Saddle Up!

Of all the trail sports, horseback riding is probably the most contemplative. As they trot over meadows and through the woods, rider and horse work as a team. The pace is relaxing. There’s time to soak up your surroundings. Above all, it’s quiet. From the saddle, you can’t help but feel a kinship with Nature.

Then again, horseback riding can be a thrill, an exciting, wind-at-your-back adventure leading you too far off the beaten path.

Whatever your preference, horseback riding is a unique way to experience Peterborough & the Kawarthas at any time of year.

It’s an activity that is gaining popularity, with more opportunities for beginners to learn basic skills and more stables where riders can perfect their technique. “We host lots of campers and cottagers on day visits,” says Mary Mattos, whose Wits End stables have been a fixture on Stoney Lake for 30 years. “There’s new interest in special events—things like girls’ weekends or father-and-daughter rides.” And equestrian events continue to be the main draw at many a country fair.

Before new equestrians ever hit the trails, riders start with lessons on how to balance in the saddle and other basics of horsemanship. But once unleashed from the riding ring, there’s no holding them back. They like nothing better than finding the road less travelled, heading deep into the wild, Crown land and along abandoned roads. Closer to home, several local stables and resorts will take experienced riders on overnight treks, complete with cowboy breakfasts.

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