Whether an avid horse rider or an amateur, there is no better way to view the beautiful German countryside than by horseback.
Not only is horseback riding an enjoyable way to get out and see the area, it is also great exercise.
Taylor Wood, 13, has been riding at the Pegasos Riding School in Ramstein for the past year and said she loves to ride because she feels like she is flying. She also said that after having a lesson in sitting trot, or the galloping position, she feels the burn the next day.
Luckily, Germany is swarming with riding stables. However, it can be confusing, and even a bit intimidating, to know which one to visit.
Riders will most likely find there is a barn in every village, which can be very convenient. For English speakers, finding information online can be tricky. Most horse barns don’t have an English Web site, if they even have a Web site at all. However, the military community has a few resources that can help. The Ramstein Community Center has a short listing of barns in the Kaiserslautern area, and the Spangdahlem Outdoor Rec Center has organized horse riding trips available to the community.
The Spangdahlem Outdoor Rec Center offers day trail rides, half day trail rides and even a western weekend getaway. For more information on the various riding opportunities, call 06565-61-7170. The center also suggests the Windrosen Ranch for horse riding. More information can be found online at www.windrosen-ranch.de. On a sunny day, a trail ride is a great thing for the family to do together. Frank Videtic, who runs the Outdoor Adventures youth camps at Ramstein, has found that the Bananza Ranch (www.bananzaranch.de) is the best option for trail rides.
He added that he wanted his campers to enjoy the great outdoors instead of riding around in an arena. It is located in Katzweiler and they have a large number of horses, friendly English speaking staff and their barn is conveniently located near many farms.
Trail riding is a great way to enjoy the day while getting some exercise, but for those who are interested in learning how to ride, riding lessons are the way to go. Whether riders want to learn to ride English or Western, they need to make sure they know what they are getting into.
First, speak with the trainer who will be teaching the course and find out what their qualifications are. Then, watch a lesson or two to get acquainted with the class and the riding instruction.
Deni Krueger said she took her daughter to several barns before sticking with the Bananza Ranch.
“I wanted my daughter to learn (horsemanship) and not just sit on the horse,” Mrs. Krueger said.
Riding lessons cost anywhere from €12 to €18 per lesson. Most barns offer small discounts for purchasing riding lessons in bulk. To learn more about stables and barns in the area, riders should speak with their local community center or outdoor recreation center. Riders should also ask around; it helps to hear from someone who has ridden there before.