The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many Long Islanders to find social-distance-friendly ways to get out and appreciate the place they call home. One such way? Horseback riding.
Long Island is home to many equestrian trails that offer miles of endless adventures. Whether someone’s never been on the back of a horse before or they are a trail riding expert, this is an activity that allows people of all experience levels to enjoy all the beauty the region has to offer.
“Horses are for everyone,” says Diana Russo, owner of DDR Farm in Melville, which offers lessons and trail rides. “It’s usually total beginners and they go out with this look of horror and they come back with this happy everlast face.”
And the best part is, there’s no worrying about whether or not the horses are wearing masks!
BABYLON RIDING CENTER
Located at Belmont Lake State Park, this riding center provides a convenient location to learn a new skill and take in the beautiful scenery of the area. Riders have the option of a 30- or 60-minute lesson and reservations are required. 1500 Peconic Ave., West Babylon, 631-587-7778, babylonridingcenterny.com
BETHPAGE EQUESTRIAN CENTER
The self-proclaimed “premier spot for horseback riding on Long Island,” this equestrian center provides guided hour-long trail rides through Bethpage State Park with gorgeous views of the Bethpage State Park Golf Course. Rides are one hour long and operate every day, weather permitting. 499 Winding Rd., Old Bethpage, 516-845-1000, bethpageequestriancenter.com
BIG RIVER BARN RESCUE, INC.
This trail riding spot doubles as a horse rescue initiative. It helps the animals recover from any injuries and rehabilitate them for a new life where they can support themselves, namely through going out on trail rides. Located in the Muttontown Preserve, this hidden gem serves rides that range from an hour and 15 minutes to more than four hours upon request. 1864 Muttontown Rd., Syosset, 516-650-0016, bigriverbarn.com
Located in West Hills County Park, DDR Farm provides scenic trail rides all year round. Walk-ins are accepted, but a reservation is recommended to avoid a long wait. 412 Sweet Hollow Rd., Melville, 631-616-9656, ddrfarm.com
DEEP HOLLOW RANCH
The oldest working ranch in the United States, this family run business offers not only trail rides but one-of-a-kind beach rides along the Long Island Sound as well. Experience a beautiful coastline in the most extraordinary way. 8 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk, 631-668-2744, deephollowranch.com
NASSAU EQUESTRIAN CENTER
Located adjacent to the Muttontown Preserve, this equestrian center provides trail rides along miles of scenic paths. Walk or trot along in either an English or Western saddle here. Children with no prior riding experience are required to take one lesson before being sent out on the trail. 62 Route 106, Jericho, 516-342-1771, nassauequestriancenter.com
NATIVITY RIDING ACADEMY
This Ridge horseback riding spot is home to horses named “Nativity’s Angel” and “Nativity’s Prince,” who are known to provide a great trail riding experience. 48 Woodlot Rd., Ridge, 631-504-0085, nativity-riding-academy.com
NEW YORK EQUESTRIAN CENTER
Next to the 775 acres of Hempstead Lake State Park, New York Equestrian Center has 9 miles of dedicated bridle paths. From horseback, riders have a view of the beach, five lakes, the hills of the Hempstead Private Country Club golf course and more. 633 Eagle Ave., West Hempstead, 516-486-9673, mynyec.com
PARKVIEW RIDING CENTER
Located in Connetquot State Park, this equestrian center provides hour-long trail rides along the scenic Connetquot River State Park Preserve from sunrise to sunset. Rides are available by appointment and are offered from beginner to advanced levels. 989 Connetquot Ave., Central Islip, 631-581-9477, parkviewridingcenter.com
ROCKY POINT PINE BARRENS STATE FOREST
This state forest is home to five horseback riding trails that make up almost 20 miles of bridle paths in addition to trails for mountain biking, hiking, and more. NY-25A, Rocky Point, 800-456-2267, dec.ny.gov/lands/75900.html
For more guides about things to do on Long Island, visit longislandpress.com/category/everything-long-island