Here are the best spots for trail riding with kids. Consider the option to meander through beautiful forest trails by horseback, or by a guided pony. Not all equestrian facilities offer this countryside experience, so here's a list of centers around Chicago that could help you discover a new favorite family outing!
Forest View Farms
Shila: Forest View Farms is a longstanding horse farm with admirable facilities many riders enjoy. The farm is family friendly and well known for a few festivals and attractions like their petting farm. Guided horseback rides take adjacent trails through the Cook County Forest Preserve. There's also options to take a quick lesson beforehand. Controlled pony rides are perfect for younger kids, and are offered around the FVF grounds and are hand-led by a parent.
Ages: 9+, up to 250 lbs for trail rides, pony rides for kids under 9
Cost: trail rides start at $25 per hour, pony rides are $10 for 15 mins
Shila: Click here to meet the trail horses, and set your sights on riding one of their beauties through the well-groomed trails of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Trail rides are offered year round, and in groups of up to 10. Group rides are on the schedule at various times throughout the day, including some as early as 10:30 am and into the early evening. Advanced registration is highly encouraged. The rides last about an hour. Be sure to bring a helmet and do not wear sandals.
Ages: 10+, up to 290 lbs
Cost: $25-$35 per rider depending on the size of the group
Memory Lane Stables
Shila: Memory Lane Stables offers trail riding, pony parties at your house or theirs, boarding and more. Horseback rides and pony rides start at the stable and back into the trails of the Cook County Forest Preserve. As an adult, you can also have the option to walk your child's pony through the trails. Staff-led pony walkers need to be reserved ahead of time.
Cost: $25 per hour for horseback rides, and $15 per hour for pony rides
Sarah's Pony Rides
Shila: Sarah's Pony Rides has access to over 25 miles of year-round trails and invites anyone —beginner to advanced— to enjoy guided trail rides via horseback. On guided public outings, the staff first gives a short lesson on how to control their particular horse. There are private opportunities as well, and those blocks are reserved for more experienced families. Advanced registration required. Facilities also include horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, party rooms, and riding lessons.
Cost: $30 - $50 per person, per hour
Glen Grove Equestrian Center
Spring - Fall
Shila: Specializing in hunter/jumper lessons boarding, training, and horse shows, seasonally, Glen Grove also offers peaceful pony rides around its grounds for younger children. They do not offer trail rides.
Ages: pony rides are for ages 6 and under
Cost: $5 per ride
Shila: Galusha Farms allows experienced riders to go on surrounding Dupage Forest Preserve trails. Rides are available per hour or for a half day. They can accommodate for 3 horses and 2 ponies at a time. They also offer a unique group opportunity for the whole family to play games with a horse, or spend quiet time with them.
Ages: no firm minimum age, they will asses on a case by case basis
Cost: $20 per hour, per person, without a guide. $30 per hour, per person, with a guide
Shila: After a brief riding demonstration on trail rides, Wedgewood Farms will help you mount your horse and make sure your saddles are tight before you're off on a guided ride through 65 trails of available equestrian use within Lake County Forest Preserves.
Ages: 12+, up to 250 lbs, and also possess ability to rein their horse
Cost: $45 per hour
Shila: At Jaynesway Farms, young riders take lessons and partake in horse camps and shows. Children can ride ponies and have the parent lead. No reservations needed! Just drop in (not wearing sandals) and take a spin together. Pony rides are moved into their heated, indoor arena in cases of unfavorable weather. They do not offer trail rides to the public.
And by the way, these friendly ponies are available for parties too — even at your own home!
Cost: $15 for 30 minutes
Primary photo: Melanie Dretvic on Unsplash
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