Protecting the wild ponies of Little Horse Island, SC
Stephanie Austin Edwards, a Beaufort County writer, captured a sight you might not see every day on Hunting Island.
On the afternoon of Feb. 2, Edwards took a photo of two folks riding a mule and horses along the beach at Hunting Island State Park. When she posted the picture in a private Facebook group, over 400 people commented, surprised to see the trio of equestrians on the beach.
South Carolina allows horseback riders to go for “coastal rides” on Hunting Island from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 every year, but it’s not the only park where you’ll see a few riders and their steeds.
The state even has a Little Horse Island where wild ponies roam the Lowcountry marsh, according to previous Beaufort Gazette reporting.
Here are a few other parks and islands in the Palmetto State where you can see, or even ride, horses:
This Lowcountry island that’s only accessible by ferry only has a few modes of transportation. The list now includes horseback riding. A new business opened on the island in October where folks can pay to ride a horse along one of the island’s trails or coastline.
Haig Point Club in partnership with Melrose, offers packages for 1.5 to three-hour rides with prices between $125 to $150, according to previous Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette reporting.
You can’t bring your own steed to the island due to the ferry running once a week, according to a representative. But the island also gives the option to rent one of its steeds starting at $100.
The park near Bishopville and Florence is one of the few S.C. state parks that also lets you and your horse stay overnight.
You won’t be able to rent a mount, but if you have an equestrian friend, there’s a campground with stables and even a show ring for equestrian groups. You can rent this area for $300 per night, according to South Carolina State Parks.
Of course, if you’re someone who just wants the chance to see horses, you might be in luck as you drive on Loop Road. The road is also open to those on horseback.
Want to learn your history with a few horses in the background? This state park is another campground-friendly park for equestrians and is the home of a Revolutionary War site.
The Upstate park has 30 miles of equestrian trails for riders along with a few campsites and hiking trails.
You might be able to spot a rider with their steed if you walk along the accurately named “Kings Mountain Horse” trail. The trail doubles as a hiking and equestrian trail.
Another must-visit for riders includes this park and rec area in Cheraw.
The area is known as the place where retrievers can showcase their skills at the American Kennel Club’s Hunting Tests. But there’s plenty of space for equestrians,too.
The rec area has 24 stalls, 27 equestrian-friendly campsites and a show ring for local horse shows. The park notes that your steed must pass the Coggins test, but otherwise, all riders and groups are welcome.
This park located near Spartanburg is home to quite a few amenities for both the casual rider and the professional, who compete in horse shows.
These shows usually happen every third Saturday, according to South Carolina State Parks.
The park has stables you can rent for $9 to $11 per night, a show ring for large events and, of course, five horse trails.
The trails loop around the park and vary in difficulty from beginners to casual riders to expert horsemen.
Here’s a list of other equestrian-friendly trails and parks in the Palmetto State: