As you drive along the road into the Riding and beside the row of Red Maple trees, the corner turn opens on a view of Lookout Mountain rising 1,700 feet that will take your breath away. The pasture, acting as a stage, presents the rise of the mountain, culminating at the top where land meets sky. Notice Sunset Rock nestled just below the top and to the south Covenant College.
Once these figures of the sky have been observed, drop your gaze across the waving expanse of the immediate landscape, Candy Flats. Looking directly across the pasture, Dawn Redwoods rise up and create the backdrop for the upper pond, giving the sense of a species born of a distant age.
Horses are part of the heritage and legacy of Reflection Riding and predate the incorporation in 1956. John Chambliss first became enamored with the land on his almost daily horseback rides down the trails of Lookout Mountain to visit Harold and Marie Humphreys in Wauhatchie. After purchasing “Sunset Farm” he created roads by trailing a red string behind the back of Marie Humphreys’ sorrel mare. All the roads were built on a 5% grade because he heard that was best for horses. The original English concept of a “riding” was designed to enjoy one’s estate as a series of scenes from a horse drawn carriage. Presently two Tennessee walking horses reside in the pasture called Candy Flats, providing perspective, animation and a sense of wonder to what Thomas Kane named “the bucolic landscape.” Named Elias and Grey Eagle, these horses not only delight visitors with their sportive play but are used to weekly survey and clear the upper hiking trails.
Horses also play a key role in maintaining species-rich habitats by controlling more aggressive species which would otherwise dominate these areas. Horses and ponies have teeth which point slightly forward and can graze as close to the ground as rabbits. Horses are selective grazers and will leave some areas of pasture untouched resulting in taller patches of vegetation. Hardy breeds of horses can forage on species such as rush, bracken and reeds and can also help to control scrub encroachment by browsing saplings and other woody material.
Mr. Chambliss named Candy Flats to honor Col. Charles Candy, a Union hero, in the Battle Above the Clouds.