There’s no better view than the one from a saddle. The rhythmic pattern of horse hooves on a sandy path melts away all my stress of daily life. Plus, a sure-footed horse can carry us to places off the beaten path through scenic fields, alongside streams, and into the foothills of the Adirondack and Catskill mountains.
Exploring CapNY By Horse
From north to south, the capital region has great places to ride horses. Horseback trail riding is my favorite way to explore CapNY. Stables that rent horses for guided tours means you don’t have to own one to enjoy riding. Spring, summer and fall are the most popular times of year. Some barns offer winter rides as the weather allows.
Each trail riding location operates a little differently. Walk-ups can be accommodated at some places, where others require reservations. It’s always best to call ahead to confirm rates, availability and age requirements.
Riding North In Saratoga and Warren Counties
In the small town of Hadley, residents crowded the streets in early 1951. They were eagerly awaiting the arrival of a special rail delivery: a train car carrying 30 wild horses was arriving from Montana. As the horses stepped out of the train, wranglers were waiting. They drove the band of horses five miles north along Route 9N, through small towns, and up to Painted Pony Ranch. This was the first and only delivery of horses to the Adirondack area by railcar. But Painted Pony was far from the first riding ranch in the region.
The first Adirondack Mountain dude ranch opened in the 1920s. At the industry’s peak, there were almost 40 dude ranches and 19 horses-for-hire stables in the area. These three trail riding stables have been an integral part of CapNY cowboy culture for decades, and are favorite places to ride for non-horse people and equestrians alike.
- Bennett’s Riding Stable – Opened in 1942, Lake Luzerne
- Ruggiero’s Riding at The Painted Pony Ranch – Opened in 1953, under current ownership since 1999, Lake Luzerne (Rates: $68/hour guided trail ride. Pony rides and mini-horse rides $22.)
- Rydin-Hy – Opened in 1940, Warrensburg
Horseback Riding Near Albany and Troy
Not far from the bustling downtowns of Albany and Troy are acres of woods and open fields, which are perfect for exploring by horseback. Unforgettable aromas waft from wildflowers in the summer. And if you’re lucky, there’s a possibility of seeing deer, turkey and other small wildlife. Best of all, it’s possible to trade in city sidewalks for quiet trails less than 25 miles from Albany or Troy at these three great places to ride horses:
- Krumkill Stables – Albany (Rate: $50 per hour)
- Cinch ‘em Up Stables – Stephentown (Rates: Individual rates: $20 to $50 per rider, Group rates: $32 to $47 per rider, Group pony rides and birthday parties pricing upon request.)
- One Trick Pony – Johnsonville (Rates: Group rates: $125 per rider for a half day. Overnight getaway and party package options available.)
Catskill by Horseback
Though not as large as the Adirondacks, the Catskill Forest Preserve has nearly 290,000 acres of protected land, beckoning horseback riders of all ages and levels of experience. Unique from other riding destinations, stables in the southern part of the Capital Region offer multiple attractions for all ages.
Exotic animals, camping and paintball are part of the experience at the Bailiwick Animal Park and Riding Stables in Catskills. Mix and match activities for a full-day of family fun or make it into an overnight getaway.
- Bailiwick Animal Park & Riding Stables – Catskill (Rates: Start at $10 for pony rides. One hour trail rides are $65 and a half-day is $180. Additional length rides available.)
Written by: Katie Navarra
Katie Navarra is a professional writer based in the Capital Region. She has written for Popular Science, The Motley Fool Blueprint, Western Horseman, Horse & Rider and others. She is also a life and executive career coach who helps clients find clarity and success in and out of the office. Learn more at katienavarra.com.