In April I had the chance to go horseback riding for the first time! I was trying to think of something fun to do for Austin’s first birthday in California and knew that this was the perfect option. After doing some research I came across Sunset Ranch in Griffith Park and it could not have been more perfect! Horseback riding in Los Angeles was absolutely amazing. Here is my experience and review of the day.
So like I said before, I chose to go horseback riding as a surprise for Austin’s birthday. I thought he would enjoy riding horses while experiencing the mountain and city views of Los Angeles. The night before Austin’s birthday I was on the Sunset Ranch website looking at my options for the excursion. I decided on the 1 o’clock ride that lasted two hours. This gave us some time to get out to LA and do some other fun activities I had planned.
We had to get to the ranch a little early to check in and fill out release forms. After we drove up through the Hollywood Hills that led us to the ranch parking, we had to hike up a little hill to get to the actual ranch. I was sooooo excited going up the hill and seeing all the horses.
We waited around patiently for the safety lesson after signing the releases. Once we got all our instructions we were assigned horses based on experience and size. I was a little nervous since I had never ridden a horse before (apart from the ones that walk circles at the fair).
When we were all mounted on our horses the instructors went around and made sure everyone was set to go. We headed up a pretty steep hill as we started journey into Mount Hollywood. After the first turn on the trail, when we finally got to more level ground, we came face to face with the Hollywood Sign and the most breathtaking view! Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of this because I was so in awe of the view.
As you can see the views were amazing, even for smog ridden LA.
The guides were great and spent the entire time sharing fun facts about the city and the ranch. We stopped at two different places. The first was once all the horses were lined up and we were organized in the groups we came in.
The next spot we stopped was halfway through the hike at the top of the mountain. Here is where we could see all of the city including the skyline and the Hollywood sign. It is in the picture below but the view was WAYYYYY better in person!
The ride down was just as enjoyable as the sun began to set and the temperature started to drop. At this point we were pretty hungry because we hadn’t ate since breakfast (big mistake) and it was now close to 3:45.
Once we got back down the steep hill we started at, we waited for our instructors to help us get off the horses. My horse apparently loved to play in water. As I was waiting to be helped off, she spent the time playing in the bathtub they use as a drinking station for the horses. She loved playing in it so much that she pushed another horse that was actually drinking from it out of the way!
Once she was done playing and I was off the horse, we headed to our car. Let me tell you how weird it is to walk after being on a horse for two hours!
All in all it was such a fun day and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
My Review of Horseback Riding in Los Angeles
Overall, the experience was so great! The people at Sunset Ranch were amazing. They were so helpful when someone had a question or concern. But most of all they are beyond knowledgable about the horses. And it is very obvious that they love each and every one of them. Every single horse is called by name and only ridden one to two times a day so they aren’t ever too hot!
Sunset Ranch was so professional and great for riders of all experience. They make sure you are comfortable and truly care about your experience.
When To Go
California is beautiful year round so you have many options for when to go! Although this is true, I would not recommend going horseback riding in Los Angeles in the summer time. The trails that we rode on had very little shade and you are unable to bring water on the ride (the only downfall of the entire day). I would suggest going in the winter or spring!
When we went in April, we had a beautiful day. The sky was perfectly clear and it wasn’t too hot (until the end).They have rides available all day every day and options for one and two hour rides. Since you are supposed to wear pants on the ride, I would suggest scheduling an early ride or choosing a cooler month all together. It would also be best if you ate a good meal beforehand because you will get hungry!
If you are planning to go horseback riding in Los Angeles without buying your tickets ahead of time, I would suggest calling first. Even if you call ahead, I would suggest arriving at least an hour early. You will be more likely to get a spot in the time slot you want, but even then it isn’t guaranteed.
The better option is to buy your ride ahead of time. If you do this, make sure to follow the instructions you get when you purchase your ride. We were told to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork and get our safety instructions. We got lost, but luckily we had left with plenty of time. Prepare for everything and give yourself plenty of time to get there!
What To Wear
Like I said, you are supposed to wear long pants while horseback riding in Los Angeles. However, on the ride Austin and I went on there were a few people who wore shorts. I suggest comfort over everything. I wore a pair of jeans that had a good amount of stretch. You don’t want to be chafing the entire ride and be miserable. I would rather play it safe and follow the suggested dress code than get there and be told I couldn’t go on the ride I already paid for!
You also need to wear close toed shoes. Austin and I both wore Vans which worked perfectly fine. My feet fell asleep in the straps but I think that had more to do with the fact that they weren’t adjusted right because Austin was fine. Either way, I would recommend wearing more supportive shoes for the ride.
Helmets are required for every rider, so you don’t have to worry about wearing a hat. BUT BRING SUNGLASSES!!!! If you don’t, you will regret it! Even if it is a cloudier day, the reflection off the trail is brutal.
If you are visiting LA or even if you’re a local, I would highly recommend checking out Sunset Ranch. There is no better way to get the best views of the city than horseback riding in Los Angeles! If you decide you want to go on this fun little adventure you can get more information at the Sunset Ranch website!
Have you ever been horseback riding? Let me know your stories in the comment section below!