I had our day planned out and did not involve horseback riding.
The plan was for our family to go on a hike and explore the trails and various activities around Sun Mountain Lodge the old fashioned way – on our feet (with V in her chair). But as soon as my daughters found out that horseback riding was an option, all of my plans were forgotten. I relented and we headed to the Activities Shop to sign up for a ride.
Sun Mountain Lodge has several options for horseback riding: a one and half hour trail ride, a half day trail ride, and private rides, in addition to the ride to the cowboy breakfast and dinner. I wasn’t sure how they would accommodate V since she can’t sit fully straddling a horse and doesn’t sit independently, so I thought maybe she, my husband and I would go find something else to do while my oldest was riding. V however had other plans. She was determined to ride a horse as well, and made sure that I knew it. While I signed my oldest daughter up for her one and a half hour ride, V continually nodding her head while saying, “shhhhhhhh,” which is how she emphasizes “yes.” I asked if they gave rides to kids with special needs and they do, of course the type of ride can vary greatly depending on the child’s ability. V got signed up for a lead ride around the parking area and she couldn’t have been more excited; her smile beamed as we walked back to our room to change into jeans for the ride.
We arrived at the horse corral and got both girls set up. Deb, the owner of the horse program was very friendly and gracious, providing whatever support necessary to give both our girls their best experience. My oldest was off for her group trail ride, while V received full attention for her adventure. We got her on the horse, my husband walked on one side, myself on the other and Deb walked next to V holding her hand, while V’s horse Marvin was led around the parking lot several times. V doesn’t tend to be very expressive during an experience like this, she’s too busy taking it all in, but afterward she was all smiles.
Suggestions for horseback riding at Sun Mountain Lodge:
- Plan ahead. They were very friendly about our last minute registration, and fortunately there were times available, but the sessions can book up quickly. The best thing is to schedule your ride when you book your trip.
- Discuss your child’s special needs. When you register with the Activity Shop be sure to explain what your child needs and ask specific questions about the experience and how your child might respond. Having that conversation in advance helps them be prepared for your child, and ensures the best experience for all of you.
Disclaimer: Sun Mountain Lodge provided my family with a 2-night stay, Cowboy Dinner and spa treatment for our review. The opinions and experiences are my own.