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Horseback Riding with the Family

Giddy up!

From the best guided trails to lessons for the kids, to its world-renowned racetrack and gorgeous polo fields, San Diego is a top destination for horse lovers.

By: Chelsea Gladden; Mommy Blogger at Breezy Mama

Saddle Up for a Trail Ride or Lesson

Whether you’re looking for an expert to lead the way or lessons for a novice, astride a horse is a prime vantage point for soaking up some scenery. Read on for locations around the county for horseback riding with the family.

Guided Trails

San Diego Beach Ride (aka Happy Trails)

Located in Imperial Beach, at the very south end of San Diego county, is San Diego Beach Rides. Here, guided tours take riders on the only stretch of beach in the county where horses are allowed. Enjoy the fresh breezes as you admire gorgeous white water waves as they hit the sand. Happy Trails also offers lessons, camps and more.

Bright Valley Farms

Take in 52,000 gorgeous acres on a guided tour around the Bright Valley Farms, located in South/Eastern San Diego. Riders must be ages 7 and up and tours stay on the grounds. Catch flowers in bloom as you enjoy mountain views. Lessons, camps and pony rides are also available.

Sweetwater Horses

If you're in town for a longer stay, horses are available for lease at this one stop destination in San Diego's East County. Or take the guided tour through beautiful Bonita trails. In addition to lessons and training, host a birthday party or enjoy the hunter/jumper shows.

Camp Pendleton Stepp Stables

In the furthest point of North County San Diego, active duty military personnel, family members, retirees and MCCS and DoD employees can enjoy guided trail rides on the military base of Camp Pendleton. Private and group lessons are also offered.

The Ranch at Bandy Canyon

Nestled among a gorgeous Eucalyptus tree-lined setting in Escondido, The Ranch at Bandy Canyon offers guided trail rides as well as a pool and spa to end the day. With 144 acres, cottages are available for overnight stays as well. A popular destination for weddings, prepare to have the setting take your breath away. And for a bonus, horse drawn carriages are available for a group rate.

Lessons and Camps

Lessons throughout the county can include all types: English, Western, Trail, etc. Below are a few of the camps to choose from in San Diego County for families to learn how to ride before hitting the trails.

Silver Spur Riding School

Located centrally in Carmel Valley, Silver Spur Riding School is for the horse novice looking to learn how to ride. Known for their experienced instructors—including Lindsay LaPlante, an AQHA World Champion rider—lessons include arena riding, versus trail.

Raintree Ranch

Famous for their pies, Julian is about an hour east from downtown San Diego and a popular destination for families to pick apples. Worth the visit when in town, Julian's Raintree Ranch, a part of the YMCA, offers family horse camps. Their summer horse camp is offered to ages 9-16 and is a specialty overnight camp that teaches horseback riding as well as caring for the horses.

Rawhide Ranch

Head to Bonsall for a family hands-on experience of living in the Wild West. Families are ranch hands for a full experience including horseback riding. Or sign up the kids for a summer camp of riding lessons that include Western riding and the option for Vaulting lessons (gymnastics on a horse). A week long camp, kids ages 7-15 will also be introduced to a rodeo, roping and more.

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