Image by Anrita from Pixabay
10 Must-Visit Horse Farms and Ranches for Equestrian Enthusiasts
Horse farms and ranches have been a part of American history since the first settlers came here. Horses were needed as modes of transportation and to pull heavy loads. Although they do not have the same role as they did, horses are still a major part of society today as recreation and therapeutic animals.
Ranches and horse farms are essential because they are a vital part of the economy and tourism across the US. The horse industry adds $122 billion to the US economy each year and creates jobs for thousands of people, Ranches produce high-quality meat and other products for people to use.
The purpose of this article is to show you 10 of the best horse farms and ranches across the country and explain what makes each so special. The three main criteria for choosing these places are facility quality, services and experiences offered, and the landscape. To learn even more about equestrian vacations
, check out rosegreyequestrian.com.
East Coast Escapades
These are some of the finest facilities on the east coast for racing, breeding, and simply enjoying the companionship of horses and the experience of riding.
Sagamore Farm, Reisterstown, Maryland by Ken Lund via flickr
Sagamore Farm, Maryland: Breeding Champions
Sagamore Farm was founded in 1925 by Isaac Emerson and was given to a man named Alfred Vanderbilt on his 21st birthday. Vanderbilt turned Sagamore into a top thoroughbred breeding farm with international acclaim. The most famous stallions kept at Sagamore are International Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame inductees: Discovery, Bed O’ Roses, and Native Dancer.
Their filly, Shared Account, won a Breeder’s Cup Race in 2010 against world-champion thoroughbred, Midday. Sagamore also has a thoroughbred retraining program called Next Move that gives thoroughbreds a new life if they are not suited for racing.
The Sagamore website says that they are still closed for tours and events due to COVID-19. You have to join their email list to find out when activities will resume.
Newport Equestrian Academy, Rhode Island: Family-Friendly Horse Fun
Newport Equestrian Academy was established in 1987 and is run by a mother-daughter team to help people gain confidence as riders and cultivate a passion for horses. They offer trail rides and horseback riding lessons for the whole family.
The trail rides cover two beaches and wildlife preservation. Instructors will teach you the basics, so no riding experience is needed. Remember to wear closed-toed shoes and long pants. Helmets are provided, For questions and reservations, call 401-837-4188,
Planning a trip to the Midwest soon? Here’s one of the best farms to visit.
Tempel Farms by Michael Lehet via flickr
Tempel Farms, Old Mill Creek, Illinois: Where Lipizanns Dance
Tempel Farms was founded in 1958 and runs as a full-time training and breeding operation for Lipizanner horses. They follow the same training schedule as the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and received an award from the Austrian government for helping preserve their traditions.
At the farm, you can purchase tickets to watch the Lipizanners perform, take a public or private tour to learn more about the facility and horses or be part of a clinic at the facility. Tour highlights include meeting stallions, and observing a horse training session. The VIP tour also includes a tour of the breeding shed to visit mares and foals.
Bureau of Land Management via flickr
These are the best horse farms and ranches to visit in the western US.
Double Rafter Cattle Drive, Wyoming: A True Cowboy Experience
Double Rafter is a working cattle ranch that offers guests the opportunity to go on cattle drives like they were in the 1880s. Each cattle drive is unique because you can’t predict what will happen as you are taking the cattle to their destination.
Testimonials say that the drive is authentic, the company is warm, the scenery is spectacular, and the experience is unforgettable.
Bitterroot Ranch: Wyoming: For Adventurous Horseback Riding
Bitterroot Ranch is a full-service dude ranch offering clinics, retreats, and of course trail rides. The trail rides are 3 and 5-day pack trips where you explore beautiful scenery, watch animals in their natural habitat, and have the time of your life in the open wilderness. These rides are for the adventurer at heart.
Visitors say that coming to Bitterroot is like coming home, and they cannot get enough of its beauty and serenity.
Return to Freedom, California: American Wild Horse Sanctuary
Return to Freedom is a wild horse and burro sanctuary dedicated to preserving the Mustang through conservation, education, and advocacy. Return to Freedom is the home of Spirit, the Kiger Mustang used as the inspiration for the 2002 Dreamworks movie.
