Sure, the City is famous for its arts, museums, restaurants, skyscrapers and other larger-than-life attractions and events. But it's also home to acres upon acres of gorgeous green space, with plentiful—and sizable—parks in all five boroughs. The warmer months are a magnificent time to kick back and enjoy nature's most glorious landscapes—and what better way to experience them than on horseback? Yes, horseback. Our grand metropolis holds a number of equine-friendly locations where you can take in the pastoral views at a very civilized, George Eliot-era pace. Local stables offer pony rides for toddlers (catering to children as young as 1 in some cases), lessons for beginners and experts, group instruction, private parties and summer camps. For experienced riders, many locations provide dressage instruction and even on-premises boarding. In addition to the lush green trails you'll see, many of the facilities we've highlighted traverse areas along the City's beaches and waterways, making your experience all the more scenic. See below for a list of popular horse liveries; note that most, though not all, operate on terrain right near the stables.
Bronx Equestrian Center
9 Shore Rd., 718-885-0551, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
One of the borough's few riding stables, the Bronx Equestrian Center offers English and Western riding lessons by the half hour or hour. Guests can also book single and group trail rides as well as pony rides for children, set up boarding for their horses, rent horses and carriages for special occasions and even arrange a children's birthday party at the center, with horse and pony rides on-site.
Get Over It and Ride
3051 Veterans Rd. W., 718-984-2970, Charleston, Staten Island
There was a time when Staten Island was home to numerous stables, but they're an increasing rarity in the borough these days. Get Over It and Ride remains among the few that are still around, and for horse lovers and riders young and old, that's a good thing. The littlest learners, at 3 years old, can take advantage of the daily lessons offered here, and even younger tots—down to 1 year olds—can experience the joy of a pony ride. Of course, advanced riders can sharpen their skills as well, and horse owners looking for boarding facilities should also take note.
Jamaica Bay Riding Academy
7000 Shore Pkwy., 718-531-8949, Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn
Set on a sprawling 400-plus acres in the Gateway Wildlife Preserve, riders new and advanced can trot along lush forest trails or take advantage of gorgeous beach views. Some of the most affordable lessons in town are offered, with ponies and horses available for kids as young as 6 years old—and children can even opt to hold their birthday parties here. Experienced riders and owners will also find all their needs met, since there’s on-premises boarding, dressage instruction and a tack shop.
Lynne's Riding Center
8803 70th Rd., 718-261-7679, Forest Hills, Queens
Proprietor Lynn Holzhauser knows horses: she helped out as a kid when her parents ran these stables for decades, and took over the family business back in 1982. As a riding teacher, she places a heavy emphasis on technical skill and safety, ensuring that every visitor has a firm foundation of comfort, ease and knowledge before they venture beyond the indoor corral. Once they've mastered the basics, riders can take part in either group or private lessons along the wooded trails and gorgeous greenery of adjacent Forest Park.
NYC Riding Academy
One Wards Island, 212-860-2986, Wards Island, Manhattan
Cross the 103rd Street Footbridge from East Harlem in Manhattan to arrive at Wards Island (lesser known than Randall’s Island, with which it shares a landmass), where these stables are situated. Call ahead to arrange half-hour lessons ($50), or sign up for one of the summer programs; either way, you’ll find yourself riding at the last such facility in Manhattan.
Prospect Park Kensington Stables
51 Caton Pl., 718-972-4588, Prospect Park, Brooklyn
The only remaining stable in the Prospect Park area, Kensington Stables has been in continuous operation since 1930. The stable offers private and group lessons in English and Western style riding, and trail rides around a 3.5-mile bridle path in the park. They also offer special programs, including therapeutic riding, and a barter program, where current students can volunteer and receive vouchers good for lessons and trail time.
6394 Broadway, 718-548-4848, Riverdale, Bronx
New York City's equine hobbyists, serious enthusiasts and those new to the sport need look no further than the Bronx to find a place to saddle up and ride. This hidden gem sits on 23 sprawling acres. Private and group lessons are offered, as well as summer camps and after-school programs aimed at elevating the skill levels of young riders. Jumping lessons and dressage instruction are also available for those committed to more formal training.