Horses were once considered man’s best friend, but after the invention of the dog, the horse was rebranded as man’s eccentric, oat-obsessed uncle. Take your family on a journey with the kindest of kinsmen with today's Groupon to Dead Broke Farm, just off Route 98 near Falls Lake, north from the I-540 Leesville Road exit. Choose between the following options:
- For $175, you get one week of horseback riding day camp for children ages 5 and older (a $350 value).
- For $20, parents or family members get a one-hour trail ride with their camper, provided the child is already enrolled in a one-week camp through this Groupon offer (a $40 value).
At Dead Broke Farm, campers learn to steer steeds over the rolling hills and teeming wildlife of a 112-acre ranch. The daily schedule integrates Western-style riding lessons—in which children learn to saddle, mount, and guide their equine companions—with guided trail gallops, supervised swims, and lively wagon rides. In their free time, kids can interact with live animals, play on the jungle gym, or push the farm's merry-go-round to ever faster and more joyful velocities. Campers must bring their own swimsuits, long pants, and other essentials, which are listed on the site, and the camp provides riding equipment, helmets, and horse-mounted roll cages for difficult stunts.
Family members can view their campers' transformation into centaurs firsthand on a one-hour group rides, in which a visitor and their child follow a galloping guide through 10 miles of wooded trails. Group guides travel at the level of the least experienced rider, and even first-timers will learn how to coax their gentle steeds to trot steadily, while their youngsters prance and caper on six-legged stallions nearby.
Dead Broke Farm
Dead Broke Farm's name derives not only from the cost of owning horses, but also from the terminology for teaching a horse to wear a saddle—known in the industry as “breaking a horse to ride.” Trainers stable “dead broke,” or thoroughly saddle-trained, horses, alongside more spirited animals on the 110-acre farm. They also house steeds saved through their horse-rescue program, with more than 70 of their mounts avoiding fates in slaughterhouses and other undesirable ends since 2004.
Horses show off their trotting chops during farm trail rides, carrying riders on explorations of the rolling hills and whispering creeks scattered across more than 10 miles of bridle trails cut through woods populated by deer, cranes, and other wildlife. Private rides allow for more personalized routes and can incorporate stops at scenic ponds for proposals or more challenging terrain for advanced riders. Instructors also schedule horseback-riding lessons, teaching balance through rides over undulating terrain rather than through exercises such as riding a horse that is riding a seesaw.