When you think of New York City, your first thoughts are probably towering skyscrapers, bustling city blocks and overcrowded subways. But there’s another side to the city you’ve probably never seen before. Tucked-away stables offer horseback riding lessons and pony rides throughout the five boroughs on rugged trails, some with coastal views. Here’s where to take your next city break and find a horseback riding adventure.
Central Park Horseback Rides galloped onto the scene about five years ago and takes visitors through the bridle trails of Central Park. Ask the instructors if they have any good stories, as their business also supplies horses and animals to the local movie and television industry. Families with a disabled rider can also ask about assisted riding for the same price.
Situated near the local favorite, wooded Prospect Park in Brooklyn, kids can take pony rides, lessons, trail rides and celebrate a big day on horseback at Kensington Stables. Rides saunter along a 3.5-mile bridle path and soak up the last remaining native woodlands and only freshwater lake in Brooklyn. It’s also a birding paradise with more than 200 species of birds.
Even long-time New Yorkers haven’t necessarily heard of this jewel of a stable in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn. Discover the Jamaica Bay Riding Academy on roughly 500 acres in the Gateway National Recreation Area with pint-sized ponies and equestrian competitive horses alike. Riders are treated to rugged, coastal views and forest trails that make you soon forget you’re in one of the busiest cities on earth.
Western- and English-style riding is available at the Bronx Equestrian Center in the Pelham Bay Park area. Kids can ride with ponies or hop on a hay wagon ride for something the whole family can do together. Wear long pants on this ride that takes you through rugged terrain.
Housed within Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, Riverdale Stables is accessible by train and offers lessons seven days a week. Ask about hourly lessons or brush up jumping and dressage lessons. There’s also a Rider’s Lounge with a flat-screen TV and a coffee station while riders and parents wait for their lesson to start.
Guests at the Seguine Equestrian Center in Staten Island ride through gorgeous vistas alongside the Seguine-Burke Mansion built in 1837. And the staff is as equally impressive as the views. The senior riding instructor, Christine Carrieri, worked with award-winning equestrians including Olympic medalists Anne Kurisnki, Chris Kappler and George Morris.
But before you saddle up, always call ahead. Most stables are closed on major holidays and may have a camp or group booking. And remember to talk up the instructors about what they like about the city. You’ll learn more about where to go and what to do from those who know it best.