Explore some of the most scenic places in the Bay Area on horseback. A day at one of these locations will surely tire out even your most energetic equestrian.
Five Brooks Stables. A full-service riding stable in Point Reyes National Seashore specializing in guided trail rides of varying length. Explore coastal forests, meadows and beaches. 415-663-1570. http://www.fivebrooks.com/index.htm.
San Francisco and the Peninsula
Mar Vista Stables. Located in Daly City, Mar Vista offers trail rides to Ocean Beach in San Francisco where you will likely see coastal wildlife. 650-991-4224. http://www.marvistastable.com.
Moss Beach Ranch. Just 20 miles south of San Francisco in San Mateo County, Moss Beach Ranch boasts 4,200 acres of trails. 650-728-0700. http://www.mossbeachranch.com/index.html.
Nola Giddings Peruvian Paso. Located in El Sobrante, Nola Giddings offers rides through hundreds of miles of East Bay regional parks and trails. 510-758-7786. http://www.ngpph.com/index.html.
Garrod Farms. Take a ride that starts 25 minutes from downtown San Jose to explore the Saratoga foothills. 408-867-9527. http://www.garrodfarms.com.
Horseback riding for families with special needs
Monterey Bay Horsemanship and Therapeutic Center. This is a fully-inclusive equestrian center located just south of Santa Cruz. Dedicated to making sure that no one is left out, they offer specialized programs customized to fit each individual’s needs. Programs include equine facilitated learning, equine assisted behavioral modification and quadriplegic trail rides. 831-761-1142. http://www.mbhorsecenter.com.
Trails to Success. Located in Martinez, Trails to Success is run by neuropsychologists who have created a horse therapy program for kids between the ages of 6 and 18. This innovative program seeks to foster social skills for kids struggling with developmental and emotional challenges. They offer a range of summer camps, after-school groups, and one-on-one sessions. 925-256-4400. http://trailstosuccess.com/index.php.
B.O.K Ranch Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program. B.O.K. provides horseback riding lessons to adults and children with special needs in Woodside. They have been serving riders with more than 30 kinds of disabilities since 1985. They offer adaptive riding lessons with varying levels of support. 650-366-2265. http://www.bokranch.com/index.html.
Mallory Pickett is a freelance writer and student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism