Southern Maryland has always been horse country and it's the perfect
place to learn to ride.
Even in the era of modern farming, horses still have a strong presence.
Their charm and intelligence ensures that few people ever consider
themselves horse owners; instead, like Chris Yee of Arabesque Farm in
Leonardtown, they are horse lovers.
As Yee noted, those typically involved in equine activities do it based
on their love of horses. Riding instructor Gina Hall of Fair Weather
Farm Equestrian Center, formerly in Prince Frederick and now located
solely in Charles County, said she has always been "so in love with
horses, and it's such a joy to share that love and my knowledge with
kids and adult riders."
Hall, who began riding at age seven, said, "I'll start a child as young
as five as long as they're really eager." She added that children who
are seven, "are a bit taller" and it's a good age to start lessons.
However, as Hall knows from her own past, "some children are born with a
passion" for horses and riding.
Mary Russell of Lucky Cricket Farm in Huntingtown believes "riding is a
life skill" and people looking for a place to learn how to ride should
"be looking for a place that teaches them horsemanship-how to approach a
horse, how to halter a horse, how to safely lead, groom, and tack up."
Russell said, "We do it because we love it-it's a lot of work, it's
morning to night, but the joy is to be with the animals and to be
Finding a stable offering lessons can be easier, said Hall, if you first
locate your area's horse tack shop where you'll find lots of information
on local stables. "Talk to the people in the tack shop to find out who's
reputable in your area," she recommended. Hall and Russell also suggest
the free magazine called Equiery found at most tack shops for locating
Horseback riding isn't just for children, as Hall will attest. Her adult
riding program is strongly attended as well. "Usually, my adults are
women who used to ride and gave it up for careers or to raise their
children and now they're getting back into it." Russell also said while
she teaches more children than adults to ride, her oldest student was
70. "It's good exercise-you use every muscle in your body," said
Russell. "Riding is excellent for your upper thighs and abdomen, and you
feel good....it's just very soothing."
Prices for lessons can range from $25 to $75 per half hour or hour in
either individual or group settings. Russell said she hopes to make
people aware that there is diverse riding in all three counties of
Southern Maryland. "The nice thing is the variety," said Russell. "You
can take lessons to jump, to drive, or in Dressage, trail riding,
Western pleasure-it's all here."
Once you've mastered all the skills needed, you'll find the quiet
countryside of Southern Maryland is perfect for contemplative rides.
Southern Maryland Trail Riders hosts relaxed group rides, with faster
riders starting first and less experienced riders in the rear. The trail
rider's President Theresa Cameron is also involved with a Hughesville
4-H group, which organizes horse shows for all breeds and provides
instruction for young riders.
In addition to local tack shops, the
www.somd.com horse forum is a
useful resource for novices and experienced equestrians new to the area.
There, you can research local boarding facilities, farriers,
veterinarians, equine dentists and blacksmiths.
When all that research yields a jumble of opinions, visit a few
promising barns. Look for comfortable stalls, good lighting, and happy,
fat horses, as well as knowledgeable caregivers and instructors who are
in love with everything equine.
According to Trisha Grizzard of Iron Gate Equine and Goat Rescue in
Mechanicsville, those looking for good riding stables may also want to
look for goats. "Goats calm the horses down, and the horses just trail
the little goats. They enjoy the company," said Grizzard.
Grizzard rescues neglected, abused, abandoned and endangered horses, and
goats destined for market. "I wanted them to live a life, and not be
somebody's dinner. "This country was built on horse power," said
Grizzard. "Beasts of burden deserve a good life, and a useful one."
3250 Cage Farm Rd. (off Mackall Rd.), St. Leonard, MD; 410-585-0801;
Horse boarding and training facilities with instruction and
Canaan Farms Pet and Farm Care
3381 Plum Point Rd., Huntingtown, MD; 410-257-0706
Horseback riding, camp, after school programs, club events - educational
programs include horsemanship, general animal care, arts and crafts,
relaxing and rewarding program for young and old; horse boarding, horse
leasing, horse training.
