6717 Charlotte Highway
Lancaster, SC 29720
Just eight miles from Charlotte, enjoy horseback riding and a family bonfire roasting marshmallows. A 2.5-hour twilight trail ride for adults will conclude with a wine and cheese social. There’s also a family version, featuring both a beginner and advanced trail with access to nearly a 1,000 acres of wildlife terrain. There won’t be any sounds of traffic out there. The 12-Mile Creek runs along this land with rolling hills, soft green pastures dotted with pines, black walnut trees, deer, rabbits and racoons. The eight to 10-acre beginner trail runs along the creek, then winds up and down several hills. Ask about riding Dotty, a sweet, gentle black and white spotted appaloosa. Or, there’s Apache, the painted horse. Enjoy this country adventure, just outside of the Charlotte urban rush!
Blue Wave Stable
8811 Shelley Mullis Rd.
Fort Mill, SC 29707
Experience a private trail ride with a picnic through some 120 acres of pasture and woods at the Blue Wave Stable. Just minutes from southeast Charlotte, tack up and saddle the horses. Expect it to take at least 90 minutes. There’s pre-trail riding preparation and getting to know the horse. Young children will be escorted by a guide on foot. World Champ Tommy Robinson offers training for competitive riders. The stable offers riding clinics in English, Western, natural horsemanship and more.
3900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC 28215
This farm is over 100 years old. Hodges Farm sits on 180 acres of land in Mecklenburg County. It is listed on the National and State Historic Registries. They offer special events, parties, hayrides, a seasonal pumpkin patch, trail riding and more. The working farm with crops and livestock could be a great educational experience for the kids. There are horses, cattle, goats and sheep. They also sell hay, mulch and local honey.
6201 Sample Road
Latta Plantation Equestrian Center is a favorite trail riding spot around here. Valerie Pierson volunteered at the center for many years, then she bought the stables. She says she’s living her dream. There are some 16 miles of trails through trees and around the waters of Mountain Island Lake. Many come straight from big-city work and go out to ride for stress relief. A big hit is the sunset ride every other Saturday. The trail ride concludes with a steak and chicken dinner with beans and baked potatoes. Bring out a family, church, scout or corporate group for this event. Kids under 12 must pass a Jr. Rider test, showing skills in holding the reins, stopping and turning. If they’re still a little shaky, they will be escorted with a walker. Pierson says to call at least three to four days ahead for a trail ride schedule.
3022 Miranda Road
Charlotte, NC 28216
Horse Shadow Run is about 10 minutes from uptown Charlotte. Its 40 acres of nature trails and riding instruction are perfect for riders of any level. Learn Western, English and Dressage. The popular summer camps include instruction on trail riding, as well. Call about arranging a private trail ride on this beautiful spot!
Catherine Lash engagingly connects with people. She has learned that interested listening and thoughtful questioning are the means through which collaboration creates a story. She grew up traveling the world and learning military life in an Air Force family of seven. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three kids. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.