Horseback riding: Facing the fear

Most people have ridden a horse at least once in their lifetime by the time they’ve hit their mid-twenties. I on the other hand had not until only recently. Maybe because I was never given riding lessons as a child or maybe it was the fear of being thrown off the horse and being paralyzed.

Whatever the reason was, in December I decided to purchase a Groupon deal for horseback riding at Green Acres Ranch in Temecula for my boyfriend and me.

When we got there, I could instantly see how big the ranch was and how many horses were on the property. Some of the horses were in open stables and guests were able to pet them. I think this helped with my nervousness since it helped me realize how calm and gentle these animals are.

As the time to ride approached, a group of about eight were waiting to take the plunge. I was slightly nervous but excited.

Those working the ranch asked the group if there was anyone who had been on a horse before – only a couple had. It made me feel better that most of the people in the group were “newbies.”

Before the trail ride began a riding lesson was given – such as how to get on/off the horse, how to control the horse, and what not to do. It seemed simple enough.

It’s amazing how intelligent these animals really are. You control the horse like you would control a car. Pull the reigns to the left or right and the horse will turn, pull the reigns back and it will stop. A whistle will also get the horse to move faster – I later learned this from one of the workers who was riding behind me to help get my horse to catch up to the other riders.

The horses were selected for riders by weight; most of the men in the group got the bigger horses. When it came time for me to meet my horse, Will, he was a medium-sized brown horse.

The ranch workers were helpful in getting everyone onto their horse. When I finally was on top of the horse, I didn’t feel nervous anymore. I already felt as though I had conquered my fear.

Each rider trailed one behind the other. The trail ride went around the ranch and through the hills.

During the ride Will was calm. He never did anything to make me feel nervous. Actually, I was starting to really trust this horse. At the end of trail ride we were given complimentary wine tasting vouchers.

Overall it was a wonderful experience and I faced my fear of getting on a horse. I can easily say that I would do it again.

For those who are interested in horseback riding, Groupon still has an offer for Green Acres Ranch and Wine Country Trails by Horseback, also in Temecula.

There is also an offer on Living Social for Vin Hesten Trail Rides in Temecula. These discounted offers are a great way to get people that normally wouldn’t be inclined to try it out.

Other places you can experience horseback riding in Temecula include Saddle Up WineTours, which has high reviews on Yelp, and Breezeway Farms.

It is recommended by staff that when you go riding to wear closed-toe shoes and pants. The saddle can irritate your skin and you do go through a lot of brush that could scratch you.

Also wear sunglasses to avoid dust being blown into your eyes.

Saddle Up Wine Tours: 43550 Dash For Cash Circle; (951) 297-9196

Green Acres Ranch Inc: 35750 de Portola Rd.; (951) 302-6045

Wine Country Trails by Horseback: 35960 Rancho California Rd.; (951) 506-8706

Breezeway Farms: 38801 Los Corralitos Rd.; (951) 764-0648

Vin Hesten Trail Rides: 41605 De Portola Rd.; (951) 595-7802

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