Saddle Up: Where to Go Horseback Riding

Home » What's New » Saddle Up: Where to Go Horseback Riding
Fort Valley Ranch

The leaves have fallen, giving extraordinary, unobscured views throughout the Shenandoah Valley. It’s a great time to layer up and enjoy a brisk trail ride with some of the Valley’s best outfitters. Here’s our take on great places to go horseback riding.

Good for Families

At Jordan Hollow Stables in Stanley, guests are invited along a scenic trail ride, but not before meeting the welcome committee of farm animals and dogs. Then it’s on to meet your potential horse mate. Horses at Jordan Hollow Stables are rescues, but they’re well-tempered for the job at hand. Choose from a 90-minute walking pace ride, which children as young as 7 are able to enjoy, or opt for the walk/trot ride that requires children to be at least 12 years old. Rides are offered as a private group of at least three members or as a public group.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rachel Honecker (@rachel_honecker)

Did you know you can ride horses in Shenandoah National Park? Skyland Stables is your headquarters for such adventures. Enjoy a one-hour guided ride on horseback or pony to explore the park like never before. Typically, the stables are only open May through October, but that means you have plenty of time to plan for next year.

Cowboy Experiences

National Forest trail riding is quite an experience. The pristine woodlands of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest are your playground for a trail ride with Fort Valley Ranch in Fort Valley. Bring your own horse for easy access or take a guided ride for as little as an hour or as much as a full day. Stay overnight in a cabin or feel free to camp. Make it a real ranch experience for a memorable weekend away.

Okay, who has Yellowstone cowboy fever? If that’s you, come get your fix at North Mountain Outfitter in Swoope. The best way to embrace the cowboy way is the schedule an all-inclusive weeklong adventure to include not only horseback riding, but clay pigeon shooting and more. There are many opportunities in addition to that all-in experience, like cowgirl weekend, yoga ranch retreat, and the standard half- or full-day trail rides.

Good for Beginners

Just outside of Staunton is Star B Stables, where even a first-time rider will feel right at home. The slow pace of the ride is a benefit to newbies, as it gives the guide time to explain things like how to move with the horse, hold the reigns, and what happens if you give the horse a little kick. The guided trail rides last about an hour and are offered by appointment only Wednesday through Sunday.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by maddie corbin (@maddiecorbinn)

Secret Passage Ranch in Fort Valley specializes in equine therapy, and their philosophy is “no one is ever too young or too old to ride a horse!” Care is taken to match each rider with an appropriate horse, as well as an appropriate riding experience. If this isn’t your first “rodeo,” you might inquire about the battlefield rides. With planning, the wranglers at Secret Passage will plan a ride with a heaping side of history at Cedar Creek, Manassas, Brandy Station, and even Gettysburg, if you wish. You need only ask to receive the answer.

Young buckeroos interested in horseback riding have a getaway built just for them. Camp Horizons Equestrian Camp in Harrisonburg offers summer camps but also Girl Scout weekends and private pony parties. Trail riding is offered April 1 through November 7.

In Winchester, Magic Mountain Farm brings groups together for reserved trail rides on gentle Tennessee Walking Horses. Trail rides are available by the hour. Lessons and pony parties are also available.

See the Pros in Action

If you want to see professional riding, the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington is the perfect place to get an up-close view. From the graceful show horses to the rowdier cowboy-esque events, you can catch them all throughout the year.

Note that there are typically weight and age restrictions for horseback riding. Most stables require reservations. Inquire with each as to their specific policies.

Header Image: Fort Valley Ranch

Stay Updated

Get the latest events and things to do through our monthly e-newsletter.

Stay Updated

Get the latest events and things to do through our monthly e-newsletter.

Stay Updated

Get the latest events and things to do through our monthly e-newsletter.




Meetings & Travel Trade


Deals & Specials

Press Room

Film Industry

Contact Us

International Visitors

Stay Updated

Get the latest events and things to do through our monthly e-newsletter.