by LAINEY KRAL

Saddle Up in San Diego

bkyd_saddleup2There’s nothing quite like leaning back in the saddle or petting a velvety nose while the blue summer sky stretches above you. San Diego is home to a vibrant, varied equine community. Whether you’re the parent of an enthusiastic future cowgirl, a grown-up barn kid who hasn’t ridden in years, or just plain curious, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and experience something new.

Besides lessons and summer camps, guided trail rides are a great opportunity for new riders or those just getting back in the saddle. Options include giddying up through the hills of Poway, riding through the surf on a beach ride, and wine tasting adventures in Temecula. Many facilities offer both public and private rides – especially for larger groups, it’s smart to call ahead to confirm availability. Be sure to check the weather policy too, in case of cancellations.

If getting in the saddle isn’t your style, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the world of horses from the ground. The Del Mar Racetrack may be San Diego’s most famous equine destination, but don’t miss the hunter, jumper, and equitation events at nearby Showpark of San Diego. The 2019 Poway Rodeo is also coming up on Sept. 27 and 28, showcasing Western disciplines like barrel racing and roping. San Diego even has a thriving polo scene – check out organizations like Lakeside Polo Club, Poway Polo Club, or San Diego Polo Club for beginner lessons or upcoming events to watch.

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You can also combine a love of horses with a love of making a difference. The San Diego area has a number of therapeutic riding centers and equine rescues that are often open to volunteers and support.

Whatever your interests and wherever you go, whether you’re sitting astride a thoroughbred or a pony, remember to pause for a bit and just enjoy the moment. Have a good ride!


Stable Safety

• Wear closed-toe shoes, and strap on your helmet before getting in the saddle.
• When meeting an unfamiliar horse, always ask its owner whether it’s okay to pet it, feed treats, or take photos.
• Walk, don’t run! Sudden movements and loud noises can make horses nervous.
• Pay attention to facility rules and listen to your instructor – every barn and every horse is unique!