For an adventure closer to home, give these stables a try.
If you need a trail-ride fix quick, head to Bobby’s Ranch in Westford. Just 30 minutes from Boston, the stable has led easygoing Western-style trail rides since 1972 through nearby conservation land. The rides go year-round, weather permitting, and as long as the footing is safe for the horses. The pace is right for families, but riders must be at least 4 feet tall.
6 Durkee Lane, Westford; http://www.bobbysranch.com; 978-263-7165; one-hour group trail rides, $30 weekdays, $35 weekends and holidays, per person
Emerald Hollow Farm
This family-run stable leads small groups of only four to five riders over the gentle slopes of the Punkhorn Parklands in Brewster. Far from the mayhem that can be a Cape Cod summer, you’ll ride past cranberry bogs and kettle ponds. Plan to book about a week ahead in the summer. However, the stable, a long stone’s throw from Cape Cod Bay, is open year-round. Any age rider is welcome.
235 Run Hill Road, Brewster; http://www.emeraldhollowfarm.com; 508-685-6811; one-hour group trail rides, $75 per person; one-hour private lesson, $65
For experienced riders, most trail rides leave a lot to be desired. At Undermountain Farm in Lenox, though, they’ll find a fast-paced ride through the challenging terrain of nearby Kennedy Park. This facility also offers rides and lessons for beginners, including pony rides for kids. Trail rides are for ages 10 and older, though younger children can be accommodated.
400 Undermountain Road, Lenox; http://www.undermountainfarm.com; 413-637-3365; one-hour group trail ride, $60 per person; private lessons start at $35 for a half-hour
Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm
The Vikings bred Icelandic horses to carry riders smoothly over rough terrain. That makes them a natural fit for New England’s rutted landscape, especially for Vermont’s Mad River Valley. Icelandic horses also have a unique gait that other horses do not, the “tolt,” a free-flowing running-walk. Guided trail rides ply back roads, cross meadows, and head up the craggy terrain of the Green Mountains. Children should be 10 years or older with riding experience; maximum weight is 225 pounds.
3061 North Fayston Road, Waitsfield, Vermont; http://www.icelandichorses.com; 802-496-7141; one-hour group trail ride, $50 per person; packages with accommodations and meals start at $600 for two days and two nights per person.