Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes

One adventure that I have avoided since I was a child was horseback riding. When I was younger I did go on several horseback rides, but it wasn’t something that I ever had an itch to do as the years went by.

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

Well, that all changed when we made our way to the Painted Bar Stables in Burdett, New York, when we were on our road trip through the Finger Lakes this past summer. I was looking forward to giving horseback riding another shot, and it turns out this was a great place to give it a go. Erika, the owner of the stable and our guide for the day, greeted us with a warm welcome, hilarious jokes, and an introduction to the horses and the barn.

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

Erika’s philosophy is to run a barn with happy horses and happy people; because of this, we were all paired with horses that would be the best match for our size and personalities. I was paired with an adorable horse named Double My Scotch or Scotch for short. We were given a lesson in how to handle the reins, tips for a successful ride and a bit of specific information about each of our horses.

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

I was a bit nervous to get on a horse again—they are just so large and powerful—but I tried to not think about it and instead focus on being friends with my partner for the day. Once we were all situated and comfortable, we made our way out to the trails. The stable has access to trials that go through fields, woods, mountains and creeks, so we had plenty of trails to pick from.

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

We were up for a more adventurous ride, so we opted to have Erika lead us up and down some hills and through a creek rather than staying on a flat field all afternoon. But first, to get to the trail, we had to pass through what I think was an alfalfa field, a.k.a. a yummy treat for the horses. This meant that we had to keep our horses moving through the field, otherwise they would only be thinking of yummy treats the rest of the ride and wouldn’t want to cooperate.  We were told to bob the rings from side to side to keep them moving, and apparently, Scotch could tell that I am right handed and that my left arm is weaker than my right. She took advantage of that for a minute and snuck some treats from the field, but thankfully I was able to keep her on track and she didn’t dislike me too much for pulling her away. We were off to a semi-good start.

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

Then, once we made it out to the woods, the ride started to get really fun. None of us were too confident in our horseback riding skills, but we still managed to trot up and down hills that got steeper as we went—Erika tried to give us a bit of a challenge and it was a blast!

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

We crossed water a few times throughout the ride, and then towards the end we rode smack dab in the middle of the creek for a bit after giving the horses some time to stop for a drink. I loved wading through the calm waters. It was both peaceful and exciting all in one.

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

Once our journey was over, we made our way back to the stables, and it was time to say goodbye to our new friends. We had so much fun learning a bit more about horseback riding and I have to say, I grew attached to Scotch by the end of our adventure together!

Horseback Riding in the Finger Lakes, New York, Painted Bar Stables

I’m not sure what I was worried about earlier that morning because it turned out to be a fantastic afternoon full of excitement. We had a great time with Erika, the horses were wonderful and the scenery was beautiful. After the ride it was time to visit some nearby watering holes on our exploration of the winery and brewery trails in the Finger Lakes—all in all, it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon!

Are you an avid horseback rider? Have you been horseback riding in the Finger Lakes?


Special thanks to the Corning and Southern Finger Lakes tourism board for organizing and hosting us on so many amazing adventures throughout our week in New York. As always, all opinions are our own.

  • Les Petits Pas de Juls
    Posted at 19:19h, 19 January Reply

    I LOVE horseback-riding! I used to ride a lot as a little girl and have done so less and less often as the years went by… But I try to hop on every opportunity I can get. The Finger Lakes look gorgeous for you to have given it another shot and I’m happy to read you enjoyed yourselves.
    Because I don’t do it so often anymore, last time I did (in December in Viñales Valley in Cuba), I was so sore I couldn’t walk normally for 2 days! ahahaha but I’d go back anytime anyway! 😉

    Happy riding!
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…The True Cost of Walking El CaminoMy Profile

  • Indrani
    Posted at 00:47h, 21 January Reply

    Exactly my feeling – nervous to get on a horse. They are so large and powerful! Good you overcame your fears.
    Looks like well trained horses to give you a good ride. 🙂

  • Rima Gor
    Posted at 00:56h, 21 January Reply

    Wooo, fantastic guys! I love horseback riding, but never done before. I am bit scared. Thanks for the post.
    Rima Gor recently posted…Get a Feel of Authentic Thai Culture as you indulge in Thailand Travel on BudgetMy Profile

  • Punita Malhotra
    Posted at 06:34h, 21 January Reply

    I have only sat on horseback once in my life, but this sounds totally different. Horses are such graceful animals aren’t they? And Finger Lakes is such a perfect backdrop for this kind of experience.

  • Mindi Hirsch
    Posted at 11:39h, 21 January Reply

    I’ve been to the Finger Lakes several times but have never been horseback riding there. We’re always too distracted by the wine. Next time we’re there, we’ll have to check it out.
    Mindi Hirsch recently posted…Where to Eat in Girona – A Girona Food GuideMy Profile

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 12:08h, 21 January Reply

    I love horseback riding! We had two horses when I was growing up and I started riding on my own when I was about six years old. It’s been a long time since we owned horses, but I love going any chance I get. I’m glad you had a positive experience when you got back in the saddle and Finger Lakes looks like a gorgeous place to do it.
    Jennifer recently posted…17 Places to Travel in 2017My Profile

  • Rhonda Albom
    Posted at 14:16h, 21 January Reply

    I am not a horseback rider but my daughter loves it. The horses are very big and heavy and they make me nervous.

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman
    Posted at 15:11h, 21 January Reply

    When I was younger, horse back riding was the highlight of summer camp. As an adult, it becomes harder and harder to find opportunities to ride. I have ridden in Jamaica and Scotland (English Saddles are something…) and a few other places now and then. It is still amazing the size, strength and intelligence of a horse. Last year, I had the opportunity
    to visit Ithaca on a college tour with my daughter. All I can say is that Ithaca is gorgeous.

  • nisha
    Posted at 11:46h, 22 January Reply

    The horse-back “safari” sounds so cool. I have not done much riding but I can see form your post and pictures that to enjoy such terrain horses are the best suited and much quicker than doing it on foot.

  • Kerri
    Posted at 23:05h, 22 January Reply

    I get your anxiety. When I first when horse riding we had the slowest horses, but once we turned for home they just took off and I couldn’t stop them. Frightened the life out of me. I’m a little better now and know that I would love doing this and having this experience. Just such a beautiful location.

  • Korella Selzler
    Posted at 15:31h, 23 January Reply

    If you go riding closer to home and need another person I would go with- horseback riding is a passion of mine!

  • Holly
    Posted at 19:30h, 23 January Reply

    I love horseback riding. I have been meaning to visit the finger lakes too so I will have to keep this in mind. Looks like a lot of fun.

  • carla abanes
    Posted at 23:40h, 25 January Reply

    Good for you that you overcame your fear of horseback riding. I’m still trying to get over that fear and Im already in my forties! Awesome photos by the way, they really look sharp!

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