View of LA from Horseback riding trail in Griffith Park
Live like a local

Saddle up: explore Los Angeles on horseback

June 21, 2022

From taking a moonlit ride in a canyon to watching a nail biting showjumping competition and learning how to play polo, here’s everything you need to know about LA’s horse-riding scene.

Equestrian competitions in Los Angeles

Whether you’re a rider or not, what could be more gripping than watching world-renowned showjumpers compete? Bordered by oaks, sycamores and pines, the 75-acre Los Angeles Equestrian Centre is found in the 5,000-acre Griffith Park. Decked in the US flag, the riding school’s 3,500-seater indoor arena and outdoor rodeo host more than 50 equestrian events a year, usually on weekends. Coming up you can cheer on showjumpers at the Ranch Horse Celebration from June 24 to 27 or watch riders compete in the Star Spangled Dressage from July 9 to 10.

480 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91506

Showjumping horse and fence in LA
Detail shot of picture behind Polo Lounge bar at The Beverly Hills Hotel

Learn to play polo

Turf flying, hooves galloping, mallets hitting mallets – polo is exhilarating to watch. Dubbed the ‘sport of kings,’ it has been associated with nobility ever since the first recorded tournament, in 600 BC in Central Asia. Established in 1876, California Polo Club in northern LA has hosted the US Arena Polo Open multiple times. All levels can take lessons here to learn the sport’s history, rules and riding and playing techniques. Later on, unwind in The Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge, named after the polo fields on which it was built.

11035 Osborne Street, Los Angeles, CA 91342

Explore a canyon on horseback

With just the sound of creaking leather, hooves and the wind, take in the panoramic scenery on a ride in Topanga Canyon. Established in 1996, the tour riding firm Los Angeles Horseback Riding is set 610m/2,000ft above sea level, on the backbone of Santa Monica Mountains. Romantic equestrians can ride under a full moon, under California’s starry sky. Alternatively, opt for a morning tour, and you’ll have a vantage in all directions for 129km/80 miles, right up to Santa Monica Bay. Look out for hawks, coyotes and the Mexican xoloitzcuintli, a rare wild dog.

2623 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, CA 90290

Horseback riding in the Hollywood Hills
POV from riding a horse on a trail in Los Angeles

Have a horse riding lesson after dark

Beginners of all ages will be in their comfort zone during a lesson at Sagebrook Farms, as the school’s 11 horses have been chosen for their gentle nature. Set inside The Paddock Riding Club on the eastern border of Griffith Park, the farm hosts private lessons and summer sessions which are ideal for families. You’ll learn how to stay safe around horses, their different breeds and anatomy, how to groom, bathe and feed a horse and about riding equipment. Competent riders can linger for an evening ride in the school’s six gated arenas, which are illuminated at night.

3919 Rigali Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039

See LA under the stars

Star in your own blockbuster on a tour with Sunset Ranch Hollywood. Set in the west of Griffith Park, the ranch has been used as a backdrop for television, album and magazine shoots, and Cindy Crawford and Dean Cain have visited. Its guided excursions offer close ups of the Hollywood sign. Take the Mount Hollywood tour for 360° views of the ocean and San Fernando Valley, or Mulholland Trail to see Griffith Observatory. Guide Rebecca Abad says, “Falcons and red tailed hawks make lazy circles above Griffith Park, which is home to mule deer, bobcats and a mountain lion.”

3400 North Beachwood Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068

A sunset group horse ride in LA
Courtesy of Rebecca Abad

If you’re keen to stay active while in LA, discover the best places to go hiking, surfing, cycling, rollerblading and paddle-boarding.

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