Lucky Cricket Farm
1935 Emmanuel Church Rd.; Huntingtown, MD;
Horseback riding, boarding and training.
Oak Hill Farm and Stables
3805 Hance Rd., Port Republic, MD; 410-586-0679 or 410-586-3347;
Horses (Arabian, Standard & Thoroughbred); horseback riding, horse
boarding and horse training.
2425 Parkers Creek Rd., Port Republic, MD; 410-495-7605; email@example.com
Group, semi-private and private lessons- age 5 & up.
Fair Weather Equestrian Ctr. LLC
Gina Hall, Director; 13830 Beech Hill Place, Charlotte Hall, MD;
Horseback riding -focused on the competitive rider, English style for
adults and children; horse boarding; horse training - competition
Locust Grove Stables
D8305 Hawthorne Rd., La Plata, MD; 301-934-0531;
Lessons in Western & English Pleasure, Hunter Jumper/HUS/Horsemanship,
Equitation/Showmanship/ Trails, and equestrian summer day camps.
Popes Creek Stables
Gwen Galloway; 9400 Brentfield Place, Bel Alton, MD; 301-643-0631;
Training and lessons for adults and children.
Willow Creek Farm Stables, LLC.
8755 Port Tobacco Rd., La Plata, MD; 301-399-3880;
Trainer on Premises/Lessons/Training; Beginner/ Intermediate Lessons
(Ages 8 and Up); Western Pleasure/Trail, Beginners English/Basic
St. Mary's County
A Moment in Time
41911Breton Beach Rd., Leonardtown, MD; 301-475-5434
Outdoor arenas, trail riding, and lessons.
22150 Monterey Place; Leonardtown, MD; 301-475-6882
Horseback riding lessons, horse boarding and trail riding.
Crimson Clover Farm
31395 Point Lookout Rd., Mechanicsville, MD; 301-884-0768; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Instruction available for riders of all skill levels in hunt seat
equitation and jumping. Summer camps and shows.
Flat Iron Farm
P.O. Box 353, Great Mills, MD; 240-925-7430; email@example.com
Lessons, leasing and boarding; full service tack shop on site (Horse
Free Spirit Farm
38613 Chaptico Rd., Mechanicsville, MD; 301-884-2401 or
Horseback riding, riding lessons and instruction in horse care.
41370 Friendship Court, Mechanicsville (Oakville), MD; 301-373-8184;
Carriage rides; horseback riding, horse-drawn vehicle driving lessons,
draft horse team/pair.
Holly Point Equestrian Center
Chris Bologna & Carol Collins; 19495 Holly Point Way, Leonardtown,
MD; 240-538-5106 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
Off Rt. 5 in Mechanicsville; 410-586-2956/240-210-5019;
Large riding ring w/jumps; hunter/jumper/equitation lessons and training
Hickory Hollow Tack and Saddlery
Clarkes Landing Rd., Hollywood, MD; 301-373-5616
Just One More Saddlery & Tack
78 South Solomons Island Rd., Huntingtown, MD;
Lucy's Majic Horse & Tack Shop
8755 Port Tobacco Rd., La Plata, MD; 301-934-5400; email@example.com;
Wheatley Tack Shop
7700 Wheatley Rd., La Plata, MD; 301-934-9383
Interested in creating your own horse farm? Christine Bergmark of
the Tri-County Council Agricultural Development Commission promotes
equine tourism and provides grants for farmers hoping to transition,
especially from tobacco farming, to equine pursuits. 301-274-1922 or
Hooves 4 Hope
Dr. Linda Molesworth, V.M.D.; Huntingtown, 410-535-9700.
Free therapeutic riding program for abused, neglected and at-risk
children ages five-18.
Southern Maryland Trail Riders
Bring your own horse events. Non-competitive, aside from judged
rides held each spring and fall.
A free publication available at most area tack and feed shops.
Online at www.equiery.com. Search
for stables by Maryland county.
Please note that we did much research to develop this list. However, we
may have missed a few. So please use this list as a starting point to
begin your search for riding lessons.