By Dani Frank

Climbing atop a dapple-gray pony and taking a trot down a shaded trail, ending at the mouth of a rippling pond, is a picture-perfect fantasy for many, from little girls to grown men. Easier said than done. The act of saddling up a steed and grabbing hold of the reigns requires more than just a leather saddle and a pair of jodhpurs. Enroll in one of these five horseback riding academies, and learn the ins and outs of how to care for your mare and pick up a new activity for the start of Spring.

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River’s Edge Farm
91 Bethway Rd
Bethany, CT 06524
(203) 393-9640

Settled in secluded Bethany, River’s Edge Farm enables adult and child horse lovers to get their feet wet in the world of riding. Begin your training with a package of four lessons, riding a designated lesson horse of your choosing. After becoming comfortable atop a horse and working your hamstrings out, River’s Edge Farm offers an eight-week-long semester lessons. Private or group lessons last 45 minutes to an hour, and your training will culminate in a horse show to impress friends and family with your newly developed equestrian skills.

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Brushy Hill Farm
P.O. Box 235
Southbury, CT 06488
(203) 262-6466

Brushy Hill Farm’s spacious barn, Olympic-sized ring and expanse of grassy green acres evoke the wide -open plains of the Midwest. The Southbury center encourages riders of all ages to saddle up, with instructor Ev promising individual attention to adults looking to enter horseback riding and refraining from instituting an age limit. Group and private lessons are available at Brushy Hill, with a 10% discount offered for purchasing packages of six lessons.

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Pee Wee Horse Farm
5 Silver Hill Rd
Easton, CT 06612
(203) 268-9994

Easton’s Pee Wee Horse Farm is the self-proclaimed “Best of the West, here at home.” Whether you’re looking to pull on a ten gallon hat and channel your cowpoke fantasies or learn from the ground up how to care for a 16 hands (horse speak for 5 feet 4 inches) tall animal, Pee Wee is open seven days a week, full-service, and is here to help. Schedule a Western riding lesson or enjoy a guided ride down a trail atop one of Pee Wee Horse Farm’s noble steeds.

Hunter’s Run Stable
78 Hunter Lane
Glastonbury, CT 06033
(860) 633-7685

Hunter’s Run Stable in Glastonbury is a full-service center for aspiring equestrians. With year-round instruction, class is always in session, and students can enroll in weekly lessons before committing to more intensive summer or winter programs. Spend a week at Hunter’s Run Stable Camp, and leave a knowledgeable rider. Enjoy a daily riding lesson, grooming and care instruction, arts and crafts time and more.

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Carriage Stone Farm
665 Totoket Rd
Northford, CT 06472
(203) 484-2193

Northford’s Carriage Stone Farm, just east of Sleeping Giant State Park, is a stately, state of the art center offering year-round lesson packages for horseback riders to-be entering the sport at any time of year. The focus of the training is on safety and the essentials. Beginning in the English method of instruction, riders receive private 30-minute lessons, before transitioning into group sessions. The more showmanship aspects of horseback riding, jumping and the Western style of riding, are available after riders have mastered the basics. Check website for hours and pricing.

Dani Frank is a fashion, travel and culture enthusiast and writer living in Easton. A recent graduate of Hofstra University, she is most happy when traversing the East Coast and beyond and documenting it all for curious readers. Read her further work here.