(PUB. NOTE: This story originally appeared in the February, 2020 issue of Discover Hancock County magazine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, readers may want to check with the owners regarding any changes in scheduling for their spring activities.)
SNEEDVILLE — Imagine taking horse-riding lessons in a picturesque valley of Hancock County while you gaze over a stunning 80-acre farm. That is exactly what you and your children can experience at A & A Stables from April through October.
Sisters Allison and Alex Hopkins opened A & A Stables in the spring of last year. They began their business at the young ages of 18 and 25 to share their love of horses with others.
“We have always enjoyed riding and showing our horses,” they said. “We realize that everyone doesn’t have the necessities to be able to have a horse. We wanted to be able to give others the opportunity of being around horses, learning about horses, and enjoy them.”
Both girls grew up in a family where horseback riding has always been a favorite pastime. Riding their entire lives has paid off in many ways. Not only were they able to open a business doing what they love, Alex is a two-time World Champion while Allison holds a Reserve World Champion title. Alex also taught riding lessons prior to opening A & A Stables; together, they have a vast amount of knowledge to share with their students.
A & A Stables offers horseback riding lessons for all ages as well as services, including: grooming, tacking, bathing, and feeding. Alex said, “These things help teach responsibility while enjoying the animal.” The pair also host birthday parties, summer camps, and take their students to horse shows and on trail rides. They are also very flexible with lesson scheduling to accommodate work and school schedules of the students and their parents.
Alex and Allison are always coming up with new projects and goals to expand their business. Currently, they are making improvements to the riding ring at the stables. Their short -term plan is to incorporate guided trail rides into their program. A long-term goal is to build a camping facility to allow riders to stay at the stables while enjoying beautiful Hancock County on horseback.
The sisters have the support of a special group of people: Hank and Monica Rose, their Pop Harold Johnson, their mother Jodie Hopkins, and the barn crew.
“Hank and Monica are always here for anything that we need,” Alex said. “Pop helps us with the horses. Our mom helps with pre-planning of shows, lessons, and all other events. She has been the backbone of our stables from the start. Our barn crew is irreplaceable to us all. We also have a great group of students. All of us have become a close-knit group.”
Here’s what some of their clients have to say about their experience with A & A Stables.
Ashley Marion, a mother of one of the students, said, “A & A Stables provides children the opportunity to develop new skills, make new friends, and become confident riders. Alex and Allison provide a caring environment for their students to learn and grow. As a mom, I especially appreciate the patience and love they show to their students while making sure that they offer the safest environment possible. I would highly recommend A & A Stables to hose riders of all experience levels.”
Kelsey Ramsey, another parent, said, “My children and I have had nothing but positive experiences with Alex and Allison at A & A Stables. They have been both patient and understanding when it comes to working with my five and two year old. They ensure that they are safe while having fun learning about every aspect of horses. My children count down the days until their weekly lesson. We highly recommend them to everyone we meet!”
Have you or your children always wanted to ride a horse, dreamt of being a real-life cowboy or cowgirl, or just looking for a new adventure? If so, give Alex and Allison a call at 423-300-8920, or for more information on how you and your family can become part of riding world in Hancock County, visit A & A Stables on Facebook.
“A special thanks to those who help make our business a success,” Alex and Allison said.
(ED. NOTE: They also offer summer camps but, again, with the uncertainty over the current coronavirus pandemic, readers are advised to contact them for more information at 423-300-8920. The stables are located at 275 Mack Lamb Road, Sneedville.)