Horseback riding is one of the oldest activities that people have taken part in, ever! People riding horses can be traced back to earlier than when the United States even existed- way back to around 4500 B.C.E when horses were used as a main form of transportation. As societies all over the world have evolved and cars have become the usual, horses haven’t been used as much for working. However, there are many different types of leisurely and sport activities that feature horseback riding in them! For example, there’s jumping sports, dressage, racing, and perhaps the most classic activity of trail riding. Today, we’ll take a dive into why you should consider trail riding by talking about some of its top benefits. We’ll also talk about how to find your perfect horseback riding trail as well as the best horseback riding trails you can find for you, a friend, and/or your family in Pennsylvania. Warning- these places will blow your mind!
Why You Should Visit Horseback Riding Trails
Besides being a fun activity, did you know that there are many benefits to you by going trail riding? Before getting into the best horseback riding trails, let’s take a look at some of the many reasons why it’s beneficial to ride horses.
You Get Some Exercise In
You may not even think of horseback riding as exercise, but believe it or not, you can put in a lot of physical effort while horseback riding on trails. You have to position yourself on the horse, balance, and control what the horse is doing, all while on the moving horse (which can sometimes be more than a walking pace). Your cardiovascular health especially benefits from horseback riding and can even be compared to going for a jog or a long walk in terms of intensity. You can even get exercise in before or after the horseback riding trails. After all, who is going to have to put the saddle and bridle on the horse and brush him/clean up after him? You may have a hand in all these activities, especially if you’re a seasoned rider. Even if you’re just beginning, many horseback riding trails will allow you to interact with the horse before and after you ride him.
You Explore and Immerse Yourself in Nature
Another one of the many benefits to horseback riding trails is being able to immerse yourself in nature. Unless you regularly go for walks outside or go hiking, when’s the last time you were at a state park or in the woods for a prolonged period of time? Especially for those who have kids or work regular hours, people don’t have the time to go enjoy nature anymore. This is where horseback riding trails come in! They allow you to get outside, get some fresh air in, and have fun in nature while riding a horse. There are many health benefits to getting some fresh air too, besides just being relaxing. Additionally, the many different horseback riding trails in Pennsylvania allow you to pick and choose which setting you wish to ride in- there’s a choice perfect for everyone (which of course we’ll talk about later on).
You Can Relax for a While
One of the best benefits to horseback riding trails is that they allow you to relax for a while, and live stress free. When’s the last time you were able to unplug yourself from the modern world and go enjoy some of the world’s finest scenery? Even being able to go trail riding for an hour can provide you with many stress-relieving benefits. You really get into nature- and can sometimes go where no car can take you. Between the many different animals you can see and the different plants you don’t see growing on the side of the road, sitting on a horse and being able to relax while on a horseback riding trail is a breathtaking experience.
You Can Improve Your Balance and Conditioning
Something you may not notice right away is that horseback riding can greatly improve your balance and conditioning, as well as your posture. There are many different muscles involved in horseback riding, and these muscles and your balance can be challenged even more if you’re on a horseback riding trail that has a lot of uneven terrain. Your core gets stronger, your leg muscles will be conditioned more, and you’ll notice you’re going to keep yourself more upright while on a horse because there’s no back you can lean against. More difficult or ambitious trails can help improve conditioning even more and can be a challenge to the most experienced riders, but it is all beneficial to you (and the horse) at the end of the day.
You Get to Socialize with Others- and Get Closer to the Horse!
One final benefit we’ll talk about that horseback riding trails bring to you is that you get the chance to socialize with other people and form a bond with the horse you ride. Even if you go to a horseback riding trail with people you already know, chances are you’ll have an instructor that helps you along the trail and guides you through it. You’ll get to know the instructor as well as socialize with your friends or family more so than while at the dinner table- especially because there aren’t as many distractions preventing this communication from happening. You’ll even be able to form a bond with the horse you’re riding, especially before and after the horseback riding trail. You get to give him treats, brush him, take the saddle and bridle off him, and give him lots of loving. Horses are gentle giants and love the petting and attention you’ll give them.
How to Find the Best Horseback Riding Trail for You
Now that you know about some of the many benefits that trail riding can provide, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks about selecting the perfect horseback riding trail for you and your needs. It can be difficult to pick out a horseback riding trail at first, but these tips will help you take the stress out of choosing.
