Did you know you can go horseback riding in New York City? While your NYC apartment probably won't accommodate a pet pony, you can indulge your child’s love of horses without leaving town. There are several options for family-friendly horseback riding and grooming lessons, plus drop-in trail riding experiences, which offer a unique way to experience the great outdoors in NYC.
While, sadly, there are no stables in Manhattan, you can go horseback riding in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. If that's not enough animal fun for your kid, consider booking an overnight at one of these local farms, and find more animal fun in our Guide to Family-Friendly Farms and Pick-Your-Own Fun near NYC.
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Kids get to help groom horses at the Bronx Equestrian Center.
Located in Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx Equestrian Center is great for even the youngest riders. The center offers pony rides every day year-round. A small fee gets two laps around the ring and you can simply drop in to enjoy. Walk-only trail rides are also available for riders of all skill levels. The center offers riding lessons and educational programs for children ages 6 and up that include lessons in grooming, equipment, safety, and saddling.
This sprawling 21-acre center is located on the west side of Van Cortlandt Park in Riverdale. There are no drop-in horse or pony rides here; however, the spot does offer private and group horseback riding lessons for children and adults, as well as an after-school program and summer camps.
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Ride through the heart of Brooklyn at Be•Brooklyn Equine at Prospect Park Stable.
We did a dedicated post about this Brooklyn stable back in 2011, and it's still the accessible, community-based horseback riding center it was then. Formerly known as Kensington Stables, it offers pony rides that go up and down the block, no appointment needed, for a nominal fee. One-hour trail rides along a 3.5-mile bridle path in Prospect Park are also available for children ages 11 and up. Families with younger children who want to ride can request a grounds person to assist for an additional fee. Lessons are available for ages 6 and up in both English and Western riding styles.
4. GallopNYC – Multiple Queens and Brooklyn Locations
Specializing in therapeutic programs for children and adults with disabilities as well as veterans and at-risk youth, GallopNYC has two Queens locations—one in Forest Hills and one in Howard Beach. The Forest Hills location includes a 30-horse barn near Forest Park with an indoor arena and party room. GallopNYC Sunrise Stables in Howard Beach features an outdoor arena and large stables. In addition to its therapeutic programs, GallopNYC offers limited opportunities for public riding and free horse education programs on a first-come, first-served basis. The public sessions help fund scholarships for GallopNYC’s therapeutic programming. So, while your little one is having fun and learning riding skills, you’ll feel good knowing you’re helping a worthy cause. GallopNYC also brings horses to Brooklyn's Prospect Park for therapeutic horseback riding.
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Take a trail ride at the Jamaica Bay Riding Academy.
This family-owned riding center in Brooklyn offers a host of riding experiences, including group instructional rides for ages 13 and up, private and group trail rides for a minimum of two people, and pony rides for ages 12 and under. It also offers a summer camp, birthday parties, and private events. Check the academy's website for a complete price list.
This Staten Island equestrian center offers horseback riding and lessons. Children and adults alike can take beginner-level lessons. Visitors to the stables also have the opportunity to learn about caring for horses. Call 646-436-2931 for more info.
Want to take a ride out of town? Find out where to go horseback riding on Long Island.
Photos courtesy of the stables/academies