I had one of those dream childhood experiences – I had my own horse. In my memories my horse, named King (yes, after the horse in the National Velvet TV series) looked like the TV King or Black Beauty or Flicka of some other beautiful stallon. In truth he was a little sway back and deathly afraid of tractors (I have the scars to prove that).
Back then, there was still lots of farmland in Williamsburg and even Hampton and we could find a farm (not a boarding stable) to keep my horse. My dad had lots of friends.
Today, people who own horses either have some land of their own or board their horses somewhere. And regardless, it is not easy to find places to go riding. The places in Williamsburg and Hampton where I used to ride on farms have long ago been turned into housing developments.
What many people may not know is that many Virginia State Parks offer multi-use trails that are suitable for horses. We also have several parks where you can bring your horse and camp overnight. We have one park where we operate a horse livery where you can take a horseback ride even if you don’t own a horse.
If you use our cool amenity search tool on our website and click “Equestrian” under trails, you will get a list of all the parks by region in the state that offer horse trails or access to horse trails directly from the park. The Virginia Outdoors website lists the parks with James River state parks. New equestrian campgrounds are in the construction phase at Douthat, Fairy Stone, Staunton River, and James River state parks.
New River Trail State Park offers a horse livery so you can take a trail ride on one of the park’s horses. The livery is open from the first weekend in April through the end of October. Call (276) 699-2460 for details.
So, if you have horse and will travel, be sure and check out riding and camping opportunities at Virginia’s state parks. For camping reservations, call 800-933-7275.