Palm Beach is famed for its sophisticated polo scene, but whether you’re an experienced rider or complete beginner, stables and ranches also offer the opportunity to explore this coastal enclave from the saddle. Within Florida’s verdant natural surroundings, ride on horseback along trails winding through diverse ecosystems for a truly memorable experience. During your stay at the elegant Chesterfield Hotel on Cocoanut Row, why not pay a visit to these stables and experience the thrill of horseback riding in Florida.
In the appropriately named rural town of Southwest ranches, just fifteen minutes from Fort Lauderdale, lies the family-run ranch, American Horse Trails. Here, visitors can ride the stable’s graceful Arabian horses along trails through the surrounding sub-tropical wilderness. Choose between the leisurely one-hour Sugar Mill Trail, the two-hour Harvest Moon Trail and the more adventurous three-hour Wind Cove Trail.
Over in Palm Beach Gardens, Wandering Trails stables also offers trail rides, with 600 acres of pasture and woodland to explore. In addition, riders can opt for a nature ride, which winds through the 22,000-acre DuPuis Park where wildlife can be spotted amidst the lush green vegetation. Beach ride day trips can be arranged but this does involve travelling further along the coast to one of the beaches that permits horseback riding.
For picturesque, canal-side horseback riding in Florida, venture over to Joey’s Ranch. This ranch is spread across 10.2 acres of West Palm Beach, and within easy reach, set just off the southern boulevard.
The offer of both private and custom trails draws riders to Jupiter-based Sandi Trails. From these stables, riders set out into the wildlife-rich woodland of Cypress Creek Nature Preserve. With seven different ecosystems encompassed within the preserve, this wilderness is a true reflection of Florida’s unique biodiversity.
The Polo Scene
Palm beach has a thriving polo scene, too, when high society gather to see the exciting events unfold while sipping on Champagne. And aside from watching the sport during high season, some stables give riders the chance to take to the polo field themselves. Boynton Beach is home to Palm City Polo Club, where polo lessons are given and riders are taken through the basics of the game. For spectators, the International Polo Club is the place to start, as one of the world’s most significant venues for the competitive sport. The 2016 polo season runs from January 3rd to April 24th with a packed schedule of polo matches and a luxurious Champagne Sunday Brunch.
Winter Equestrian Festival
Each year, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington hosts the Winter Equestrian Festival. And, with events taking place from January to April, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a show. A highlight of the festival is Saturday Night Lights, combining a horse show with food vendors, activities such as face painting, a carousel to ride on and live music, which takes place each Saturday evening throughout the festival period.
From riding along Florida’s verdant trails to catching a polo game or show, reward yourself at the end of the day with afternoon tea at the Chesterfield Hotel, perhaps followed by a sundowner in The Leopard Lounge Bar.
Header image: Explore on horseback from the family-run ranch American Horse Trails © American Horse Trails