I recently asked the question on sister site Toopa Sydney, "Best places to go horse riding in Sydney?" I asked this because of my experiences of going horse riding at Valley View Park in Grose Vale (near Richmond). Horse riding is not something I am at all familiar with, so it was a fun and unusual day out for me.
Setting out on the ride is an exciting moment
And the bush makes a beautiful setting
A relative of mine from England came to stay with me for a couple of weeks, and asked if we could go somewhere where he could see real Australian bush. After getting on Google for a bit, I came across the idea of horse riding at Valley View Park. It seemed the perfect way to do things - trek through Australian bush while sitting on the back of a horse. No experience was needed, so I sent an email off and they booked in a session for us.
No experience is needed to enjoy a horse trail ride here
After the drive there, it was a little bit confusing figuring out where to go. We were on a property where a child's birthday party was going on, and there didn't seem to be any signs of where to go. A big homestead stood in the middle of the property, and while we were figuring out where to go, a cockatoo kept saying hello to us, which thrilled my English visitor who had never seen something like that before.
Sights include the occasional rusted out car
Finally, we found someone in a shed-looking building further back from the homestead. This turned out to be the office. So we signed our forms, paid the money, and picked out helmets for ourselves. We were then taken to the horse yard, and helped up on to our horses. The man who had signed us in called a teenage girl over and told her to take us on our trail ride.
You'll even pass some picturesque water
Then the ride started. Trekking out into the bush, seated on the back of an animal was amazing. We passed so many things - rusted out old cars, a beautiful lake, and quiet areas with only the rustling of native animals around. It was a great experience, and we kept waving at each other when we weren't taking photos.
The homestead with a cockatoo that likes to greet visitors
Unfortunately our teenage guide wasn't very interested in being an actual guide. She spent the entire one hour or so ride texting on her mobile phone, and never said a word to any of us. Occasionally she would stop, but I don't know if it was to let us catch up, or to focus on a really pressing text. Either way, it was left to us to spot interesting things and point them out to each other, and hope for the best if we got into trouble (like when my horse went under a very low hanging branch and nearly knocked me off).
Get back to nature while on the back of a horse
My relative wasn't very impressed with the service there, and I have to say that I wasn't really either. But the ride itself was such a lovely experience that I definitely don't regret doing it. Would I go there again? Maybe. But I would probably look for other places that had similar settings first, without the texting teenage guide.
My thirsty horse takes a drink at the end of the ride
Where: 299 Grose Vale Road, Grose Vale (via North Richmond)
Why: For the beautiful surrounds and something different to do
Cost: It depends on what kind of ride you choose
When: Trail rides depart 10:30am, 12:30pm and 3:00pm weekends and school/public holidays. Weekday rides by special arrangement.
Good for kids: Yes, they even have packages for kids birthday parties.