There is something mystical (and even magical) about a horse. It’s no wonder every little cowboy and cowgirl begs for a pony ride (and some, for the actual pony!). If you’re looking to spend the day with an equine friend, or your junior jockey wants to start lessons, the following are some of the best stables for wee riders in the DMV.

photo: Traci Medlock via Lock & Co. Photography 

Best For: Pony Rides

Rock Creek Horse Center
What tot-sized trotter doesn’t love a pony ride? This stable—conveniently located in the city—offers rides on weekdays June-Aug. and on weekends April-Oct. Pony rides are $22 for a 10-15 minute ride. Children must be at least 30″ tall and 2.5 year of age or older. What makes this stable a stand-out is the special themed rides throughout the year. Our favorite: Reindeer Rides on select weekends in Nov. and Dec.! Pony rides, jolly elves and a visit from Santa on his sleigh make this a must-do event for the whole family.

5100 Glover Rd.
at N, Maintenence Rd.
202-362-0117
Online: rockcreekhorsecenter.com

Salamander Equestrian Program
If you’re looking for a horse-related day-trip or weekend of everything equine, head to this Middleburg resort in the heart of horse country. For $35, little ones from 2-4 can ride a pony. Children 5 & up can take riding lessons, participate in “horse whispering” or indulge in a horsemanship class that ends in a fun paint-your-own pony workshop. Be sure to linger on the grounds at dusk when the mesh horse statues are illuminated. Don’t forget to visit Cupcake, the miniature horse, at the Equestrian Center. Or, if you’re lucky, he’ll greet you in the lobby!

Salamander Resort
500 North Pendleton St.
Middleburg, VA
844-815-1765
Online: salamanderresort.com

photo: Traci Medlock via Lock & Co. Photography 

Best for: First Time Riders

Columbia Horse Center
For junior jockeys age 5 & up, the Columbia Horse Center offers introductory classes (almost) every Saturday at 1 p.m. Participants are asked to wear pants and close-toed shoes; helmets are provided. For $20/person, want-to-be riders can take a trial ride and if they want to pursue classes a $20 credit is will be applied towards enrollment.

10400 Gorman Rd.
Laurel, MD
301-776-5850
Online: columbiahorsecenter.com

Woodland Horse Center
On the (barn) fence about riding lessons? Every Sunday this Silver Spring stable offers introductory classes for $20 (which you can apply towards tuition if you sign up for lessons). The Center suggests that you arrive by 12:45 p.m. to participate in the 1 p.m. lesson but—insider’s tip—the paperwork is lengthy and if it isn’t completed before class time, you’ll be asked to return on another Sunday, so arrive early! Woodland works with riders 5 & up and provides helmets to those testing classes.

16301 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD
240-389-9041
Online: woodlandhorse.com

photo: Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center via Yelp

Best for: Therapeutic Riding

Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program
If your child has a disability or is struggling with physical, occupational or speech therapy, mounting a horse may be the answer! PATH ( Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified instructors lead therapeutic riding lessons for kids 4 & up at this Clifton stable. This Center also offers hippotherapy — physical, occupational or speech therapy with a horse — for kids 2 & up. Prescriptions are required for hippotherapy.

6429 Clifton Rd
Clifton, VA
703-764-0269
Online: nvtrp.org

photo: Sprout Center

Sprout Center
Sprout offers semi-private and private lessons starting at $55 (all lessons are subsidized by donations). Instructors are PATH-certified and dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities. This Center also offers hippotherapy or Equine Movement Therapy.

Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Education Center
40685 John Mosby Hwy.
Aldie, VA
571-367-4555
Online: sproutcenter.org

—Meghan Yudes Meyers

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