Treat your body, mind and soul to a fun and relaxing ride on top of one of the world’s most noble creatures. Though most visitors spend their Florida vacation sunning, swimming and sailing, horse trail riding can provide the escape you had in mind when you decided to go on vacation. On your horseback journey, you can allow your mind to wander while your eyes explore the awe inspiring nature, your lungs take in the fresh air and your spirit finds peace in letting go, if just for a little while. You need not be an expert rider, as most ranches will provide a guide, whose lead and instructions make it an easy going experience. Your physical body will thank you, for though riding may appear passive, you will utilize balance, muscle strength and deep respiration while riding. It can truly be a zen and holistic experience.
Most horseback riding activities are a slow amble through trails, however for more experienced riders, heart-thumping, wind on your face, thundering hooves beneath you options are available- just ask your guide! Check out these two horse back riding venues, known for their great customer care and wonderful, respectful treatment of their horses:
The lush and very green Tree Tops park in Davie is home to very old and tall live oaks filled with ferns and air plants. Featuring a great lookout tower for birdwatching, picnic areas, a myriad of natural walking trails, 1,000 foot boardwalk beside a freshwater marsh, 23 acres of waterways, playgrounds, bike paths, a marina for fishing and canoe and paddle boat rental, and historical areas where the Tequesta Indians inhabited, this park spans more than 350 acres. However, the most memorable pastime by far at this beautiful park is the equestrian activities. Developed in cooperation with the South Florida Trail Riders Association, a gorgeous network of scenic trails are devoted entirely to horseback riding and go on for more than seven miles.
Visitors may use horses provided by the private company on site, AA-D Horse Adventures. Trail rides are guided and pony rides are also available. The outfit operates on Saturdays, Sundays, and some holidays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided trail rides are $35 for one hour or $25 for a half-hour. Pony rides are $1.50 for one turn or $5 for four times around. If you would like a weekday ride, contact AA-D for an appointment and you will be sure to have the place almost to yourself.
Known as the largest, most experienced riding stable in South Florida, Bar-B-Ranch premier ranch offers various activities, including horseback riding lessons in both Western and English styles and its very popular scenic guided trail rides. They boast horses for every level of riding experience, so the whole family is covered. Guided trail rides take place on the breathtaking Robbins Open Space Preserve, which is public land and a true representation of old Florida. Only ten minutes away and surrounding the ranch, this 160 acre preserve affords visitors the rare visit into what is the last remaining oak hammocks in this part of the state. The guided trail rides are $50 for one half hour. Longer tours are available. The ranch operates between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Keep in mind all riders must wear closed-toe shoes, long pants are recommended, and a cowboy hat completes the look, if you packed one.