Through their conservation efforts, Return to Freedom is ensuring that the spirit of the Mustang endures for years to come. You can tour the sanctuary by making a reservation. Guides will show you the grounds, educate you about the history of the Mustang, and let you observe herds and meet Mustangs
These are the best horse ranches and farms to explore if you are visiting the Southern US.
Triplecrown120 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Claiborne Farm, Kentucky: A Historic Thoroughbred Nursery
Claiborne Farm originated in Virginia when Captain Richard Hancock bred and raised Thoroughbreds on his wife’s farm. Richard’s son, Arthur, moved the farm to Kentucky in 1910 and named it Claiborne Farm. Five years later, his breeding program shaped Thoroughbreds for the first half of the 20th century. They have been breeding racehorses for over 100 years.
Since its founding, Claiborne has been home to over 30+ champion stallions and has bred and raised even more champions of their own. If you would like to visit Claiborne, you can book a tour of the historic and beautiful grounds, including the breeding shed where the famous stallions are kept and the resting place of the Triple Crown Winner Secretariat.
There is also a seasonal tour where you can see the mares and foaling operation in early spring. Tours are booked through Caliborne’s Website.
The Al-Marah Arabians, Florida: Home of Beautiful Arabian Horses
The Al-Marah Arabians are the oldest privately owned herd of Arabian Horses in the world, and they are the main project of Michael’s Foundation, which uses experience-based opportunities to help veterans. The farm is based in Clermont and offers many free events for veterans and their families.
Blackberry Farm, Tennessee: Luxury with Equestrian Activities
Blackberry Farm is a luxury hotel and resort in Tennessee. They have all kinds of luxurious lodging including cottages and houses for large groups. The farm offers a spa and many activities you can engage in including horseback riding, carriage rides, hiking, and fishing.
The farm has a fully operational equestrian facility including a barn, arena, and trail access into the Great Smoky Mountains. They offer a foxhunt ride, multiple group trail rides, and clinics. From beginner to advanced riders in both Western and English disciplines, Blackberry Farm has something for everyone.
Spader, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
These horse farms and ranches are a great choice if you’re planning to visit the mountainous regions of the US.
Three Chimneys Farm, Kentucky: Premier Thoroughbred Operation
Three Chimneys Farm has been in operation for more than 40 years and has managed the careers of champion stallions like Seattle Slew. They have sired nine Grade 1 champion racing horses, and several stakes winners including the 2022 Preakness Stakes Winner Early Voting. They aim to produce top-quality horses every time.
Three Chimneys Farm is included as a location on Horse Country Tours and offers both public and private tours of their stallion operation. You will see champion stallions like Gun Runner and Sharp Azteca and learn about their impact, as well as the history of the farm itself
Vista Verde Guest Ranch, Colorado: A Winter Wonderland
Vista Verde is a full-service guest ranch that operates in all seasons. One feature that makes them unique is that they have a winter horse program. The program encompasses a variety of trail rides, clinics, and a special activity that can only be offered during the winter: sleigh rides.
Testimonials highlight that the ranch is well-organized, has activities for all to do, and is the ultimate place to visit for a serene vacation in a picturesque place.
Conclusion: Galloping Across America
From Wyoming to Florida, across dude ranches and thoroughbred farms, there are so many ways to experience the beauty and contributions of the horse and farms across the United States. Equestrian tourism is a vital part of keeping the horse industry alive for generations, so it is highly encouraged
FAQs: Equestrian Tourism in America
What should I consider when choosing a horse ranch or farm to visit?
Some things to keep in mind include the activities you want to do, how long you want to stay, your budget, and if you are traveling alone or with a group.
Can kids participate in horse-related activities on these farms?
Most, if not all of these farms have programs specifically for children.
Are there seasonal considerations when visiting these ranches?
They will modify their activities depending on the season and only offer certain activities during specific times of the year.
What is the significance of Thoroughbred farms in America?
Thoroughbred farms conduct the breeding and training of racehorses, who race worldwide and are watched by millions.