There are few better ways to experience the West than by horseback, just like our forefathers. Horseback riding is incredibly popular in our area, and is one of the top activities I book for my guests in the summertime. There are many different types of rides to fit all experience levels, from first timers to experienced guests who want to try a cattle drive!
One Hour – This is a great introductory ride for guests who have never ridden a horse before. It’s a great way to get a feel for horseback riding, and is especially great for smaller children who may have shorter attention spans.
One & 1/2 Hour – The one hour is great, however the 1.5 hour is even better for beginners, in my opinion. You’re still not on a horse for a very long time (it’s still a half day excursion, door to door) however the extra half hour allows you to explore so much more! You can reach a further photo op spot, see different kinds of trails, make loops instead of out and back, and really enjoy your time horseback riding. It’s worth the extra time and money for sure!
Two Hour – Still suitable for all ages and ability levels, the two hour tours go further, see more, and explore different trails than the shorter tours. I would recommend it personally for families with older children or all adults.
Advanced Tours – depending on the stable you choose, there are different kind of advanced tours from advanced trail rides with trotting, cattle drives, backcountry rides, and more! Advanced riders should have experience on a horse and be comfortable with these majestic animals.
Pony Rides – If you have small children with you who want to have a horse experience, each of these stables have offerings for pony rides. Some are longer than others, some are paid while others are not. Depending on how much your child loves horses and how much time and money you are willing to invest would change my recommendation. Bearcat Stables and Triple G Outfitters have complimentary pony rides, while Vail Stables and Beaver Creek Stables are paid. All are first come, first served however. Always check the time of availability as well, and I would recommend calling before heading over to make sure the stables aren’t going to be swamped when you are planning on arriving and the time you’d prefer also works for them!
These stables are in the Vail Valley area, however I’ve ridden with some fantastic stables outside of our main area. If you are taking a day trip and are looking for horseback ride while you are visiting your location, reach out to me and I can provide suggestions in other locations like Leadville, Glenwood, Kremmeling, Sweetwater and other surrounding areas!
Located in Cordillera, with trails headed up and over Bellyache Ridge, Bearcat Stables has gorgeous views of the Vail Valley and is locally owned and operated.
Under new ownership, the Beaver Creek Stables is known for their ride up to Beaver Lake, as well as rides all along Beaver Creek Mountain. You can also take a horse up to Beano’s Cabin as an addition to your summer dinner at the cabin.
Based out of 4 Eagle Ranch, Triple G is family owned and operated, and has trails throughout the ranch and in the Muddy Pass area.
Vail Stables boasts gorgeous views of Vail Mountain. It is slightly more expensive than the other two due to their prime location, just outside of the main Vail Village. They are also known for their Goat Yoga!
Each stable has their own booking policy, however most are either 24 or 48 hour cancellation policy, and require a credit card to hold the reservation. Typically, gratuity for your guide is not included unless you are a party of 6 or more, so don’t forget to tip your guide. You’ll be able to spend time with the horses after your ride too, so make sure you bring your camera. Each stable does have a weight limit for the safety of their horses as well, and is typically between 220 – 240 lbs.
Make sure you check the minimum age to ride with your stable—by CO law, children must be 6 to ride, however each stable has their own rules around this regulation. Sometimes it’s 6, sometimes 7 or 8 so make sure to check!
Rain does not always mean a cancelled ride. Tours will go out if there is a light rain, and if there is a major storm the stables will let it pass before headed out on the trail. Check with the stable you choose for their specific weather policy.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
When you go horseback riding, you’ll want to wear long pants and closed toe shoes, no matter the weather. It’s incredibly uncomfortable horseback riding in shorts, and most stables do not allow it. Jeans are not required, however they will protect you the most from chafing. Boots are also not required, however if you have shoes with a heel they will help you stay in the stirrups better. You’ll have a little storage sack on your horse for small belongings—yes, it’s small! Think camera & poncho! Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen, and to check the weather in the morning for any surprises Mother Nature may throw your way.