Top 10 Great Places to Ride a Horse

Horseback riding on the beach in Suzano, Brazil with Tonico of Sucandi Farm
Horseback riding on the beach in Suzano, Brazil with Tonico of Sucandi Farm

Why go horseback riding?

It’s environmentally friendly and green (in more ways than one)

Like petting a dog, riding a horse out on the beach, the open range or through a river in Mexico makes your blood pressure go down. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on this blog!

Horseback riding vacations are a great way to bond with your girlfriends

"Sunriver horses to pasture"
Central Oregon is one of the top 10 great places to ride a horse.

Top 10 best places to ride a horse

Bend, Oregon

The high desert of central Oregon has some of the best horseback riding along mountain rivers like the Deschutes, offering up a picture perfect back drop with the Three Sisters mountain range. Sunriver Resort is where the Brown family spends our summer vacation.  I head to Sunriver Stables for my horseback riding vacation, along with a visit to Sunriver Resort’s Sage Springs Spa.

"Echo Valley Ranch"
Clinton, Canada in British Columbia offers some of the best places for a horseback riding vacation. Try a cowgirl getaway at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

British Columbia, Canada

Remember the Marlboro Man commercials? Those television commercials were filmed in the wide open spaces of British Columbia, Canada.  From back to basics open range riding at Big Bar Guest Ranch to the luxurious Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, Clinton, Canada is an excellent place to ride a horse.  Clinton, Canada is outside of Kamloops, British Columbia. You’ll find lots of cowboys and cowgirls here, with plenty of horseback riding vacation options to suit every budget. Heck, you can even sleep in a tee pee at Big Bar Guest Ranch.

Fjording mare Øvre-Eide Farm"
Horseback riding on a Fjord horse with Øvre Eide Farm in Bergen, Norway is one of the top 10 places to ride a horse.

Bergen, Norway

With steep hillsides and mountainous terrain, it’s good to be riding a sturdy and confident horse. There is no better horse than a Fjord horse when it comes to horseback riding in Norway. One of my horseback riding vacation highlights was a trip to Bergen, Norway and Øvre-Eide Farm.

Cruise ship to Bergen, Norway

Did you know that you can leave your cruise ship in Bergen, head to town for a horseback riding adventure with Øvre-Eide Farm and make it back to your cruise ship in time for departure? What a trip!

"Kelly & Joe Vitorino"
One of the best places to go on a horseback riding vacation is the Big Island with Kelly and Joe Vitorino of Hawaii Paso Finos.

Big Island, Hawaii

Imagine riding a Paso Fino horse on the Big Island of Hawaii with whale plumes spouting in the distance. With Hawaii Paso Finos this dream may become a reality.  Owners Joe and Kelly Vitorino, originally from Northern California, decided it would be a good idea to bring Paso Fino horses to the Big Island.  The couple now call Hawaii home and want to share the island’s history with guests on this unique Big Island horseback riding vacation.

"Nancy Brown Rancho de los Caballeros"
A horseback riding vacation in the Sonoran desert at Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona is sure to make the top 10 great places to ride a horse.

Wickenburg, Arizona

Saguaro cactus jut from the rock hard earth as far as the eye can see in Wickenburg, Arizona. This is not the place where Buffalo roam. Instead, look for Red tailed hawks, bobcats, road runners and the occasional feral burro wandering the Sonoran desert. Rancho de los Caballeros, in Wickenburg, Arizona is where multi-generations of families come for horseback riding vacations.  This all inclusive ranch also offers team penning opportunities for girlfriend getaways and a trip to the spa at the end of the day.

"Horseback riding Pebble Beach"
One of the top 10 great places to ride a horse is next to Pebble Beach in California.

Monterey, California

Nothing says an amazing day of horseback riding like riding on the beach with the wind in your hair, the smell of the sea in the air and waves crashing in the distance. If you find yourself in Monterey, California, you might not get to go horseback riding with the original hombre, Clint Eastwood, but a day spent at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center is well worth your time.  You’ll go on a horseback riding vacation to remember, from trotting through Del Monte Forest, to walking by golf carts on the way to 17 Mile Drive next to California’s Pacific Ocean.

"Kate Levanger Yellowstone Creek"
Yellowstone National Park is one of the top 10 great places to ride a horse. Here Kate Levanger crosses Yellowstone Creek in Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky and Darby, Montana

Montana is all about wide open spaces. What better place to go on a horseback riding vacation than Montana? I was fortunate to ride in the Bitterroot Mountain range of Darby, Montana. Triple Creek Ranch owner Barbara Barrett hosts the Klicks for Chicks endurance ride. If you love horseback riding during the day, combined with luxury lodging, gourmet dining and wine tasting, you will want to sign up for this adult-only horseback riding vacation adventure outside of Missoula, Montana.

"Big Boy"
Wildcatter Ranch in Graham, Texas is a great place for horseback riding along the Brazos River. Make time to visit with Big Boy, a Texas Longhorn.

