I’m a California girl. I love nothing better than riding on the back of a horse through fields of flowers or being able to see the Pacific Ocean while on a trail ride. If you are like me, you’re probably interested in learning how you can take a horseback riding vacation in San Luis Obispo wine country. I had the opportunity to take a private ride through the Pismo Preserve in Pismo Beach, California with Central Coast Trail Rides.
Brian Hallett, co-owner of Central Coast Trail Rides, already had the horses unloaded and saddled when I pulled into the gravel parking lot. This particular ride had us riding through 900 acres of open space with The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County. This wonderful organization saved this beautiful ranch land from turning into houses. Instead, thanks to their stewardship, equestrians, bike riders and hikers are able to enjoy miles of wooded trails looking out to Pismo Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Central Coast Trail Rides is a family-owned operation based in Creston, California. Brian and his wife, Crystal, saw a need for a mobile horseback riding service on California’s central coast. “We have many great partnerships in the area, so we’re able to offer trail rides and horseback rides on the beach, from Paso Robles to San Luis Obispo and everywhere in between. We match where you’re staying, or are headed, with a trail ride unique to you.”
“We always ride in a loop,” says Brian. “This way, our trail rides are continuous and flowing. Each horseback ride offers something different. We have numerous rides to offer; same goes for terrain and the pace of the ride. We even offer customized lunches.”
When I asked Brian what makes him excited to take a horseback riding vacation day after day, his response was that he loved introducing guests to the horses and the animals on the Horsetail Ranch.
“We’re lucky enough to live and work here. We’re able to offer these unique rides on California’s Central Coast.”
Some of their rides include Halter Ranch Vineyard, Calcareous Vineyard, Cass Vineyard & Winery, as well as lakefront and backside trail rides around Santa Margarita Lake. All rides offer amazing views and lush trail environments.
Rides range from one hour trail rides to half day horseback riding packages. All rides include complimentary wine tasting at nearby, local wineries. On my ride through Pismo Preserve, a group of hikers were enjoying a bottle of coastal Pinot Noir.
There are so many things to do in SLO Wine Country, from wine tasting to horseback riding. Next time I think I’ll add a bottle of wine in my saddle bag, along with a baguette and some cheese!
Need to know:
Speaking of beverages, all rides include saddle bags for carrying water and storing your phone or camera. Brian doubles as photographer and naturalist during your trail ride, as he was born and raised on the central coast. The horses are primarily ridden in Western saddles, but the company is able to accommodate English riders, too. Riding ages are flexible, as they offer Buckaroo saddles for kids (with short stirrups.) Additionally, Central Coast Trail Rides will pony riders as needed. The company is flexible when it comes to weight limits, i.e. if you are a large, athletic person, they may be able to accommodate a higher weight limit with a larger horse.
Central Coast Trail Rides offers on-site accommodations at Horsetail Ranch. The villa sleeps 12 and the cabin sleeps six. Trail rides at Montana de Oro and Pismo Preserve are in the planning stages. Check back for my review of Horsetail Ranch and beach horseback rides.
If You Go:
Central Coast Trail Rides (805) 610-1306
Central Coast Trail Rides horseback riding review, video and photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of SLO Wine Country while researching stories for Pismo Beach and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, however, all opinions are my own.