When you live in a city like Portland, Oregon, it’s expected that there will be excellent food to eat and beer and wine to drink, but where does one go for a horseback riding vacation? Happily, I found the answer to my riding dilemma at Dream Ridge Stables. The equestrian center is only thirty minutes outside of Portland, but worlds away from food carts, crowds of people and the dreaded t word – “traffic.”
Owner Karen Brauer left the restaurant scene back in 1992 to follow her passion of horses and horseback riding and open Dream Ridge Stables in Oregon City, Oregon. Her gift is in teaching equestrians, young and old, how to ride safely and properly on a horse. Whether you ride English or Western is not important, the stables are able to accommodate both styles of riding, and, as I found out recently, they are able to accommodate riders with special needs such as joint replacement.
Trail ride in Portland, Oregon
Trail ride in Portland, Oregon
It’s not often that you find customized trail rides other than horseback riding vacations at dude ranches. All rides at Dream Ridge Stables, in the foothills of the cascades, include instruction, a few circles around the indoor arena (great for Oregon’s inclemate weather) some riding in the outdoor fields and a beautiful forest. Our trail ride took us through an Oregon old growth forest with views of the Viola Valley and the lower cascades. You’ll be able to ride with confidence, as the instructor is always present if you want to learn something new to add to your equestrian skills or you are a beginner rider.
“Riding is like dancing with your horse,” said Brauer. “Who is dancing and who is in the lead? What is our body movement asking the horse to do? Sometimes I ask riders to close their eyes on the horse when they are in the arena. I want them to relax and feel the movement of the horse.”
Nancy & Karen on a trail ride
Matching horse to rider
Brauer and her team of equestrians work hard on pairing the rider with the horse. It comes down to riders understanding the instincts of the horse and how to communicate with them.
“It’s about pressure and release,” says Brauer. “If you want to be involved in grooming and saddling your horse, you are welcome to be as involved as you like. I enjoy being able to share these amazing creatures with others,” notes Brauer.
Dream Ridge Stables lesson horse
After my trail ride, a young cowgirl dressed in pink cowboy boots couldn’t wait to get her hands on this beautiful Palomino lesson horse. The barn offers trail rides and horseback riding lessons to riders as young as six years old. In following Dream Ridge Stables Facebook page, I see that the horses are well loved and cared for here. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case at public horseback riding stables. I’m always happy to share positive horseback riding locations with my readers.
Riding in one of Oregon’s old growth forests
Need to know:
You’ll need to sign a liability waiver before your horseback ride. The stables will ask your height, weight and riding experience level to pair horse with rider. Riders should wear long pants, closed toed shoes and a riding helmet. Boots and helmets are available for loan at Dream Ridge Stables. Trail ride length varies from 1.5 hours and up. Check the website or call the stables for additional details and pricing.
If You Go:
Dream Ridge Stables (503) 631-8466
20524 S Ridge Road
Oregon City, Oregon 97045
Horseback riding review by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Dream Ridge Stables while researching additional travel articles for Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory.