3674 Sand Hill Road
Woodside, CA 94062
This Peninsula-based non-profit business provides therapeutic horseback riding programs for people with special needs. Separate programs are available for children, adults, seniors and military veterans. The programs have been especially helpful for seniors who live in assisted living facilities and its disabled veterans program is one of the first of its kind in the country. Every horse at B.O.K. Ranch has been carefully selected and is considered a service animal just like seeing eye dogs. Volunteers on the ranch can take advantage of trail rides on Saturday evenings during the summer.
Horse N Around Trail Rides
2660 N. Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
This ranch, northwest of San Francisco along the Sonoma Coast, offers seven different trail rides ranging from 30 minutes to 90 minutes with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. The minimum age to participate in any of the guided trail rides is six years old. Summer Day Camps are offered during the summer for children ages eight to 12 years old, with instruction on the basics for horse care, basic horseback riding skills and wildlife education. Horse N Around Trail Rides is open year round and publishes advertised discounts on its website. Advanced reservations on all trail rides are highly recommended and staff can assist in the best horse ride based upon preference and horse-riding experience.
Point Reyes Arabian Adventures
11925 Highway 1
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Scenic views of Tomales Bay and beautiful Arabian horses are among the many reasons to visit this highly rated North Bay business. Susan Roswell, owner of Point Reyes Arabian Adventures, leads all guided trail rides that are appropriate for the entire family. A 90-minute special horseback ride for beginners presents a 30-minute lesson followed by a trail ride overlooking Tomales Bay, one of the region’s most underrated destinations. Riding lessons are also taught for riders of all ages, with a particular emphasis on children.
The Pony Express
6413 Sonoma Highway
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
The Pony Express is a non-profit organization that provides Equine Assisted Skills for Youth (EASY). Led by Santa Rosa’s well-known “Pony Lady,” Linda Aldrich, the organization assists kids ages 12-18 at two area locations – the Pony Express Ranch and Howarth Park Corral in Santa Rosa. The EASY program gives participants the opportunity to care and nurture horses through trust, communication, teamwork and respect. Most of the horses in the Pony Express EASY program have been rescued and rehabilitated. Pony rides, riding lessons and horse camps are part of the program offered at Howarth Park, a popular recreation facility with hiking trails, picnic sites, a lake for swimming, paddleboats and canoeing, a merry-go-round and a petting zoo.
Sea Horse Ranch and Friendly Acres Ranch
1828 Cabrillo Highway N.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Celebrating its 50th year in Half Moon Bay, the Sea Horse Ranch provides guided horseback rides on both coastal trails and on the beach itself. The minimum age to horseback ride is seven years of age and no one under 12 years old are allowed to ride after 3 p.m. Groups of 10 or more must make online reservations and groups less than 10 must call to reserve a spot. The Sea Horse Ranch features a Summer Horsemanship Camp with instructions that include cleaning, grooming, saddling and individual riding evaluations.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.