After an absence of decades, horseback riding in San Francisco is back!
At the moment, a trial run of the program is happening in Golden Gate Park, to see if enough people are interested. It's been extended to June 30, 2017, and hopefully it will become a permanent fixture.
There's also riding in McLaren Park, but that program ends May 20, 2017.
You can rent a horse at the Equitation Field on Chain of Lakes Drive, in Golden Gate Park, and a guide will take you and some other riders on a trip through the park trails.
Pot a Gold Adventures runs the tours. The horses and guides are the same ones who do the rides up in San Francisco's Camp Mather in the Sierras every summer. (potagoldadventures.com)
By Bus or Muni:
The 5-Fulton bus runs along the northern edge of Golden Gate park. Get off at 43rd Avenue and head into the park on Chain of Lakes Drive.
The N-Judah Muni streetcar runs parallel to the park two blocks south. Best stop: 40th Ave, then take 41st Ave to Chain of Lakes Drive.
There's free parking at the Equitation Field, as well as another free lot across the street.
We saddled up at the appointed time; plus they had steps so we city folks could get up on the horses. The horses were very patient (as was the staff).
We did a one hour ride, which took us west towards the ocean and past both windmills. The horses were good-natured plodders, following nose to nose with only occasional attempts to eat the grass.
A very relaxing ride; a couple of times crossing a street, but the cars stopped, so no problems. The only problem was getting off the horse; the less said, the better (my problem, not the horse's, who stood patiently while I struggled).
Dylan was our leader, very friendly and helpful. A real cowboy; he was the 2016 bull-riding champion of Alaska.
Horseback rides are available daily, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with a 7:00 pm sunset ride as well. Their sign says walk-ins welcome, but they recommend reservations for the weekends when they get busy.
Helmets are available, but not required. No open-toed shoes or sandals.
To book a ride online, go to Pot a Gold Adventures. Or call 844-967-4653.
Ages 5 and up can ride. There are 15-minute pony rides for kids, too, that aren't mentioned on the website.
Here's hoping horseback riding is a go for San Francisco!