whether your treat is worth their time. Of course it is, and the mouth of a 1,500-pound animal gently lifts your offering from your palm. Welcome to the world of horses.
Whether you’re an avid rider or a novice, the equestrian center at The Cliffs has made available a staff and team of horses that accommodates a wide range of requests. Equestrian Center Manager Karyn Owen has spent her lifetime around horses, raised her children around horses, and raised some of the horses you will ride – around her children. Originally from Michigan, she has been in the Carolinas for 35 years now. She knows the area and trails like the back of her hand and is passionate about sharing her experience and love of riding. From leading children (or nervous adults) to guiding rides, Karyn’s main goal is to ensure people enjoy.
For the past four years, Karyn has shared the pleasure of horseback treks through the miles of forestland that back up to Keowee Vineyards. She has favorite spots in the Jocassee Gorges, such as Rocky Top, and a secret picnic spot with a table that straddles a creek. She also enjoys taking newcomers through a section of trail monikered Tornado Alley, which features a nearly-eerie show of force from 2017’s Hurricane Irma. All of the rides are available to residents and guests of The Cliffs, and accessible to every level of comfort and experience.
When it comes to the horses, they are gentle and sure-footed. All of the horses are deemed “beginner horses,” meaning they are not sensitive to misused reigns and tight squeezes of the leg. They are accustomed to following the leader rather than the rider, but more than capable of taking cues from the experienced. They have taken all ages and styles of riders from the training ring to the top of Jumping Off Rock, and have moved riders from unease to exhilaration in a matter of moments.
The equestrian center is available to all members and guests of The Cliffs, and always open for visits from dawn ’til dusk. While there is a waitlist for horse boarding, there are always open saddles for trail rides and lessons. And as long as Karyn is not out on a ride, she is there too, and more than happy to introduce you, or welcome you back, to the beautiful bond between human and horse.
If you’re interested in visiting the equestrian center, scheduling riding lessons, or signing up for trail rides, please contact Karyn by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 828.553.1273. She, and her horses, look forward to seeing you.