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Where to Go Trail Riding
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Where to Go Trail Riding
So many ranches out there, but it's hard to find a horse ranch that
does trail rides for 4 year olds. It seems like 6 is the minimum
unless you just want to stay in the corral. Any recommendations? Is
4 really too young to go on a trail with a gentle pony? I am not a
horse person myself, just the mother of a very horse-centric girl.
Because of liability, most horse rental companies won't rent that young. The child is
just not strong enough to control the horse. I have seen many adults who rent on
vacation and can't control the horse! Our two kids were up on horses at age 1 with us
walking in front of them, leading the horse, and have since grown up to do trail rides
in Montana (at age 6). The only place that accomodated us at the younger age was
Drakesbad in Lassen National Park. They have meadow rides they developed for young
children (mainly due to our son's interest and that they knew our family after decades
of visiting there). My advice is to contact a local small stable (there are several
off Marsh Creek Road in Clayton) and have her take some private lessons.
Then, if she does well, you can try to find some places that will rent to her. During
the summer, our daughter enjoyed Castle Rock Arabians in Walnut Creek and they also
will do private or small group lessons. If you google family dude ranches, you can
read descriptions and find someplace suitable.
Yes, 4 is too young for a trail ride! A gentle pony is part of the herd and will run
if the other horses run. A four-year old will have no hope of controlling the pony in
such a situation. Please stick to enclosed riding arenas and listen to the experts.
Our family - my husband and I and our two boys age 5 & (almost)
7 - would like to go on a low key, local horseback riding
adventure. We live in El Cerrito. I've looked in the achieves
but a lot of the recommendations are old. We have a friend
throwing a birthday party for her 7y.o son at M&M stables in El
Sobrante but we can't attend and so would like to go on our own
adventure. Can't find anything about riding at M&M or anywhere
else local. Maybe I'm missing something. We're not looking for
summer camp or lesson -- just a day adventure somewhere
reputable without breaking the bank.
Lookin' for adventure
My family took a trail ride from Five Brooks near Olema in West Marin.
I believe there are stables South of SF as well - Pacifica or Half Moon
Try Sunol Regional Park (I forget the name of the stables there). Nice
rides (family) through the park!
Five Brooks Stables in Pt Reyes is really nice, you can go for a couple
My 9-year-old daughter and I would love to do a 3-5 day horseback
riding trip somewhere within driving distance. Last year I found
information on what I remember as 4-day pack trips in the national
forest somewhere near Tahoe (details could be off there!). I can't
find information on those now, but if you know what I'm talking
about, or about anything else that would fit the bill and not be
resort-expensive, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks!
A few years ago we went to Southern Utah. One of the things we
did was a 1/2 day horseback ride at Capital Reef nat'l Park.
The company was Hondoo Rivers and Trails. They are located in
town outside the park and the ride was on the gorgeous land
outside the park (because they are not ''park consessionairs''.
They were WONDERFUL to do business with. We were 2 families of
parents, teenagers and younger boy, either bare beginners or not
ridden for a long time. They paired each of us with a horse
perfectly compatible for our skill and personality (don't ask me
how...they just did). We had a blast.
They do full day, and back country trips. We had hoped to go back
and do a several day pack trip but never got back there.
There are plenty of places to stay in town...I don't think they
put their guests up, but maybe they do. Worth checking out.
Google, Hondoo Rivers and Trails. e-mail is:
Good luck and have fun.
Whether you are a complete novice or an accomplished rider, I
would recommend Hunewill Ranch in the Eastern Sierra, just
outside of Bridgeport (www.hunewillranch.com). It is a
family-owned and run working cattle ranch and offers some of the
best riding that you will find. They have their own meadows and
access to national forest lands. The wranglers are particularly
good with kids--they are friendly, encouraging, good teachers,
and accept no rule-breaking (like running the horse back to the
barn). They offer a variety of packages--we did 5-day summer
packages for 5 consecutive years when my daughter was between 10
and 14 and loved every minute. It is family-friendly with lots of
activities for young and older.
Dudette at heart
My 13 year old niece is coming to visit us in April. Her Mom (my
sister) would like for her to be able to go horseback riding
while she is out here. But here's the catch. They live in
Upstate New York, where horseback riding is ubiquitous. What my
sister wants her to have is a ''California'' horseback riding
experience. On the beach; on a bluff overlooking the ocean; or
through the redwoods, something like that. Can anyone recommend
a place that offers this type of unique scenery and experience
while horseback riding? Thanks in advance for your
I know they offer such classes in Redwood Park in Oakland, but I
don't have any contact info. Call them or look up on the
internet - they were recommended last summer.
I recommend Chanslor Ranch on Hwy 1 just outside of Bodega Bay.
It's a small B and B and they have horsebackriding on the beach,
sand dunes, etc. We stayed there over New Year's and very much
enjoyed it. You can go and ride horses whether you are staying
at the ranch or not. Also, nice wetlands area for hiking.
No redwoods or beach, but rolling foothills, great vistas and oak
trees, I recommend Sunol Regional wilderness. In April she will
have beautiful green hills and wildflowers. Sunol is part of the
East Bay park district, www.ebparks.org The horses there are
well taken care of. I've also heard good things about the Marin
county places, but have not rented there, see:
I have rented from the Half Moon Bay places and was appalled by
the condition of the horses and equipment. I would not support
for a real great beach ride, Ricochet Ridge in Ft Bragg is
probably the best place - see http://www.horse-vacation.com/.
Don't go to the stables at Half Moon Bay, they were atrocious
when I went last time.
Here's a resource for finding places to trail ride in the Bay
this page was last updated: Feb 27, 2010
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