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Horseback Riding

two people horseback riding in New York's forest
horseback riding

Are you and your horse bored with the same old surroundings? Looking for some new terrain to explore? Try riding some of the New York State horse trails. There is something for everyone, from horse camping to mountain tops or lake shores - whatever scenery you are looking for can be found. If you don't have your own horse, check with area Chambers of Commerce for names and contact information of stables that take people on public trail horseback rides.

Trail riding is an excellent way for you and your horse to enjoy and deepen the bond of partnership, trusting in one another to negotiate the many obstacles that appear on the trail. A jaunt down the trail can refresh the show veteran, season the young horse or invigorate an old trail hand. Just be sure to choose terrain and distance suitable to your equine friend's condition and enjoy the view between your friend's ears!

From your horses back you will see, hear and smell things you would otherwise miss from a motor vehicle. There will be the sound of the babbling brook, the song of a bird, the breath taking view that appears around the bend, glorious fall foliage and the wonderful aroma of pine needles, moss and wildflowers. Your horse can carry you on adventures you'll remember for a lifetime. So pack a lunch, some horse treats and your camera and get out there!!

Information on horseback riding safety, rules, and etiquette

Popular Horseback Riding Areas

Here is a sample of DEC properties with horseback riding opportunities. To explore other DEC lands across the state, visit our places to go page.

Long Island

Rocky Point State Forest Region 1

Lower Hudson Valley

Stewart State Forest Region 3

Capital Region/Northern Catskills

Two girls horseback riding

Bear Spring Mountain Campground Region 4

Eastern Adirondacks/Champlain Valley

High Peaks Wilderness Western Zone Region 5
Luzerne Campground Region 5

Western Adirondacks/Black River Valley

Otter Creek State Forest Region 6

Central New York

Charles E. Baker State Forest Region 7
Brookfield Railroad State Forest Region 7
Beaver Creek State Forest Region 7

Western Finger Lakes

Sugar Hill State Forest Region 8

Western New York

Pine Hill State Forest Region 9
South Valley State Forest Region 9

General Rules for Horseback Riding on DEC Land

  • Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses
  • Out-of-state horse owners will be required to produce a 30-day health certificate
  • Horse's health papers must be carried with them at all times
  • Horseback riding is restricted to multiple use trails and designated horse trails
  • Groups of 20 or more require a permit from the local DEC forester
  • No person shall ride or allow a horse on:
    • Land devoted to intensively developed facilities, such as boat launch sites, day use areas, campsites, ski centers, education centers, fish hatcheries, game farms or headquarters complexes, and lands managed for public safety, such as flood control levees;
    • Foot trails, except where such trails are part of a publicly maintained road, or are specifically designated to allow travel by horses thereon; and
      Designated snowmobile trails and cross-country ski trails that are covered with ice or snow.

Protect Yourself

  • Know Where You are Going
    • Obtain and study maps of the area
    • Familiarize yourself with the trails, terrain, and any site specific rules.
    • Research parking area sizes to make sure your rig will fit.
    • Check to see if mounting blocks and hitching rails are available
  • Carry and Use Proper Equipment
  • Use of safety helmet is strongly recommended.
  • Pack a first aid kit with the basics for you and your horse.
  • Weather can be variable, prepare for rain or cold.
  • Sign in at trail registers
  • Carry a cell phone on you, not your horse - that way if you part company with your horse, you have the phone.
  • Additional information on Outdoor Safety
Group of equestrians riding down a gravel road

Protect Your Horse

  • Check your horse's shoes to make sure they are tight.
  • Ensure your horse is conditioned for rugged terrain.
  • Bring insect repellent for yourself and horse.
  • Rabies shot and negative coggins are required.

Know and practice the principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website).

Respect Others

  • Slow horses to a walk if you meet other users, i.e. hikers, bikers and other horses.
  • Ask people to speak to you and horse - horses have different eyesight and may not recognize people with packs or on bikes as people.

Protect Natural Resources

  • Ride on designated horse trails only
  • Do not tie horses to live trees
  • Be prepared to encounter wildlife - deer, bear, turkeys, grouse, etc.

If you spend a little time on preparation, training and research, you will both be richly rewarded with a great outdoor experience!