More and more people are experiencing the pure joy of seeing the Valley by horseback. Here are some of the best outfits where you can mount up.
Fort Valley Ranch (LURAY)
Fort Valley Ranch is located just outside Luray. The Ranch’s Ann Heck told us, “Open year-round, Fort Valley ranch offers rides for the whole family; six years old and up can enjoy a one-hour ride, and we also have 1.5 hour and longer rides into the mountains, across creeks and into the George Washington National Forest. Hand-Led horse rides give families of all ages a chance to ride as well. For a family fun gathering sign up for a cocoa and sweets ride, which includes a branding of a wooden ornament, plus wagon rides. Families enjoy staying at the ranch in cabins with full kitchens and bathrooms and in RV and tent campsites. Reservations are required. “Due to COVID precautions,” Ann continued, “we ask that all guests wear masks while checking in and waiting for their turn to be loaded on the horse. Sanitizer is offered for those not wearing gloves. Our wranglers sanitize the saddles, horn, reins, and all touchpoints in between rides. Because of this, it takes a little longer in between and during the ride times. We ask for at least 30 minutes to allow for all of the check-in preparations.”
Jordan Hollow Stables (STANLEY)
Jordan Hollow Stables is located in Stanley, only minutes from Luray, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Owner Lisa Cubbage told us, “We have been busy offering rides to guests in the winter months on Saturdays and Mondays. We are taking COVID precautions, and being an outside business, it’s easy to maintain a social distance. It makes it so much easier to be outside.” Jordan Hollow is a family-owned and operated business offering trail rides for children and adults with all levels of riding experience. An experienced guide can take you on 150 acres of winding trails through a beautiful wooded area near the border of Shenandoah National Park. Many of Jordan Hollow’s horses are rescues from shelters. Need some instruction? Private lessons for all skill levels are available.
Star B Stables (STAUNTON)
Star B Stables is located near Staunton in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Here you can escape into the countryside for an hour while you enjoy a guided horse trail ride. Most of the riders have never ridden before or ride once a year on vacation. Experienced guides provide any assistance and guidance that you need to make you feel comfortable and relaxed so that you can have a great time horseback riding. Call 540-885-8855 for an appointment.
Skyland Stables (SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK)
Horseback and pony rides are available at Skyland Stables (mile 42.5 on Skyline Drive) currently scheduled to open April 9th. Guided horseback rides depart from the stables, cross over Skyline Drive, and travel past the Limberlost area through an old apple orchard. Reservations are required. Call 877-847-1919. You must stick to the route on guided trips, but you can also bring your own horse and go off on other trails. More than 180 miles of trails are open to horseback riding (yellow-blazed trails only). Review the horseback regulations here.
Virginia Horse Center
The Virginia Horse Center in Lexington encompasses 600 acres, 19 show rings a 4,000-seat stadium, eight barns, cross country, combined carriage driving courses, and more. A huge variety of horseshoes, competitions, events, training clinics, and seminars are offered.
Banner photo of Virginia Horse Center by John Henley/VTC