2017-08-05 / Top News

Horses Enjoy Mackinac Island Bed and Breakfast

By Cathryn Lien


Boarders and stable staff at the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association Community Equestrian Center take a refreshing dip in Lake Huron, one of the unique experiences available to riders who bring their own horses to the Island. The Mackinac Horsemen’s Association offers bed and breakfast-style boarding for visiting horses, giving them a safe and comfortable place to stay while their owners are vacationing on Mackinac Island. (Photograph courtesy of Lisa Brock) Boarders and stable staff at the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association Community Equestrian Center take a refreshing dip in Lake Huron, one of the unique experiences available to riders who bring their own horses to the Island. The Mackinac Horsemen’s Association offers bed and breakfast-style boarding for visiting horses, giving them a safe and comfortable place to stay while their owners are vacationing on Mackinac Island. (Photograph courtesy of Lisa Brock) For three years, the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association has offered a boarding service for visitors who want to ride their own horse during their Mackinac Island vacation, and there is still time to reserve a stall for the late summer and fall months.

The Mackinac Community Equestrian Center on British Landing Road, operated by the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association, provides long-term and short-term boarding in bed and breakfast-style accommodations for horses.

Visitors can ride more than 60 miles of open trails and along the shoreline. Board includes hay three times a day, grain twice a day, bedded and cleaned stall, and daily turn out. Visitors are also given use of all facilities, including the large outdoor arena, round pen, wash rack, store tacks, and, when available, carriages.

Lisa Brock, president of the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association, established the boarding service in 2015 with the help of former stable manager Samantha Simmons in response to a number of visitors who had expressed a desire for a boarding facility.

Miss Simmons said there wasn’t an option for visitors to bring their horse to the Island before the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center opened its stalls.

“With the Island having so many great trails, Lisa and I have worked to make it available for everyone to bring their horse to the Island and provide a safe, hotel-style home,” she said.

The boarding service has received positive feedback and grows every year, said Ms. Brock. Last year, 97 horses were boarded and the majority of those were short-term. The usual visitors with horses stay a weekend at a hotel, come to the Equestrian Center to ride in the morning or evening, and spend the rest of their day enjoying the Island’s attractions.

Ms. Brock and Miss Simmons said the “horse bed and breakfast” has taken off since its first year. Trail riders across the Midwest have come to the stables, visiting the state park and taking their horses down to the shoreline.

Ms. Brock said the Horsemen’s Association discourages firsttime visitors from bringing their horse to the Island.

“Mackinac has unique challenges, like bicycles and large, noisy crowds,” she said. “It’s best to ride your own horse on Mackinac

Island after you’re more familiar with the surroundings.”

An information packet is provided on the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association website and Facebook, which Miss Simmons said is continually updated and improved as they receive feedback from guests.

All three of the ferry services offer travel accommodations for horses. Arrangements with the ferry companies must be made in advance. Horses can be walked onto the ferry or carried over in a trailer.

For visitors traveling long distances, short-term boarding is available on the mainland at Hiawatha

Hawk Ranch in Mackinac City and at the Gaylord Equestrian Center in Gaylord.

As summer 4-H and lesson programs come to a close in August, September and October are the best options for stall availability. With 13 stalls, space is limited and reservations are made on a first-come first-served basis.

Reservations can be made using forms provided on the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association website. Long-term boarding is $650 per month. Daily rates are $50 per night per horse. Guidelines, visitor tips, and “rules of the road” for horses can also be found on the website.

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