- Know where you want to ride. Pennsylvania has a lot of different terrain and settings where you can go on a horseback riding trail. There are state parks, urban trails, wilderness areas, and designated forests that are all different. By having a little bit of an understanding on where you want to go horseback riding, you can narrow down your searches even further. For example, if you want to go to a national park, you may search for “Pennsylvania Horseback Riding Trails on National Parks in Pennsylvania” and get more personal results versus performing a general internet search for “Pennsylvania Horseback Riding Trails”.
- Consider the difficulty of the trail you’re considering. If you have an idea of a difficulty level that you and your party would prefer for a horseback riding trail, this could help you save even more time looking for a trail. If you’re newer to horseback riding, we recommend looking at a trail that is better for beginners or a trail that doesn’t have a lot of rough terrain. You could even look for a shorter trail, too. If you’re a seasoned trail rider, you can choose many more options when it comes to length of the trail and terrain you’ll be on.
- Figure out if there’s any special gear you need to bring to the trail. One of the most important pieces of gear that’s recommended for wear on any horseback riding trail is a helmet. This will help protect your head incase you fall or run into something. Besides a helmet, there may be special gear that’s recommended for a specific trail based on that trail itself. This can be anything like a water bottle, a seat cover, weather-specific clothing, or a saddle pack for food and other goodies. We recommend contacting the host of the trail ride to find out what you need to bring before you go on the ride.
- Create a budget of money you can spend on the trail riding experience before looking for trails. Horseback riding trails vary from trail to trail, and thus can cost different amounts of money. Having a budget in mind before you set out to select a trail can save you in the long run so you don’t find yourself looking at trails that are over your budget.
The Best Places to Trail Ride in PA
Now that you know a little more about the ins and outs of choosing a perfect trail for you, let’s take a look at some of the highest rated horseback riding trails in Pennsylvania. There’s an option out there for everyone!
Daisy Field Farm
Daisy Field Farm is located in the Western Pocono Mountains, near White Haven, Pennsylvania. This horseback riding experience is perfect for families, especially for families that have younger children. There are two options for horseback riding trails at Daisy Field Farm- a Family Trail Ride and The Pony Trail. The Family Trail ride allows each parent and older child to ride their own horse through the mountains and sight-see all the animals and nature there. Younger children can be put on a horse cart or a carriage and guided through the mountain. The Pony Trail is for children 4-10 years old and is a 15-minute trail ride that’s guided by the most experienced trail riders. You can even request to take a break at a wildlife preserve and have lunch there, if you wish. If you’re interested in Daisy Field Farm, you can contact them here through their website for more information.
Fairmount Park is home to 9200 acres and varying terrains and is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Fairmount Park has many different trails that can accommodate riders of all skill levels. It is perfect for beginners as well as experienced riders. There are many different trails to choose from, and you can even ride along Cobbs Creek, the Schuylkill River, and Wissahickon Creek Valley. Additionally, this park is open year-round, so if you want to take you and your horse out in the middle of the winter, you can!
Rolling Hills Ranch
Rolling Hills Ranch can be found in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, which is an excellent option for those who are in western PA. This 75-acre private farm is home to some of the best scenery you can find. It is perfect for family trips, individual getaways, and even company outings. Kids as young as 8 years old can ride their own horse through the whole ride. Trail rides have to be at least an hour long, at a price of $37/hour. There are discounts offered for families and groups as well, so bring as many as you want! Currently, you have to call and make a reservation for a trail ride. The hours of Rolling Hills Ranch are currently 9am-5pm 7 days a week. You can click this link for more information about Rolling Hills Ranch.
Coventry Equestrian Center
Coventry Equestrian Center offers trail rides as one of its many services. Located in Washington, Pennsylvania, you can find yourself riding the many miles of horseback riding trails it has to offer. Whether you’re looking to take a day trip to relax or take a long lunchbreak at work, Coventry is perfect for those of all skill levels. While you’re there, you can enjoy indoor and outdoor arenas as well, guided by some of the best trainers that PA has to offer. If you’re interested in reserving a trail ride, you can contact Coventry Equestrian Center at email@example.com.
We understand that choosing the perfect horseback riding trail can be difficult. However, armed with these tips and tricks, you are now ready to embark on the ride of your life in scenic Pennsylvania. Not only does horseback riding provide you and your horse with amazing benefits, but it’s also such a fun activity to take part in. By providing you with some of the best trail rides in Pennsylvania, you’ll be able to find one that’s perfect for you and anyone else you ride with.