If you’re looking for a fun activity, consider equestrian sports. Whether English or Western is your style, horseback riding is a terrific activity with loads of benefits. It’s an excellent extracurricular activity for children that builds character, confidence, and respect for animals, and for adults, riding is a great workout and a tremendous stress-relieving exercise. If you’ve decided it’s time to get in the saddle, check out these seven stables near Mission Viejo for lessons and more.
MKO Performance Horses
If you’re on the lookout for comprehensive, personalized instruction, consider MKO Performance Horses. Located on Trabuco Road in Lake Forest, it’s one of the best barns in town for beginners through advanced riding lessons. Its structured program works well for every type of rider, and in no time, you’ll see a progression in your riding ability as you pick up advanced skills. Horseback riding isn’t easy, and the experienced instructors at MKO Performance Horses know when to move students up the ranks.
You can book Western lessons in a group setting. Don’t worry. Riders team up by age and skill level, so if you’re an adult that’s never been on a horse, you won’t start in the kid’s class here. Lessons usually run an hour and offer a combination of arena work and time on the trail to enjoy nature. On the other hand, if you’re interested in barrel racing or sorting cattle, you can take advanced lessons at MKO Performance Horses. You’ll learn the pattern and skills to run barrels successfully and maybe even earn the chance to compete in a racing season.
Bridge’s Equestrian School of Horsemanship and Riding
Bridge’s Equestrian staff has a team of six expert instructors and a large crew of assistants trained to provide you with the specific type of horsemanship education you want to learn. With 28 lesson horses, there’s also a mount that will work well with your temperament and experience. In addition, the stable offers covered and lighted arenas for evening and rainy day lessons at its location on Oso Road in San Juan Capistrano.
Take advantage of Bridge’s group lessons and spend time in the saddle and on the ground, gaining experience from the hooves up by grooming and tacking up your horse before and after the class. If you want individualized attention, you can also book a private lesson. With each program, students use their time to gain equestrian experiences in disciplines and programs, such as:
- Western Pleasure.
- U.S. Pony Club Educational Program (young riders).
- U.S. Pony Club Horsemaster’s Program (adults).
Silver Stirrup Riding Academy
Whether you’re looking for your first horseback riding experience or a returning enthusiast, Silver Stirrup Riding Academy at Serrano Creek Ranch, Equestrian has the horses and the qualified instruction to get you in the saddle at any age. It offers novice English and Western horseback riding lessons and camps. This stable aims to help riders build a solid foundation of horsemanship through comprehensive, two-hour lessons, plus a unique mix of classes, regular group activities, and outings.
One thing that sets this school apart on Trabuco Road in Lake Forest is its dedication to the entire experience. You’ll learn more than just how to climb on and off your horse. Students here develop an understanding of the animal and how to safely interact with them through ample time in and out of the saddle. Get the most for your money with a no-compromise policy in both lesson length and Silver Stirrup’s four-student per class maximum. Whatever your equestrian goals are, this academy strives to make your educational experience enjoyable with a growing, supportive, and safe environment.
Rancho Sierra Vista Equestrian
Rancho Sierra Vista Equestrian Center offers premium amenities you won’t find at every local barn, including specialty arenas, a quarter-mile conditioning track, veterinarian facilities, and performance training from its location on Avenida De La Vista in San Juan Capistrano. With everything it has to offer, you’ll be surprised by its lesson program’s competitive price and a community spirit you won’t find at every horse academy.
Top trainer Meghan Harris offers Hunter/Jumper, Equitation, and Grand Prix instruction. This horseback riding stable also features 10 additional expert teachers to help you reach your goals in Eventing, Dressage, and Reining. Grab some brunch and fill up before you stop by so you can concentrate on your riding.
Hayden Clark Sport Horses
If you’re serious about competitive riding, consider Hayden Clark Sport Horses. Legendary head trainer Mickey Hayden has more than three decades of experience bringing his students to the highest levels of equitation and show jumping. His horse and rider teams have won countless championships, and you can join him and his team of highly qualified instructors in the arena at Nellie Gail Road in Laguna Hills.
English and Hunter/Jumper horseback riding lessons are available through his school using trusted school horses or your mount — if you have one. There are even several ponies available for younger children. Hayden will place you in a class best suited for your skill set, and beginners always start with several private sessions before moving on to group lessons. In addition to riding foundations, you’ll learn the proper care and handling of horses. Classes for new students usually run an hour, while advanced lessons can go longer.
Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park
Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano is a public park the city designed for horseback riding. It’s home to world-class events like rodeos, music festivals, live comedy performances, shows for art lovers, and internationally recognized equestrian competitions.
All horse shows are free to the general public, and you can put your skills to the test with some friendly competition without the traditional expense. It provides San Juan Capistrano equine enthusiasts with a unique entertainment opportunity to get in the saddle with world-class equestrian show jumping events like the Blenheim Fall Series this October. The host invites everyone to attend and enjoy this spectacular sporting event, even if you don’t have a mount.
Capistrano Mazda put together this list of the best stables in and around the Mission Viejo area so you can get back in the saddle. Where do you love to go horseback riding? Let us know so we can share your ideas with other local equestrians. Please send us a message so we can add it to our growing list.
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