Location: Zuma Canyon, Malibu – Los Angeles, California
It’s a habit of mine to find horseback riding opportunities wherever I am – whether I’m in Cuba, Egypt, or Los Angeles. And if you’re traveling with me, I will try my best to convince you to join me. I always encourage people to try new things, especially things I love! :)
Malibu Riders provided us with some trusty steeds for our 3-mile ride through Zuma Canyon.
They have horses for all levels of riders from novice to advanced. I was assigned to a quick little bay mare named Honna (at least that’s how it was pronounced). My friend’s never been on a horse before so our guide gave him a really experienced gray mare, Nay-Nay.
Too bad she was the one horse who wanted to kick every other horse that tried to pass her that day (apparently she doesn’t usually do this). It’s a little scary trying to get your horse away from the one that kicks when you’re on a narrow mountain trail with a wall to your left and a cliff to your right. At least it made for an interesting ride.
Other than that, the ride went smoothly. Our guide made sure that the riders were doing okay during the entire ride and we got to do a little trot and canter at the end of it when everyone felt comfortable enough to try a faster pace. Oh, and the friend that’s never been on a horse before? He enjoyed it a lot! (I’d prefer he love it, but I won’t put words in his mouth)
Okay so I’m not a riding instructor or anything close to being qualified as one, but here are some things you might want to keep in mind before you decide to horseback ride and during the ride:
- Don’t wear open-toed shoes.
- Don’t wear shorts. You can get saddle burn, and it ain’t pretty.
- Relax. Breathe. Try not to let fear or nerves get to you. Horses can feel if you’re tense through the saddle and may take advantage of this.
- Make sure your stirrups (the things you put your feet in) are even in length or you’ll feel lopsided and off-balance.
- Your horse WILL try to eat. Just pull your reins a bit and nudge your horse on by squeezing/kicking your legs.
- If your horse tries to kick another horse, nudge him on. When they’re moving, they can’t kick out as effectively.
- If another horse is going to kick yours, move your horse ASAP. You don’t want to be in the way of a kick because those suckers hurt!
- Don’t worry about steering too much. Trail horses are trained to follow each other – nose to tail – but never let go of your reins; you need them for control.
- You can always hold onto the pommel (front of the saddle) if you need something extra to grab.
- If you don’t want to go faster than a walk, make sure to let your guide know so s/he sets a comfortable pace for everyone.
- Relax, relax, and relax. Have fun!
Malibu Riders operates in Malibu (Zuma Canyon), and Agoura Hills (Paramount Ranch and Malibu Creek) in Los Angeles, CA. They also offer 2-person picnic rides and riding lessons.
Malibu Riders Promo Video: