When you live in the Northeast, it is easy to forget just how lucky we are to have all four seasons in such a beautiful and unique landscape. And what better way to take in the natural splendor of our states’ scenery? Trail riding! Though many of us prefer not to go on trails alone, or we may not have one near our barn, we do have fantastic organizations that work to put on the best events for members and the public. Here are 10 of the top trail rides organized around the Northeast.
Originally presented by Equine Journal
BSTRA NATIONAL TRAILS DAY RIDE
The Bay State Trail Riders Association does a fundraiser and ride each year to celebrate National Trails Day on June 11. In 2017, they changed locations to Apple Knoll Farm located in Millis, MA. Riders get to go through over 300 acres of land with nine miles worth of marked trails. The event is also open to hikers, promoting families to come on foot as well. There is a large parking area available, which after the ride is where everyone joins for lunch, a huge raffle, and an awards ceremony. All funds go toward funding Massachusetts trail projects. By request, overnight stabling and day stalls are available at Apple Knoll.
NHH&TA ANNUAL PLEASURE RIDE
September 10 at Profile Falls in Bristol, NH, is where the trail riders of New Hampshire will want to be. Hosted by the New Hampshire Horse and Trail Association and the New England Horse and Trail Association, there are two trails, about eight and 16 miles long. Riders of all ages and levels can enjoy the dense wood roads, and the horses will love the soft footing. This mixed terrain and landscape is a favorite for many of the association and club riders. The foliage is just beginning to change during this September schedule, but the trails are scenic no matter what time of the season you visit.
SMART TURKEY TROT RIDE
When people in Maine trail ride, they ride SMART. Southern Maine Association for Riding Trails, also known as SMART, has been known to put up countless successful pleasure rides throughout southern Maine and Eastern New Hampshire. The SMART trails, according to Judy Lorimer, Vice President of the New England Horse & Trail Association, “are sometimes challenging, depending on local terrain, but are well-marked, and the food is always fantastic, home cooked, and plentiful!”
November holds a favorite for SMART riders, The Turkey Trot in South Berwick, ME. According to member Julia Fortier, the terrain is “a little of everything. Railroad bed, small mountain, wonderful woods trails, and minimal tar—except to cross over and a eighth of a mile on return.” The trail, which is 12-15 miles long, is a club favorite not just for the ride, but also for the delicious turkey dinner that follows.
CTRA WADSWORTH FALLS RIDE
Among many of the scenic areas of New England, a surprising one many may not expect to find is located in Middletown, CT. Wadsworth Falls is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls around, they are “breathtaking, especially after a large rainfall!” says Patti Crowther of the Connecticut Trail Rides Association. The trail is open to the public, so you may encounter other riders, hikers, runners, and families along the way. If all the routes are ridden, the ride accumulates to about five miles. The simple terrain is great for barefooted horses.
WGHA GO FISH RIDE
The West Greenwich Horseman’s Association holds various organized trail pleasure rides throughout Rhode Island every year. One ride in particular that always has a great attendance is their “Go Fish” ride held at the Carolina Trout Pond in the Carolina Trout Management Area in Richmond. It is usually held the first weekend in April, which is the weekend before opening fishing season in Rhode Island.
The club usually marks out a 10-mile loop that can be ridden two times. It consists of various terrains and beautiful scenery. The trail loop is on dirt roads, small wooded trails in pine groves that make great soft footing. Riders get to go around a corn and turf farm that hooks up with the North South Trail. “The various terrains allow the riders to be able to walk, trot, and canter. You will see old cemeteries; lots of foundations and old streambeds that flow over uniquely built ground to dump into a water hole,” says WGHA Vice President Linda Krul. While trail riders are venturing the 10- mile loop, they are on the lookout for cutouts that were placed by the ride managers and can receive prizes during a seafood lunch held after the ride.
SUSAN G. KOMEN RIDE FOR THE CURE
As we all know, October is a beautiful time in New England. What’s even more beautiful is enjoying the Vermont foliage with your horse and friends, while riding for a cause. The Susan G. Komen Association hosts a six- or nine-mile ride in South Woodstock, VT, hosted by the Green Mountain Horse Association. The ride’s funds go 100 percent to fun local programs information, screening, research, grants, and treatment for breast cancer. Many of the riders show their support by not only riding, but also wearing pink clothes and tack. Though a bit of fundraising is required for this ride, everyone who attends surely feels great about supporting!
GMHA FALL FOLIAGE RIDE
Many trail riding associations in New England have a staple on their agenda, a fall foliage ride. These are especially great to fully appreciate the peak season of fall when everything is red and orange hued. The Green Mountain Horse Association’s Fall Foliage Ride, located in South Woodstock, VT, is their biggest hit of the year. It consists of five full days of riding—three are hitting the usual GMHA trails and two are trekking through local trails out of the usual circuit. Each trail varies in length, but most average on 10 miles, with the trail network totaling 400 miles.
NYS FALL RIDE
For over 45 years, New York State Trail Riders have been marking their calendars for the club’s Fall Pleasure Ride. The Madison Country Fairgrounds is where the ride begins, and continues through the Brookfield Trail system, southeast of Madison County. The trail has a total of 130 miles of connected trails with mild to moderate slopes. “The Fall Pleasure Ride includes many additional fun activities for participants and may vary from year to year,” says Carolyn Moore, NYS Horse Council member and unofficial historian. “Social hours before dinner, poker run, scavenger hunt, fun country pace, obstacle course competition, pumpkin carving contest, jar wars, and an auction.” The ride typically goes from Thursday to Monday, most members camp out at the fairgrounds for the event.
LKTA FALL TRAIL RIDE
The Landsman Kill Trail Association is a friendly non-profit in New York whose members open their land to be part of the club’s trail network. According to club president Paila Vincitore, the club comprises “mostly of folks with backyard horses, who just love to trail ride.” With over 75 miles in total of trails, there is one eight- to 10-mile trail that stands out, the Fall Trail Ride. The ride covers open fields and shaded woods, and hugs the banks of the scenic Hudson River in many cases. The ride finishes with a picnic lunch at beautiful stone barns that were once part of the historic Aster Estate.
RISPCA TRAIL RIDES
Three times a year the Rhode Island Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals SPCA, hosts fundraising rides for their organization. Held in May, September, and October, these rides are great any time of the year. The trail goes throughout Goddard State Park in Warwick, RI, the state’s most popular park. The park has a fenced in ring for people to warm up before heading out on the trail. Along with the 18 miles of bridle paths for exploration, riders also get to enjoy riding on the beach. Not only do you get to enjoy the beauty of Rhode Island on horseback, you also get to support animals in need!