The coronavirus outbreak has compelled many Long Islanders to seek out social-distance-friendly methods to get out and appreciate the region they call home. Horseback riding is one of them.
Long Island has many equestrian paths that provide miles of endless fun. Whether someone has never ridden a horse before or is a seasoned trail rider, this is an activity that allows individuals of all skill levels to appreciate the region’s natural beauty.
“Horses are for everyone,” Diana Russo, owner of DDR Farm in Melville, said. “It’s typically total newbies, and they go with this horrified expression and return with this blissful everlasting face.”
And the best part is that you don’t have to worry about the horses wearing masks!
BABYLON RIDING CENTER
This riding center, located near Belmont Lake State Park, is a great place to learn a new skill while taking in the gorgeous landscape of the area. Riders can choose between a 30-minute or 60-minute instruction, with reservations necessary. 631-587-7778, 1500 Peconic Ave., West Babylon
BETHPAGE EQUESTRIAN CENTER
This equestrian center, which bills itself as the “best destination for horseback riding on Long Island,” offers guided hour-long trail rides around Bethpage State Park with stunning views of the Bethpage State Park Golf Course. The rides last an hour and run every day, weather permitting. 516-845-1000, 499 Winding Rd., Old Bethpage
BIG RIVER BARN RESCUE, INC.
This trail riding location also serves as a horse rescue center. It assists the animals in recovering from any injuries and rehabilitates them for a new life in which they can support themselves, such as through trail rides. This secret gem, located in the Muttontown Preserve, offers rides ranging from an hour and 15 minutes to more than four hours upon request. 516-650-0016, 1864 Muttontown Rd., Syosset
DDR Farm, located in West Hills County Park, offers lovely trail rides all year. Although walk-ins are welcome, reservations are advised to prevent long lines. Melville, 412 Sweet Hollow Rd., 631-616-9656
DEEP HOLLOW RANCH
This family-run business is the country’s longest functioning ranch, offering trail rides and one-of-a-kind beach rides along the Long Island Sound. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the coastline uniquely. 631-668-2744, 8 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk
NASSAU EQUESTRIAN CENTER
This equestrian center, next to the Muttontown Preserve, offers trail rides over miles of picturesque routes. Here you can walk or trot in an English or Western saddle. Before being let out on the path, children who have never ridden before must take one lesson. 516-342-1771, 62 Route 106, Jericho
NATIVITY RIDING ACADEMY
The horses “Nativity’s Angel” and “Nativity’s Prince” live at this Ridge horseback riding site and are known for providing a superb trail riding experience. Ridge, 48 Woodlot Rd., 631-504-0085,
NEW YORK EQUESTRIAN CENTER
New York Equestrian Center offers 9 miles of designated bridle routes next to the 775 acres of Hempstead Lake State Park. Riders can see the coastline, five lakes, the hills of the Hempstead Private Country Club golf course, and more from the saddle. 516-486-9673, 633 Eagle Ave., West Hempstead
PARKVIEW RIDING CENTER
This equestrian center in Connetquot State Park offers hour-long trail rides along the gorgeous Connetquot River State Park Preserve from sunrise to dusk. Appointments are required for rides, which range from beginner to advanced. 631-581-9477, 989 Connetquot Ave., Central Islip
ROCKY POINT PINE BARRENS STATE FOREST
This state park has five horseback riding trails totaling about 20 miles of bridle pathways and mountain biking, hiking, and other activities. Rocky Point, NY-25A, 800-456-2267,
New York City Riding Academy
The non-profit in 2022 The New York City Riding Academy invites you, your family, and friends to participate in their Horseback Riding Program in 2022. The 2022 Horseback Riding Program at the New York City Riding Academy will be held every day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in its Manhattan site at One Randall’s Island Park, New York, NY 10035.
The 2022 New York City Riding Academy Program offers English and Western horseback riding lessons in both individual and group settings. Individual and group modules will be taught to 2022 Academy students who are at least 7 years old and are categorized as beginners, intermediate, advanced, or competitive. To apply as a student for the New York City Riding Academy Horseback Riding Program in 2022, go to www.nycridingacademy.org and fill out the student application.