19 Jan 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.