Fort Harrison State Park Trail Rides
The Department of Natural Resources offers saddle barns and horse related activities at some Indiana State Parks, including Fort Harrison. For just a few dollars, young ones can do laps on a horse that is being led. Some locations offer trail rides, riding lessons, and birthday parties. Saddle barn activities are available April through October and are weather-dependent so check the website or call ahead.
For a petting zoo with unlimited pony rides, Prancing Ponies is your place. For a flat admission price kids can ride ponies, hold chickens, pet bunnies, climb, ride, and run. Check their website or Facebook page for play days and hours. Prancing Ponies also offers summer camps and children’s birthday parties. Indy with Kids families have even had Prancing Ponies at their home for a kid birthday party and for front yard pony rides.
For riding lessons, trail rides, arena rides, or birthday parties head to Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg. Their hands-on programs will thrill horse lovers of all ages. They also encourage visitors to engage with the animals, petting zoo style.
Hoosier Park offers harness racing for the whole family. With live races March through November your family can experience this exciting event with just a short jaunt to Anderson. Indiana Grand in Shelbyville also offers horse racing in the spring, summer, and fall with thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing up to four times a week.
Indianapolis Carriage Rides
Blue Ribbon Carriages and Yellow Rose Carriages offer horse-pulled rides through downtown Indianapolis. With carriages, surreys, and even Cinderella lighted wagons, these year-round rides are a great way to enjoy the city. Some options have heated seats, music, and available add-ons such as roses and chocolates or holiday light tours.
Horse Shows and Events at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
The fairgrounds is a place of constant activity throughout the year. Of course horses can be seen during the State Fair in August, but the fairgrounds host many other events in all months. Horse shows and more can be found on their website.
For mini horse visits, therapeutic animal experiences, adapted riding options, and more personalized horse adventures, check out Agape Riding. They specialize in helping all horse-lovers to experience the benefits of riding and caring for horses, no matter their abilities and needs.
The Animal Encounters barn at Conner Prairie is every animal lover’s dream. With plenty of farm animals to see, touch, and sometimes even feed, you can definitely get your farm fix here. Conner Prairie’s horses aren’t housed in the animal encounters barn they are roaming in the fields all around, and you might even see them carting materials for a project! For a Halloween thrill check out the horse-drawn wagons and the headless man riding a horse during the Headless Horseman season!
If you need a horse fix and all else fails head to the Eiteljorg museum. Their lower level kids’ area features a Western exhibit where kids can put on their cowboy (or cowgirl) gear and saddle up on stationary “horses.”
For a long time, horses have been used as therapy for children and adults facing difficulties and challenges, both physical and mental. Here are some Hippotherapy locations in and near Indianapolis.
If you have a kiddo interested in horses or are looking for a more in-depth look at horsemanship, the Hoosier Horse Fair and Expo is a great annual event. The Hoosier Horse Fair takes place every spring and is full of horse education and experts.
If you’re interested in horseback riding lessons, there are a number of options, including Taylor Turn Stable on the Southwest side, Sand H Stables in Indianapolis and Fortville and Four Willows Farms in Greenwood, Renaissance Stables, Poplar Ridge Stables in Carmel, Southport Equestrian Centerin Southport, Sport Horse Inc. and Sterling Shield Stables in Westfield.