I spent a few days in Los Angeles recently on business, and I had some free time on my hands. After some of the more usual things people do in the City of Angels, such as strolling down the walk of fame on Hollywood Boulevard and overlooking the city from the observatory, I decided to do one of the more unlikely things one can expect to do in LA – go horseback riding in Griffith Park.
Right from the start, I want to emphasize that it’s a very low key and unchallenging thing to do for anybody who does trail riding on a regular basis, and you may just want to forget about it, but if you like to see another side of LA or have to be in the city while you are terribly missing your horse back home, then it’s an entertaining hour or two to spend.
The Los Angeles Equestrian Center is technically in Burbank, but from downtown or the Hollywood area it’s a 15 minute ride by car (that is not in rush hour traffic). The facility is huge, and guided trail rides leave every half hour. The price for a one-hour ride is $25 for riders weighing under 200 pounds, and yes, they ask all the adults to step on a scale. If the scale tips over 200, it’s an extra $10. Helmets are provided but not required. There are the obligatory forms to fill out, but in no time a group of about 10 has gathered, horses get assigned, everyone mounts one by one, and off the group goes with one guide in front, one in the middle, and one in the back. I got to ride a beautiful big draft horse named Izzy (for Isabella), and because it was my first ride on a gentle giant mare like her, it was a new experience. The ride itself was uneventful for me and a bit disappointing since the first 20 minutes we rode along, over, and under residential areas and freeways, on bridges and through tunnels, before entering Griffith Park.
However, the park is nice with a wide trail and dense trees. There is some uphill and downhill riding, and Izzy was a very forward moving horse who also liked to snap a bit of grass or a tree branch, so I actually had some work to do to keep her focused. I enjoyed knowing that this horse had not become all dull from the trail riding routines and carrying countless strangers on her back. She had some spunk.
Before I knew it we were back in the tunnels and on the home stretch. I wished then that I had booked a two-hour ride to spend more time in the park. There is also an evening ride to a Mexican restaurant and back. I guess that could be fun, and I am not sure if having a margarita with dinner would be advisable when riding back in the dark. I’ll keep that evening ride option in mind for future trips to LA.