Photos by Kelsey & Scott Walters
Our toddler, Avery, is head-over-heels in love with horses (I mean, what little girl isn’t at some point in her life?). Like a lot of parents, we’re spending more time at home lately and looking for activities that are both engaging and educational, while staying safe.
Fun Family Things to do in Oveido, Florida
Cheyne Ranch in Oviedo offered the chance to fuel Avery’s horse obsession while giving us a glimpse of farm life with hands-on experiences and a small taste of the work that goes into caring for the animals. Each private tour is approximately 1.5 hours and is exclusive to your family. My parents came along, as well as my grandma (pictured above with Scott and Avery) and her best friend who were visiting from Texas, giving us a special family experience and memories to last a lifetime.
The Cheyne family graciously opens their home to visitors for this experience, with mom, Sally, leading the way and her four teenagers assisting. Not only do you get the chance to meet their beloved animals, but you are welcomed into their daily activities and soon feel right at home on the ranch. Because these tours are fit into their busy family schedule, I recommend booking in advance if you are hoping to visit on a particular day to ensure they don’t sell out. Sally also works closely with special needs classes, giving the students invaluable real-life experiences.
A Hands-On Ranch Experience at Cheyne Ranch in Central Florida
We entered the barn housing the family’s five horses and ponies, which have all been adopted or taken in under varying circumstances. Avery carefully pet each of their noses and introduced herself, eager to hop on for a ride. As she soon learned, a lot more work goes into horse-ownership and ranch life than just riding! We began by brushing her chosen pony, Pearl’s, coat and getting to know her. As Pearl got cleaner, the two got more comfortable with each other.
As Pearl got saddled up for her ride, we got to work on the rest of the farm duties, including feeding the 20 resident chickens and collecting the day’s fresh eggs from the coop. The eggs are available for purchase, and my mom gladly took home a carton, while Avery concerned herself with chasing the chickens around the yard to attempt to return the eggs to their mamas.
Next was one of the best parts of the tour, where I could have easily spent my day. The ranch is also home to 10 cuddly rabbits with two massive swings set up in the “Bunny Zen Room,” just for snuggling. The chance to pile on the fluffballs while you sit back and relax was a welcome reward for Avery’s “hard” work thus far!
While we could have stayed in the bunny pile for hours, it was finally time to ride and Avery was certainly ready. She has taken quite a few pony rides in her short 2.5 years, but they have always been brief. Her ride on Pearl took us around the extensive property, all while she was grinning from ear to ear. She was living her dream cowgirl life and couldn’t be happier.
Afterwards we relaxed at the barn, with gentle giant, Lujen, poking his head out of his stall to socialize and sneak in a few snuggles. Along with the Cheyne family, the animals here will have you feeling right as home as well.
Older kids are able to get involved in even more barn activities, so Cheyne Ranch is the ideal place for everyone in the family to learn responsibility, especially when it comes to pet ownership. On return visits, the longer pony and horseback rides take you to neighboring properties. We definitely plan to be back soon, as Avery can’t stop talking about her ride and needing to return to take care of the animals.
CHEYNE RANCH – OVIEDO, FL
Private tours by appointment only
$25/family with 1 – 2 children + $10 per additional child