Guided Horseback Trail Rides through the Black Forest in Custer, SD. Beautiful trails and scenery and wonderful staff & horses!
Our family enjoys horseback riding when we go on vacation each year – but we really like to find guided rides that are scenic and allow us to explore the area rather than just following a dirt trail. When researching options in the Black Hills of South Dakota, we found Rockin R Rides and their online photos and ride description fit what we were looking for in a trail ride experience.
The stables are easy to find and located near Custer State Park which is very convenient for the area. When we arrived, we were greeted by some wonderful staff that helped us through the paperwork and talked to us about our riding experience. Children as young as 6 years old can ride on their own horse. They do a great job of matching the horse’s personality to the age of the child. Kids under age 12 need to wear a helmet on the ride; teens and adults can choose to wear one if they wish. If you have a child under age 6, they are able to ride the ponies in the yard for their own riding experience (those are offered free for families who register for a ride).
Before our ride, one of the trail guides explained how to mount the horse, use the reins, where to store your items (they have nice saddle bags for your water bottle and camera) and what to expect on the ride. There is a raised platform to help you (and the kids) get on the horse which is great. Oh, and they offer to take photos of your family with your camera once you are all on your horses. We LOVED this as all of the other stables we’ve ridden at take a photo that you can purchase at the end of the ride (those are nice for first time rides but we usually don’t pay for those).
The ride was absolutely GORGEOUS! The horses followed a dirt trail across the field and into the Black Forest where we rode for two hours through the pine & aspen trees, down an old mining road and up a few fun hills. There were a number of fun switch-backs and a nice change in elevation during the ride (I would suggest a jacket especially for the morning rides). It was so peaceful and the kids loved the experience. We saw deer on the ride and stopped to get photos a few times. The horses were very friendly and knew the trail – my 10 year old rode up front near our guide and loved being on her own horse. And even my teen stills remarks at how much he enjoyed the ride and scenery.
The rates were great for the area (and for the experience as we’ve paid much more in other areas of the country for a shorter ride). And I really can’t say enough about the staff – friendly, knowledgeable and very patient and helpful with the kids! As with most stables, there is only a porta-potty so have the kids try before you head out. And also bring water, sunscreen and a hat (or you can buy a fun cowboy hat at the stable – there were some really cute ones!)
At the end of the ride, the kids receive a certificate signed by their guide. And also ask the staff and guides about the area. They gave us some great tips on things to see and places to eat which was so helpful during the remainder of our stay in the area. I would highly recommend this experience to any family, whether it’s your first ride or you are experienced riders.
My family & I received a complimentar ride at Rockin R Rides. I received no other compensation and all opinions are entirely my own.