Posted on April 29, 2021Written by Elizabeth Nelson
Updated on March 21, 2023
Book an Equine Experience for an Unforgettable Berkshire Memory
Spend a peaceful hour relaxing in the calm presence of horses and donkeys. Make a hands-on-horse connection during the mindful grooming of a rescued steed. Admire an awe-inspiring view of the Berkshire horizon as you wind through miles of tranquil trails on horseback. For expert equestrians and horse newbies alike, a visit to the picturesque Berkshires provides ample opportunity to spend time with equines.
On a seven-acre ranch in Richmond, Berkshire HorseWorks designs programs focused on organic interactions with horses to help visitors unwind, recharge, and address challenges in life and work.
“We learned during COVID that people want to be in nature and around horses whether they have experience or not,” says Founder Hayley Sumner. “We created Trail Ride Experiences which build a relationship on the ground with one’s horse—you learn basic horsemanship and then ride through our private trails.”
Make plans for your own therapeutic benefits with Hiking and Meditation with Horses, a scenic Couple’s Trail Ride (complete with wine and cheese), or Free Range Donkey Play for the little ones. Ranch Life 101 is available for those interested in full farm immersion. You can also spend an hour brushing and hugging Rodeo and Bold, two miniature Sicilian donkeys, when you make a reservation to Hug a Donk.
A 15-strong herd of rescues offer gentle, educational, and relationship-focused instruction and activities at Blue Rider Stables in South Egremont. If you’re new to horseback riding you can take a lesson to practice safety, riding without fear, and horse care such as grooming and tacking, which fosters communication between rider and horse.
“We encourage all riders to take their time to process this relationship,” says Christine Sierau, Founding Director and Head Instructor. “Be open and aware. Come with the knowledge that you will be changed by this experience.”
Lessons for families and couples are available upon request. Want to work on physical awareness and inner balance? Book a one-on-one Body Work session. Blue Rider also offers Re-Centering with Horses, a meditative hour spent relaxing with the equines.
For horse-lovers craving indulgent rejuvenation, add a unique equine experience to your day pass or overnight stay at Miraval Berkshires. The resort and spa sits atop a hill in the idyllic countryside of Lenox, boasting a plethora of wellness offerings including those hosted by the horses at the Meadowview Acres Farm. Tours of the barn and lectures introducing the herd are complimentary with your stay, but you can deepen your connection to inner peace and the horses, too, with Meadowview Equine Meditation Mindful Grooming, and Horse Sense, which provides an opportunity to explore the inner world of Miraval’s rescue herd. Feeling creative? Paint a living canvas—i.e. the side of a horse!—during An Unforgettable Canvas experience. All activities in this award-winning equine program focus on mindfulness, human-horse connection, and internal balance.
There are also ways to interact with horses’ barnyard companions. Families can learn about pigs, cows, and chickens at Hancock Shaker Village and Uncle Don’s Barnyard at Ioka Valley Farm. Meet the Jersey cows at High Lawn Farm, then stop by their Farmstead Creamery Shop for fresh ice cream, butter, milk, and cheese.
However you decide to engage with horses and other animals in the Berkshires, you are sure to make unforgettable memories. For details, availability, COVID protocols, and booking, contact each business directly. Learn more about the Berkshires and find inspiration for the rest of your trip here.
Written by Elizabeth Nelson, 1Berkshire
Images: (top two) Berkshire HorseWorks, (middle) Blue Rider Stables photo by Caitlin von Graf, (bottom) Miraval Berkshires photo by James Baigrie