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Published March 28th 2016
Horse riding (by jackmac34 at Pixabay)
Sydney's vast green spaces are ideal for galloping horses. While thoroughbreds race across Randwick or Rosehill, ponies, quarterhorses, clydesdales and stockhorses trot throughout Sydney's trails and parks. While professional horseracing requires early morning starts for jockeys, nervous investment from owners and a bit of luck for bookmakers and spectators, horse riding and equestrian are fulfilling hobbies for horse lovers of all ages.
To take the reins, you'll need a helmet, long pants and closed shoes. It's much more enjoyable if you're relatively fit to make riding in the saddle more comfortable. When you arrive at the stable, introduce yourself with the horse's handshake – place the back of your hand near the horse's nose. Similar to many other animals, it's a great way to break the ice.
Trail riding (by böhringer friedrich CC BY-SA 2.5)
Before convincing your parents to buy a pony, you can join beginner courses or chat with a friendly guide or coach to receive the basics on horse riding technique.
Some of the options for horse riding in Sydney are:
West: On a scenic drive west to Denham Court is the Sydney Trail Riding Centre. Founded by a 4th generation horse trainer and a competitor in horse cutting events, the centre employs a team of experienced and passionate instructors and guides. Trail ride through native bush, over mountains and into grassy plains. You can also receive lessons, organise birthday party or team-building events. A new addition to their offerings is a Ladies Social Group, meeting weekly for riding, instruction and morning tea. For an hour's trail riding, prices start at $55. An hour of tuition starts at $70.
East: Centennial Park in Sydney's east is loved by walkers and cyclists. Trump them atop a horse's saddle at the Equestrian Centre. They offer horse and pony rides and lessons for adults and children. Close to the city, it's popular with visiting tourists, admiring Sydney's skyline from the parklands. At Sydney Horse, one of the stables in the Equestrian Centre, an hour's park ride is $90. An hour of private tuition is $120.
South: The Kurnell Boarding Stables and Riding School have a very convenient setup with group lessons on weekends starting at $60.
South: 30 minutes driving south to Darkes Forest is a riding ranch and boarding stables. Guides take trail and adventure riding groups through Australian bushland to spot native wildlife. Lessons and school holiday camps are also available. Prices start at $65 for an hour of bush trekking and $70 for an hour of training.
South west: 45 minutes south west of Sydney is the Sydney Horse Riding Centre at Gledswood Hills. The centre uses 100 acres of green hills lined with riding trails. In addition to the standard trail riding and lessons, pony parties are available for children. Prices start at $50 for an hour of bush trekking and $65 for an hour of training.
So now it's over to you. After you've watched the Lone Ranger catch cowboys or Michelle Payne win the Melbourne Cup, where do you go to master the fun sport of horse riding?
Thanks for the article but was surprised to not see any options apart from South, West and East - what about North? If anyone thinking of heading North, I have found Glenworth Valley a good option -http://www.glenworth.com.au/horse-riding. It is at Peats Ridge.