By Kathy Johnson
Perhaps a casual trail ride through the woods or an exciting ride with the wind in your hair appeals to you. Maybe you’re a novice rider or perhaps you’re an experienced rider looking for something different.
Rebel’s Run at afton mountain owner Mimi Paixao offers all of the above with a new twist on the typical trail ride. How about a little wine tasting to go with your ride? Paixao offers a ride from Rebel’s Run through the woods and meadows to nearby Afton Mountain Vineyards. While she waits with the horses, riders take a break and enjoy a little wine tasting before returning to finish their ride.
Afton residents Don and Carrie Land decided to try it out. “We’ve been looking for a place that we could take a trail ride,” Carrie said. Including a trip to the winery decided it for them. “This is a hidden treasure,” said Carrie when she came back from a Saturday afternoon tasting ride.
Paixao worked with some of the area landowners to gain permission for the horses to cross their property located between Rebel’s Run and the vineyards, Paixao said. For the summer there’s another option: Afton After Hours at the vineyard. Through August, riders can bring a cooler with food–no drinks–for a ride over to the vineyards for live music on the fourth Saturday of every month. It’s a free event at the vineyard and for the season opening on May 25, featured Eli Cook. Blue Ridge Pizza Company was there with pizza for those that didn’t want to bring a cooler.
If you’re looking for some classes, English or western, Paixao offers them for lessons to children on up through adults, beginner to advanced.
Paixao horses wear little boots, because “the new trend is not to shoe, to go natural,” she explained. But because the vineyard ride typically goes a little on the road, then through private lane and open spaces, across three creeks with some rocky terrain, before coming out into the field at the vineyard, she prefers to provide her horses with Cavallo boots. “They are made of heavy duty rubber, which gives them better traction than walking bare-hoofed,” she said.
The farm stable has seven horses—Little Rock (a young male), Cheyenne, Mariposa, Pocahontas, Cisco, Rebel and Jesse. There is also an official welcoming party, Jax, a mixed-breed rescue dog. “He’s a Mastidane,” said Paixao, a (very) large cross between a Great Dane and a Mastiff. Typical Mastidanes stand 32-34 inches tall and weigh around 130 pounds.
Paixao told the story of how the farm got its name. “I’ve been doing horses since I was five. My friend sent me these photos of Rebel from Craigslist,” and they eventually went to Bedford to see the horse. “I just fell in love. Something said we were supposed to be together,” she said. She had a Civil War theme in mind for her horse names and she chose Rebel.
A short time after she brought him home, he undid the chain, opened the pasture gate and took off. After an extensive search, she finally got a call from the Park Service 35 miles away, where someone had taken him to the Ranger Station. After she retrieved Rebel (who was apparently on his way back to Bedford), she named her business Rebel’s Run.
If you choose to ride at Rebel’s Run, you will need to wear a helmet (sanitized and provided by Paiaxo) and you will need to sign a release based on Virginia Code 3.2-6200-6203. If you aren’t a skilled rider, Paiaxo will explain what to do and how to do it.
For more information, contact her at 703-623-5243, or email her at [email protected]