Horse Riding in New Forest: What to Expect and Best Routes
With postcard views and charming forest trails, it's no surprise that the New Forest National Park is one of the most cherished places to go horse riding in the UK. Horses and ponies are at the heart of the cultural heritage of the New Forest; the sure-footed New Forest pony is a much-loved native breed of the British Isles.
There are over 3,000 New Forest ponies that roam the New Forest, nestled in rural Hampshire. Offering scenic bridleways, coastal routes, forest hacks and open heathland; the New Forest is a truly magical destination to explore on horse-back.
New Forest Horses roam free in the New Forest, Hampshire in England
Planning a horse riding trip to the New forest? These tips should give you an idea of what to expect and which riding options to choose, so that you are properly prepared for your adventure into the New Forest. Whether you are a seasoned equestrian with years of experience under your belt or a novice rider, there is plenty of choice when it comes to horse riding in the New Forest.
Many riding schools in the New Forest offer both English and Western riding, with a wide range of tracks and paths to choose from. Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to own your own horse, there are various accommodation choices with stables where you can take your horse on holiday!
Picking a Riding School in the New Forest
There are many riding schools and trekking centres to choose from in the New Forest - horse riders are spoilt for choice. The New Forest National Park official website has a useful list of riding schools, all with different advantages, which you can find here.
Some of the riding schools, such as Burley Villa offer both riding lessons and forest rides, making it ideal for beginners who need to learn the ropes before heading into the beautiful forest. Brockenhurst Riding Stables offer direct access into the New Forest and can cater for the more advanced and novice riders, you can expect stunning surroundings through the forest and even spot many of the wild ponies, deer and other animals that find their home in the forest.
Make sure that the riding school or trekking centre that you choose is a British Horse Society (BHS) or Association of British Riding School (ABRS) approved establishment, to ensure that you have the best experience with qualified staff and suitably selected horses and ponies.
Bringing Your Own Horse
Taking your horse on holiday is an amazing experience, and there are few better suited places to vacation with your equine friend than the incredible New Forest! The New Forest is one of the safest places to enjoy horseback riding; horses and ponies have right of way in the New Forest and there is a riding code of conduct that should always be adhered to, ensuring everyone’s safety.
Locals and riding schools in the New Forest will be well versed with the rules, but visitors should make sure that they are up to date with the special conduct for safety reasons when horse riding. You can find full information on the horse riding code of conduct in the New Forest here.
If you are looking to bring your own horse along with you to the New Forest, there are several places to stay overnight which offer accommodation for you, livery for your horse, as well as horse riding facilities.
Many of the riding schools in the New Forest offer livery and accommodation, from luxury chalets to campsites. If you are looking for modest accommodation for your trip, Rushcroft Farm offers campsite facilities, where you can either bring your horsebox to sleep in or bring a tent while your horse enjoys their own paddock to graze in. The site also offers an arena to ride in and miles of hacking routes on the doorstep.
If you are bringing your own horse and riding without a guide, make sure that you pre-pan your route by using OS maps which are marked with bridleway paths and consider purchasing the Go New Forest Card, which offers money saving discounts at many attractions across the New Forest.
Horse Riding Routes in the New Forest
When horse riding in the New Forest, you can enjoy varying countryside, each option boasting its own wealth of beauty. You can enjoy hacking across open heathlands, breathtaking coastlines and enchanting woodlands, where you can see the wild New Forest ponies, deer and more.
Upon arrival, it’s best to pick up a copy of the map of the New Forest, so that you can plan and explore many of the bridleways that can be seen on the map. If you would prefer to be guided, Ride New Forest offer guided hacks on many routes through the New Forest’s landscape. This is a great way to enjoy the knowledge of a local and get off the beaten track on your own horse!
The vast open spaces of the New Forest allow for some of the best horse riding to be found in the UK, the treasured national park is filled with natural beauty and wildlife - making riding in the New Forest a unique and unforgettable experience. Follow our tips and have fun on your horse riding trip to the New Forest!