Feel like grabbing the kids and getting your “giddy-up” on? New Jersey offers miles of beautiful trails and scenic countryside to explore on horseback, no matter what your level of riding skill. Guided tours make it easy for “first-timers”, but we’ve included locations for more experienced riders as well. Ride ‘em, cowboys (and girls)!
Double D Ranch (Blairstown)
Yeah, the name sounds more like a lingerie size than a stable, but the folks at Double D take horsin’ around seriously, and kindly reassure you that your riding experience will meet your expectations. With horses and guides for all levels, even complete novices, Double D delivers a fun ride for your whole family. Come as you are, but it’s preferable if you wear shoes or boots with heels. Sunday thru Saturday 9am to 6pm. Prices range from $35 for a one hour ride to $90 for a half day. For more info, call 908-459-9044.
Legends Riding Stable (Vernon)
With nice, quiet horses for riders of all experience levels, Legends introduces your kids wonderfully to the world of horseback riding. And if the “big guys” are just too big for your guys, they have "Chocolate Chip", the friendliest little pony you'll ever meet. Legends specializes in birthday parties and plans to add a petting zoo this summer. Fridays thru Tuesday, 9am to 5pm, closed Wednesday and Thursdays. For more info and prices, call 973-827-8332.
Equestrian Enter-Prizes (Hackettstown)
The name of the place is a mouthful, but with over 100 acres of manicured trails, a riding ring and a half-mile track, Equestrian Enter-prizes lives up to its fancy-schmancy title. A full-service equine facility located in the scenic foothills of Warren County, they also offer riding lessons, boarding, trail-blazing paths for the more experienced horseman, and limited quality sale horses. All trail rides start with a mini-lesson in the riding ring to acclimate you with your horse for a more relaxing, enjoyable ride. One, two, and three hour rides starting at $40. All-day rides and customized "romantic couples" packages available (Father’s Day, anyone?) For more info, call 908-441-2316.
Echo Lakes Stable (Newfoundland)
Echo Lakes Stable, home of the exciting “nighttime trail rides”, invites those with a love for horses and an adventuresome spirit to come check them out. Their trail rides follow the paths of the ancient Indians from mountainside to swiftly running streams to centuries-old rock walls. They do require a little honesty, though; for your own safety and enjoyment, they want to know the real deal on your riding ability. Smart. Children must be at least 7 years old to ride and riders must weigh below 225 pounds including clothing and shoes. Prices range from $20 for a ½ hour trail ride to $150 for a one hour hayride. Lessons, night rides, and pony rides available. For more info, call 973-697-1257.
Timber Creek Ranch (Berlin)
Don’t go by their web site information, which is minimal at best, instead go straight to the pictures. Gorgeous. Trail rides are offered hourly from 10am to 4pm Saturdays and Sundays. Children must be at least 7 years old to ride. $20 per person for a 50 minute ride. For more info and reservations (recommended), call 856-262-3800.
Washington Stables (Sayreville)
You gotta love a riding stable whose catch-phrase is “Come horse around with us!” Washington Stables stands out for its size (over 500 acres of trails in the beautiful Sayreville Capik Nature Preserve) and its package: “The Lesson & Trail Ride Experience”. For $60, you get a 30-minute lesson and a one hour trail ride ($114 for two people, add $52 for each additional person). A great day trip for couples and families. Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 3:30pm, weekdays by reservation only. Call 908-705-0128.
Spring Valley Equestrian Center (Newton)
Spring Valley has been offering high quality English and Western riding lessons to children and adults for years. The school horses are well trained and child-safe. Their superb trail rides (by reservation only) are available every day and offer a fantastic view of the Appalachian Trail Ridge to High Point. More experienced riders and horse owners who want to polish up their performance for the show ring take seminars prior to the show season. Children must be at least 8 years old to take a trail ride, but “under-8”’s can take a half-hour farm ride on horseback. Trail rides $30 per hour, farm rides $25 for ½ hour. Call 973-383-3766 for operating hours and reservations.
Yellow Rock Horse Farm (Belvidere)
No frills here, not even a website, but you can’t beat the price, $15 per person for a one hour ride. We also like their claim, “Unguided horseback riding in the wild!” Oh yeah. Yee-haw. And WHY do I see America’s Funniest Home Videos in our family’s near future? 10am to 5pm weekdays, 10am to 7pm weekends all year round. Call for reservations 908-475-4732.
Silver Bit and Spur Farm (Whitehouse Station)
This was my favorite horse farm, due to the following claim: “NO trail guides! You set the pace, but don’t worry—you can’t get lost. The horses like their home and know how to get back.” Isn’t that the best?! But not only do they have smart horses, they also have a picnic ground, trampoline, and playground. Pony rides for kids under 7. Reservations required. Monday thru Friday, rides start on the hour from 10am to 3pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm. $40 for an hour-long trail ride, a group of 4 or more is $35 per person per hour. For more info and reservations, call 908-534-4010.