When most people hear "horseback riding," they think of Western states like Texas, Montana, and Utah. They imagine desert landscape, red rock canyons, and fields of cacti. Very rarely does the New England region emerge as an option for this sport; at least, not until now.
The Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, Vermont offers one of the few premier Northeast horseback riding experiences. Highlighted by their Equestrian Center, this inn features an extensive horseback riding program, breathtaking natural scenery, and a host of year-round activities.
In the midst of the Green Mountain National Forest, this 350-acre oasis is teeming with almost every type of terrain; ride along majestic mountains, a sparkling lake, and flower-dotted fields. Just as there are various landscapes to explore, there are oodles of horseback riding options to choose from, whether on their horse or yours.
"Our horseback riding program has been an integral part of The Mountain Top Inn & Resort for many years," Director of Programs and Facilities Roger Hill said. "We welcome guests from all over the world every summer to enjoy our extensive equestrian program: guided trail rides, lessons, overnight stabling, trail rides with lunch, all with the backdrop of Vermont's natural beauty."
Saddle up for a scenic experience on a guided trail ride. One- and two-hour trips allow you to trot through pristine mountain pastures and along miles of wooded trails. Explore the flowering fields of spring and summer or the brilliant autumn foliage. If you'd like to snack in the saddle, the inn offers a three hour guided ride complete with delicious picnic lunches prepared by their Chef. And the little cowboys and cowgirls will love 15-minute pony rides through the beautiful property grounds.
Less experienced riders can boost their confidence with riding lessons. Assisted by professional instructors, beginners can choose from half-hour private lessons, one-hour private lessons, and one-hour group lessons. For those who are really serious about getting out on the trail, there are 10 one-hour group and private lesson cards to get you up to speed.
“It is rewarding to see guests who have never ridden learn the basics and find the confidence to join a trail ride through the Green Mountains, “ Stable Manager Louise Bienieki said. “Guests return year after year to improve and hone their skills. Our Adult Horsemanship Camp sells out each summer and is the perfect way for riders to develop their skills in a comfortable environment.”
Serious riders can sharpen their skills with jumping and an introduction to cross country jumping that includes instruction and clinics. And your horse will feel at home thanks to the inn’s boarding service, which includes a stable, food, and professional care.
The cowboys in training will have a blast at the kids camps. The Children’s Summer Horsemanship Camp teaches kids how to ride in a fun and safe environment, the essentials of grooming, and proper saddling. The Vermont Summer Adventure Camp helps outdoor lovers hone their skills with hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, caving, and more.
When you’re not horseback riding, enjoy almost endless adventures that include tennis, swimming (private beach and pool), boating, kayaking, canoeing, nearby golf, massage therapy, clay bird shooting, and yoga classes. When the winter wonderland arrives, try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice skating.
Regardless of your experience or riding ability, come give the Equestrian Center at The Mountain Top Inn & Resort a try!