Last week my parents treated the whole family to several days in upstate New York at Rocking Horse Ranch. This all include resort has something for everyone, horse lover or not. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled onto the grounds but once we got settled into our room the fun began and the memories didn’t stop.
The Horseback Riding
INCLUDED in your stay is horseback riding. You know how you go on vacation and they have excursions that are an added fee and it breaks your bank to go? Not at Rocking Horse Ranch. Trail rides are for guests ages 7 and over. When you arrive there is a location that you sign up for your daily ride on the horses. This is your assigned time but want to know a secret?
You can ride MORE THAN ONCE A DAY!!
How is this?
Get in the stand by line and once the riders for the time slot are on horse back, they open the stand by line. One day my daughter rode a total of 3 rides! The ranch has about 112 horses so it is rare when they run out of horses for riders who want to ride.
When I say ‘ride’ I am not talking about a ride around a dirt circle with someone holding the reigns while you ride along.
Each rider get their own horse and the group is lead on a 45 minute trail ride through wooded trails. We were there in the early part of July and I was so thankful for the tree covered paths. You could FEEL the temperature difference as soon as you were under cover. But RHR does not just send out 50 riders to a trail to make their way over hill and valley. On each ride are experienced wranglers to help guide the group along and instruct riders on how to keep their horses in line. Keep in mind that you are riding on animals and these animals can have a mind of their own. My eight year old daughter had a horse that keep wanting to go off trail to get a snack of grass. She had to use her reigns to pull his head away from his treat and get him back on track.
Riding helmets are required for all riders under 18 but I can assure you that this 38 year old rider was wearing her helmet the entire time. An added tip is to put on the optional shower cap before you put on your helmet. These are communal helmets and I just see it as good hygiene to wear a shower cap under the helmet.
What type of horseback riding is available at Rocking Horse Ranch?
Rocking Horse Ranch knows that not everyone is ready to gallop off into the sun set. They also know this may not be your first rodeo. They have horseback rising for all ages and abilities. See examples below:
A very nice way to see our magnificent acreage! Perfect for a first timer or an experienced rider that’s a bit rusty.
Walk and trot. The next level in riding, about one third of your time will be trotting. There is definitely a bit more skill needed to be comfortable on this ride.
Walk, trot and canter. For the most experienced rider. The rider needs to have the ability and skill to “communicate” with the horse to get beyond a trot and into the gait of a canter.
For the little guests under 7 they have horses that are older and not able to take on full duty of trail work but are still able to take on light duty of a child. Helmets are provided and parents are able to lead the child and horse or the wrangler will lead them around the loop. My 2 year old niece had a WONDERFUL time on her pony ride, my 5 year old son on the other hand did not. 2 steps in and he was screaming to get off. I applaud his willingness to try and for the quick thinking of the wrangler to recognize his fear and get him dismounted quickly.
Where is Rocking Horse Ranch?
Rocking Horse Ranch address:
600 State Route 44/55
Highland, NY 12528
Phone number: 845-691-2927
Reservation number: 800-647-2624
HERE is a link to google maps. Add your starting location and google maps will help you get there.
What are the rooms at Rocking Horse Ranch like?
I was beyond impressed with the size of the room we stayed in at Rocking Horse Ranch in 2015. We had 2 queen beds and a bunk bed. It slept 6 and there was SO MUCH room to walk around and BE IN the room. The only thing I would say is that there could have been a bit more dresser space for 6 people who are staying for more than a few days. There was PLENTY of hanging storage and hangers are provided.
I thought you would like to see what it looks like from the inside so I did a video for you:
Be sure to watch my other hotel room tour videos on YouTube!
Are meals included at Rocking Horse Ranch?
The food is included. Seriously. No meal plan to purchase here. Let me tell you that if you have TEENAGE BOYS you are going to get your monies worth! Breakfast and lunch are a buffet and there are SO MANY CHOICES!!
Sample menus from Rocking Horse Ranch:
Breakfast They had bacon crispy like I like it, fruit, yogurt and pancakes that the kids love and eggs every way you can imagine! They even have omelets made to order. Bonus points for having an orange guava juice in addition to orange and apple. I do love a tropical juice!
Lunch We had lunch in the dining room but we LOVED having the BBQ picnic outdoors. There was live music and each table had its own umbrella.
Dinner Order from a menu from a huge variety of items to include vegetarian options. But you must promise me you will save room for dessert at the chocolate fountain. Yes. There was a chocolate fountain each night we were there. It was like liquid heaven.
If you are celebrating a birthday or other occasion be sure to tell the staff. We celebrated each of the grandkids birthdays while we were there and each night they had a bunch of 10 balloons on the table with a birthday sign waiting for the child. Then at dessert time they brought a special ice-cream Sunday to the child. It was a LOT of fun!
What if you have special dietary needs at Rocking Horse Ranch?
If you have a special dietary need be sure to tell the staff and the Chefs will be sure to work around your needs. Kosher meals are available. I read on the website that many of the Chefs were trained at the Culinary Institute of America. While this is the rival school to my Alma Mater, Johnson & Wales University, I know that these chefs KNOW their food. They are passionate about food, service and the experience of their guests.
Example: My son is PICKY, no, selective of what he eats. One night there was nothing on the menu that he would eat but he LOVED the Sloppy Joe that was served at lunch. We asked the dining room manager if he could arrange to have a Sloppy Joe delivered to our table. It took a few extra minutes but my son has his favorite Sloppy Joe and french fries for his dinner.
Is Kosher an option at Rocking Horse Ranch?
Gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan dining options as well as Kosher dining is also available.
What if I get hungry after the kitchen closes at Rocking Horse Ranch?
If for some reason you didn’t get enough to eat during the day or you are in need of a middle of the night snack, Hot chocolate, coffee and a selection of cakes and pastries are available 24/7. Rocking Horse Ranch has you covered!
Enjoy cocktails at Rocking Horse Ranch
Every afternoon at 3:15 they have a Chef Tasting that includes adult beverages. One day there was wine, cheese and gourmet appetizers in the lodge and another day there were frozen adult ( and kiddie!) beverages served pool side with yummy nibbles. All of this in included. A selection of specialty hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, local cheeses, homemade guacamole and humus, fresh salsa, freshly made dips and local vegetables.
There is a large playground for burning any excess energy. We didn’t have excess energy but our kids can’t resist a playground. This modern playground had lots of space for many children to play together.
The beautiful signs come out in the evening and stay in the hallways all night long. It is a wonderful reminder to little kids and big kids alike that people are resting and not to disturb other guests. I wish other hotels had these, don’t you!?
What else is included at Rocking Horse Ranch?
Paddle Boats, Banana Boat Rides, Mini Golf, Water Skiing, Bungie Bounce, Indoor and Outdoor pools, Beach towels (less to pack!), Life Vests, Entertainment and SO MUCH MORE! Plus there is a Spa that we didn’t have time to check out but it is an option for those who love to enjoy a spa experience.
Comment below what you would love to experience at Rocking Horse Ranch or any tips if you have already visited!
originally published Jul 21, 2015