The Finger Lakes area is for horse lovers!
Have trailer, will travel!
Happy trails to you!
My point? If you have a horse, bring it on a vacation to the Finger Lakes. Yes, you read that correctly. Why leave your trusty trail companion home when you can vacation together?
Of course, the first logical question is: where will my horse stay? I don’t know of any hotels that will allow “Mr. Ed” to check in, but there is a local equestrian center that’s happy to accept a reservation for your horse – or even a couple of horses. The Susan Blair Equus Center and Farm on Routes 5 & 20 in Canandaigua has stalls available. Whether it’s one night, or several nights, your horse will consider this his hotel on this vacation. (As a side note: this facility has an indoor ring, so on a rainy day you could still ride.)
So now that you have a place for your trusty steed to bed down, there are plenty of places you can go to ride during the day. I’d start with the Ontario County Pathways, an awesome place to take Trigger (or whatever your horse’s name might be). This abandoned railroad line has been repurposed into 23 miles of mostly level, cinder paths. The countryside trail is well-maintained with a canopy of trees that makes it feel like a getaway. You go on vacation to relax, and this spot will offer you peace and quiet for hours.
Along these same lines of taking it easy on the trails, in Victor you can pick up the Lehigh Valley Trail. Like Pathways, this 16 mile trail was also built on an abandoned rail line, but there’s a dedicated bridle path that is meant for horses. This trail is the closest to the city of Rochester as it runs from Victor to Rush, one portion of it following Honeoye Creek. There are many entrance points, so you can design your own ride length.
Hi-ho, Silver! (Oops, I meant, Hi-Tor, Silver!) If you and “Silver” like to live life on the edge, then Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area would probably be a welcome challenge. Some trails run along the edge of drop-offs that those who don’t like heights (read that to be ME!) might be just as happy to avoid. However, I’m told by friends who do ride their horses at Hi Tor that the views are breathtaking, with waterfalls and vistas that allow you to look across the glacier-formed hills for miles.
Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area is another challenging trail, but there’s not a designated bridle path, so you would be sharing the trails with mountain bikers and hikers. The trails feature hilly terrain that winds and twists along cliffs. If you have a horse who’s a dare devil, this trail might be for you, but if it’s not sure-footed, non-spooky and in excellent physical shape, you might consider leaving these trails to Tonto and his horse, Scout.
If you’re looking for excitement while your horse is out to pasture, make the short trek to Finger Lakes Racetrack. Pick out your favorite thoroughbreds that are racing and root for them to the finish line.
With this much to do, why deprive your horse of a vacation? You could be the first of your friends to update your Facebook or Twitter status with: Hitting the trails with “Secretariat” for a Finger Lakes vacation.
There is one down-side to this: you won’t be able to put one of those FLX magnets on your horse’s bumper. The answer: buy a Finger Lakes t-shirt to wear when you ride; it will be a great reminder of your horse’s best vacation ever.