Graham, Texas

Texas is known for its oil wells, cowboys and horses. The Wildcatter Ranch, 90 minutes northwest of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, is the place for horseback riding vacations alongside the Brazos River. This Graham, Texas guest ranch takes riders on trail rides in the North Texas Hill Country. If you make it to Wildcatter Ranch make time to stop and feed one of their Longhorn Cattle.

"Haddie Tal Alisal Ranch"
Alisal Ranch Wrangler Haddie Tal leads a horseback riding vacation to Alisal Lake in Solvang, California.

Santa Barbara, California

You love horseback riding, but not all of your travel companions share your passion and love of horses. No worries! Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is a full-service guest ranch for couples, families and family reunions. Trust me when I say that there is something for everyone at The Alisal Ranch.

"Francisco J. Barrena"
Francisco J. Barrena demonstrates his horsemanship skills at Cuadra San Francisco in Cabo Real, Mexico. The equestrian school is a great place to ride in the mountains or on the beach.

Los Cabos, Mexico

Sometimes people think of under fed, tired horses wasting away in the hot Mexican sun when they think of horseback riding in Los Cabos, Mexico. I was over-the-moon with excitement when I arrived at Cuadra San Francisco Ranch in Cabo Real, Mexico for a horseback riding vacation. The father/son duo of Francisco J. and Vallente F. Barrena  demonstrated their horsemanship skills with Andalusian, Lippizaner and Lusitano horses. Vallente even danced with his horse!

Great places to ride a horse

There are so many great places to take a horseback riding vacation. Where are your favorite places to ride a horse? Leave a comment and I’ll try to visit sometime.

Top photo courtesy of Florian Pass, Sucandi Farm. Hawaii Paso Finos photo courtesy of Winston Welborn. Rancho de los Caballeros photo courtesy of Melanie Bess Hogan, Saddleback Photography. Cuadra San Francisco photo courtesy of their Facebook page.

15 thoughts on “Top 10 Great Places to Ride a Horse”

  1. @Norm
    Thanks for your comment, Norm. I sing the praises of Echo Valley Ranch to whomever will listen to me. Horseback riding in your neck of the woods – and meadows – was a treat for this California girl.

  2. Hi Nancy

    I’ve yet to ride in Texas and Montana but they’re definitely on my bucket list of horse riding holiday destinations. If the list was to grow past the ‘Top Ten’ could I add Australia to that list. Have you ridden in Australia before? With the combination of wide open spaces, Australian Stock Horses and the Australian’s sense of humour I think you would fall in love with this odd-shaped island of ours. One of the most popular riding destinations for visitors is ‘The Man from Snowy River’ ride in the alpine country of Victoria. It follows the footsteps of this cult horse film and is an exceptional high mountain journey.

  3. @Kate
    I would love to go horseback riding in Australia. With your blog recommendation of the Driza-bone riding jacket, I could be “The Woman from Snowy River. In addition to Australia, riding Safari on horseback is on my bucket list. What a trip.

  4. Well, the truth that riding, anywhere, is very good. And for me the place to mount 11 is the Dominican Republic, others say it is the number 1, but everyone has their own idea.

  5. Horseback riding in Northern Italy.
    Fly to Milan Malpensa or Turin.
    You’ll be riding around this beautiful area of lakes, woodland hills, mountains with stunning panoramic views, great Hotel staying by the lake, delicious Italian food and wine tasting.
    Come and try!

  6. I love riding horses and I’m looking for a spot to go this summer. I own my own horse and was hoping to take him. Would these places allow you to bring your own horse and do the have hiking trails for poeple too? Also do you know of other good places in California?

  7. @Bethany
    You don’t say where you are located in California. I’m assuming you plan to trailer your horse to a location? Most of these places are set up for renting horses and would prefer you not bring your own horse. There is a place in Gold Country that I wrote about; Enchanted April B&B in Coloma allows you to bring your horse along and has plenty of hiking trails, as well. Same goes for the Half Moon Bay location. Have fun!

  8. Visited Theodore Roosevelt historic park in western ND a couple weeks ago with the kids. We went on a trail ride inside the park. It was great, but like you, I’m always looking for places I can go with our own horses. Found out that they have equestrian campsites with pens where you can keep your horses. Plus, the park ranger told us the difference between other parks and a historic park. He said,”other parks say stay on the trail. We just say, HAVE FUN!” How I understood it, you can just take off and ride all over the park. Not for certain if you can camp out there WITH your horse wherever you want, but it sure sounded like it.
    Looking for places closer to texas, definently keeping this one in mind for later.

  9. @Brian
    I have yet to travel to North Dakota. As Teddy Roosevelt was a rough rider, it makes sense that the park would offer horseback riding. Glad you had fun on your horseback riding vacation!

  10. Forgot to mention that there’s wild horses roaming there along with buffalo. Saw some. The lady that ran the riding stables only stayed there in the summer. She had a teaching job in another town. Anyways, the old house that she stays in while there (at the stables), used to be part of a ranch that was right next to Roosevelt’s ranch. No record of it, but he most probably visited his neighbor.

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