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Horseback riding is a wonderful way to discover all that the Smoky Mountains have to offer. You’ll have a chance to experience the area up close and personally. Best of all, you are being given an opportunity to take part in an amazing adventure. And if this is a new adventure for you then horseback riding lessons will make sure that you are comfortable and know how to best enjoy the experience safely.
Horseback riding Lessons
There are four stables within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park that provide guided rides for both beginners and experts. These include Smoky Mountains and Sugarlands in the Gatlinburg area, Smokemont Riding Stables in Cherokee North Carolina, and Cades Cove Riding Stable in Townsend Tennessee. Several other private stables are scattered about the surrounding towns of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville.
All of these stables offer guided rides in the Smoky Mountains from March to November. Some may have age and weight limits. Horses go at a walking pace, perfect for those just learning. One can choose from rides that last from 45 minutes to several hours. Little ones, elderly, or those who are not sure about actual horseback lessons can pick from pony rides, hayrides, and carriage tours.
What to Expect
Horseback riding lessons will open up a whole new world to Smoky Mountain visitors. It is an excellent way to explore the area. Wildlife such as turkey, white tail deer, and black bears are commonly spotted. In addition, riders will enjoy amazing views of the mountains and beautiful scenery.
One hour rides on average range from $20 to $25. There are 550 miles of trails to use, some with campsites. Expect trail conditions to possibly be rugged. They can narrow or become steep, but guided tours for novice riders will avoid these areas.
Tips for First Time Riders
The biggest tip is to dress correctly. Riding boots or sturdy shoes are a must. A slight heel is recommended, such as you would find on cowboy boots. All shoes must be closed toed for protection. Sandals and sneakers are not a good option for horseback riding. Wear looser long pants or jeans. Most stables will provide all other necessary equipment, including helmets. Many require children to wear a helmet, but it is a good idea for all beginners of any age.
Don’t be scared or nervous. The horses can pick up on your feelings and react accordingly. Relax and have fun. The experienced guides are there to help you and make sure your ride is an enjoyable and safe one.