Are you a lifelong horse lover who wants to learn how to ride? Or perhaps a seasoned equestrian in search of a trail to bring your horse? No matter your level of experience, there are plenty of ways to spend time with the majestic creatures around Virginia. Here are six options for lessons, trail rides, classes, and more.
Did you know the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (commonly known as the W&OD) is nicknamed the skinniest park in Virginia? The paved trail runs 45 miles between Shirlington and Purcellville. Horse lovers will adore the 32-mile gravel trail for riders that runs adjacent to the main trail. The equestrian trail does occasionally cross minor streams and waterways and disappear into brush. Shirlington through Purcellville, free
Those who want to take horses for a walk can enjoy over 10.5 miles of bridle trails. There are about seven miles of horse trails and a trailer parking lot at Lost Mountain, on the east side of Route 17. On the west side, there are almost four miles of bridle trails accessible via the Corporal Morgan Trail. And don’t forget: State law requires visitors to carry a copy of a negative Coggins report, a blood test to identify if a horse is a carrier of Equine Infectious Anemia, for each horse brought into the park. 11012 Edmonds Ln., Delaplane, park entrance $10 plus $4 equestrian fee
If you’re an inexperienced horse lover, the Fairfax County Park Authority offers four-week classes for beginners and “advanced beginners” ages 8 to 14 at Frying Pan Farm Park. There are also therapeutic horseback riding classes open to adults and children over 4. Registration for Fall sessions opens August 1. 2709 West Ox Rd., Herndon, $399
Grovespring Farm is a Recognized Riding Academy with the U.S. Hunter Jumper Assocation. The venue offers lessons for young riders and adults, which can teach participants the positions and controls involved in horse riding, how to care for horses, and the etiquette of foxhunting. School horses are educated and safe to ride, according to Grovespring’s website. 11323 Grovespring Rd., Culpeper, lesson prices vary
Royal Horseshoe Farm offers guided scenic trail rides all year, on trails that pass through the Shenandoah Valley’s meadows, hills, and woods. Trail guides lead each ride. Experiences will vary depending on the riders’ level of experience and the condition of the trails, but could range from gentle pastures to narrow, steep, and wooded paths. In addition to scenic rides, Royal Horsehoe Farm offers lessons in both indoor and outdoor areas. 509 Morgan Ford Rd., Front Royal, rides starting at $50, lessons starting at $40/hour
Turkey Hill Stables is a riding facility that offers many services for equestrians. The stables have access to over 10,000 acres of riding lands with trails and both indoor and outdoor arenas for riding and training. The company offers personal lessons, teaching clinics, and horse training. 268 Fletcher’s Mill Rd., Woodville
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