We all find it pretty adorable when the kids decide to saddle up the family dog, slap on a cowboy hat, and take him for a ride around the living room. But why not give Fido a break and take them for a ride on a real horse? Happy Trails Horse Rentals helps kids can get acquainted with one of nature’s most majestic animals and play on the beach at the same time.

This hidden gem is located a little outside of San Diego, just southeast past Imperial Beach. It’s appropriate for nearly all ages and offers private trail and wagon rides, riding lessons and pony rides for the kids. They even offer birthday parties.

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Horsemanship Lessons
Lessons are open to both kids and adults, so no need to worry if this is your first time, too. Choose between taking private lessons  or sharing lessons with a group. While the price is a little higher for the private sessions, kids do get one-on-one attention. Prices range from $40 – $60 for private lessons, to $35 – $50 for group lessons.

Happy Trails always rides to the skill of the least experienced rider in the group. Kiddos will be under the supervision of an experienced guide, and absolutely no running is permitted while on a horse. It’s an incredibly safe and fun way to spend time with the kids, or even train your future equestrian-in-the-making.

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Beach and Trail Rides
Happy Trails makes horseback riding accessible for both water and land-lovers. For those looking to get away from the ocean for a bit, you can hop on horseback with the young’uns and frolic through the Tijuana River Valley. You’ll trot past fields of wild roses and watch as your kids enjoy watching falcons and other beautiful birds soar overhead.

If you and the kids are looking to get a little wet, on the other hand, Happy Trails will gladly take you down to the most southwestern point in the nation and let you walk along the sandy turf. It’s the only place in the County that allows horses on the beach.

Only kids ages 6 and up are allowed on the beach and trail rides. But little ones are free to hop on a pony and ride around the ranch. Be sure to check out their website for a full list of prices and for rider requirements and appropriate clothing to wear.

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Birthday Parties for the Kids
Happy Trails offers an exciting array of events for your horse-loving kiddo’s birthday party. Kids will enjoy more than pony rides and clowns in the Wild West. They have a party jumper and a petting zoo. The ranch comes equipped with a picnic area, BBQ pit, fire ring, and a horseshoe pit. Families can bring their own caterer or band to the event.

Party packages are reasonably priced ($250/3-hour event; $500/ 6-hour party). For an additional fee, Happy Trails will throw in animal lectures and a wagon ride so the kiddos can burn off that energy that they seem to have in surplus.

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2225 Hollister St.
San Diego, CA
(619) 443-3517
Online: happytrails-usa.com

Have you taken your kids horseback riding? Tell us your favorite places to go in the comments!

– Ben Kerns

Photo Credits: Happy Trails Horse Rentals Facebook page