What goes better than horseback riding and wine tasting? Horseback riding, wine tasting and a gourmet picnic lunch meet my criteria to a perfect day. Toss in an overnight stay at The Toll House hotel in Los Gatos and you have the ideal California horseback riding vacation. If this is your idea of a horse holiday, check out the Sips and Saddles package offered by the Toll House Hotel.
Sips and saddles
There are so many things to see and do in Saratoga, but my favorite activity is horseback riding through the hillsides of the Santa Cruz Mountains. My first attempt horseback riding at Garrod Stables was a wash out, due to inclement weather. However, this fall day in September proved an excellent time of year to take advantage of California’s Indian summer weather and the bounty of our grape harvest in wine country.
Los Gatos to Saratoga, California
After leaving The Toll House Hotel, I drove 25 minutes to the village of Saratoga and enjoyed the scenic Mt. Eden Road to Cooper-Garrod, a family owned and operated winery, 28 acre organic vineyard and home to Garrod Farms Riding Stables.
Garrod Farms was established in 1893 and for over 70 years, the family run farm was active in fruit production. Aging orchards have since been replaced with grapes and Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards followed. Fortunately for equestrians, Garrod Farms Riding Stables stables continues to offer horseback riding year round.
Horseback riding in Fremont Older Open Space Preserve
With approximately 50 horses available for public horseback riding, Garrod Stables offers one hour trail rides into Fremont Older Open Space, a 739-acre regional park located in Santa Clara County, California.
Bikers and hikers share the riding trails in the park, so this is a walking only ride with a possibility of a trot for a very short distance. The horses are well trained and comfortable with the presence of dogs on leash and mountain bikes.
Horseback riding and picnic
After your trail ride, wine tasting and a picnic lunch for two is included in the Sips and Saddles hotel package. With 72 hours notice, Cooper-Garrod is able to arrange for a horseback ride, wine tasting and picnic lunch if you opt out of the hotel stay.
The Picnic Guild catered my lunch of Venetian chicken salad, smoked trout rilettes, eggplant caponata, Pissaladiére, puffed pastry triangles topped with tomatoes, onions and basil and a sweet ending of chocolate walnut squares.
If you like to go horseback riding in the morning, sign up for the early bird trail ride. The first ride out in the morning goes for one and one half hours for the price of a one hour trail ride. Now that’s a great happy hour!
For more information on trail rides, follow Garrod Farms on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter for all things travel.
If You Go:
Sips and Saddles Hotel & Horseback Riding Package
Garrod Farms (408) 867-9527
22647 Garrod Rd.
Saratoga, California 95070
Photos, YouTube video and article by Equestrian Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip. I was a guest of Garrod Farms Riding Stables.