From animal interaction to improving balance and coordination, there are plenty of benefits for kids that take up horseback riding. Creating a bond with this magnificent creature can also help boost a child’s confidence as he works to effectively communicate with his horse. With continued lessons and riding, kids can also learn responsibility as they care for their trusty steed.
We’ve rounded up Long Island equestrian centers with a variety of services, including pony rides, trail rides, weekly lessons and even on-site birthday parties. When visiting one of the stables that offers pony rides or trail rides, it is important to dress appropriately. Helmets will be provided. Boots are preferred, but sneakers are usually acceptable. Be sure to call ahead to check on rules and regulations.
Greenlawn Equestrian Center
29 Wood Ave, Greenlawn
Pony rides are a great introduction to horses for young children, and Greenlawn Equestrian Center offers Mommy & Me programs. A parent is welcome to walk along the trail with the rider. Greenlawn Equestrian Center offers private, semiprivate and group horseback riding lessons for children and adults. Lessons are offered in 30, 45 or 60-minute sessions. The Birthday Party Package includes horse or pony ride, horse-care grooming lesson, a craft project of creating a photo frame from a real horseshoe (cleaned and painted of course!), a photo taken with the horse for each child and a pizza lunch.
Thomas School of Horsemanship
250 Round Swamp Rd, Melville
Thomas School of Horsemanship offers English riding lessons from age 3 to adult. An indoor arena allows the school to offer lessons to their riders year round. Each child will be guided by both a certified instructor and an assistant instructor. Children will learn how to groom and tack horses, as well as how to ride. The school also hosts birthday parties. Parents provide the cake, food, paper supplies and decorations, and the folks at Thomas School of Horsemanship will handle the rest!
Sweet Hills Stable
Sweet Hollow Rd., Melville
Hour long guided trail rides are available on more than 900 wooded acres in West Hills County Park. Riders must be 8 or older. Sweet Hills Stables offers offers private, semiprivate and group lessons. Both English and Western riding lessons are offered from beginner to advanced riders. Sweet Hills will also bring a Pony Party right to you for riding fun at your child’s birthday.
SUNY Old Westbury Campus
HorseAbility offers a year-round therapeutic horseback-riding program for individuals with special needs in both private and semi-private lessons. Most students begin with private lessons to ensure a solid foundation in the basics of riding skills.
Bethpage Equestrian Center
499 Winding Road, Old Bethpage
Bethpage Equestrian Center (under new ownership in 2017) offers trail rides, lessons and leases. Group trail rides are available for ages 12 and older, while private trail rides allow ages 7 and older. The center can also host your child’s next birthday party, which will include pony or trail rides (depending on age) and festivities. Therapeutic riding sessions to encourage socialization, flexibility, mobility and more are also offered at this center.