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Frequently Asked Questions About Horseback Riding

How do I schedule a ride?

Scheduling a ride is easy! Contact Guest Services to schedule rides for you and your guests. We highly recommend scheduling as far in advance as possible. Many of our rides will fill up days and/or weeks in advance; especially in our summer months and holiday periods. Guest Services will also be able to recommend rides that will fit your group. They will ask you for each rider’s name, height, weight, and riding ability, when scheduling your reservation. As a courtesy to other riders and to get the most riding time, please arrive at the Barn 15 minutes prior to your scheduled ride time.

How long are the horseback rides?

Horseback rides vary from 30 minute lessons to 4-hour trail rides.

Will I be able to canter or lope on a ride?

If you’re an advanced rider, you can join a wrangler-led ride where you’ll be able to lope with your horse. Advanced (lope) rides are available for those age 12 or older who demonstrate the skills required to ride safely at a lope. The safety of horses and riders is our first priority.

Will a wrangler be with me?

Small groups are provided personal attention by our experienced wranglers.

How many trails are available?

We have over 100 miles of trails on 10,500 acres.

What’s the terrain like?

Ride horses through canyons, shaded hillsides, past grazing cattle and around Alisal Lake.

Do I need cowboy boots?

Cowboy boots, English riding boots, or other hard, slick-soled heeled shoes (tennis/running shoes are acceptable). Please note: Hiking boots with heavy tread are not safe; they can bind up in the stirrups. Slip-on shoes and sandals are not allowed.

What should I wear?

Please come dressed with long pants, and sturdy shoes or boots. Your boots must have a closed toe and closed heel and should have a 1″ heel minimum and have soles smooth enough to allow easy extraction from the stirrups.

Hats are allowed, but must be securely fitted with a stampede string and not be at risk of blowing off. Your wrangler has final say over any items that may pose a safety risk to any horse or rider. Backpacks and purses can be left at your room or in a barn cubby.

Are helmets available?

Helmets are available, optional, but recommended for all riders.

Is there a weight limit?

Our Weight Limit for riding is 240 pounds (210 pounds for Advanced riders). Please provide your accurate weight for the safety of horse and rider. We strongly advise against pregnant women riding for reasons of safety.

Do I need to be in good physical shape?

Riders with questions regarding medical considerations should contact the Ranch prior to arriving. Generally, you should be able to mount and dismount without assistance, and be able to comfortably sit for up to 2 hours.

Is there an age limit?

Riders age 7+ may participate in Beginner and Intermediate rides. Advanced rides are available to riders 12+ (at wrangler’s discretion).

Our Lead Around experience is available for soon-to-be-riders younger than 7 years old.

How do I schedule rides for my large group?

Please contact the Sales Department, to inquire about large groups for horseback riding. Depending on availability, we offer rodeos outside the summer months for large groups.

Are horseback riding programs and non-riding programs available to everyone?

Horseback riding is available to overnight guests only.

Are there any horseback riding vacation packages?

Our Horseback Riding Packages offer studio accommodations (double occupancy) along with Horseback riding on regularly scheduled morning and afternoon group trail rides and more.


If you have any questions regarding the horseback riding policies, please
contact our Guest Services team.


Service Charges

The Alisal's 20% service charge is intended to eliminate the need for our guests to tip individual employees, as well as cover the cost of a variety of amenities provided to our guests. These include two water canteens and a bottle of Alisal wine at check-in, daily newspapers, complimentary WiFi internet access, fitness center, complimentary shuttles to and from Solvang village center, nightly hors d'oeuvres in the Oak Room bar, complimentary bicycles, wine tasting with Alisal wine partners, scheduled and seasonal entertainment and a variety of children's activities including barnyard and Kid's arts and crafts room.