Great Places for Horseback Riding in Rhode Island
LuAnn Grafe and Linda Krul of West Greenwich Horseman's Association showcase three popular riding areas in the smallest state as part of the Equitrekking 50 State Trail Riding Project.
by LuAnn Grafe and Linda Krul
A "through the ears shot" riding in Goddard Memorial State Park along the shores of Greenwich Cove and Greenwich Bay.
Acadia Management Area
Acadia is one of the most popular places to horseback ride in Rhode Island. It is co-managed by the Department of Environmental Management’s Divisions of Forest Environment and Fish & Wildlife. There are over 14,000-forested acres with a variety of trails. This is the state’s largest recreational area available for multiple uses. There are over 100 horse friendly trails in the area. It is located only minutes from Route 95 in Exeter/ West Greenwich.
Scenic trails in Carolina Trout Pond in Richmond.
The LeGrand Reynolds Horsemen’s Area within Acadia, was designed just for horses. There is adequate spacing for daytime parking and overnight camping for $3 per night. The Rhode Island Federation of Riding Clubs (RIFRC) has a Memorandum of Understanding with the state. The area is a co-operative effort between the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the RIFRC. Each spring the RIFRC holds their annual Blessing of the Horses at LeGrand Reynolds Horsemen’s Area. All donations and profits from RIFRC events are used to help improve and maintain the area.
The West Greenwich Horseman’s Association (WGHA) uses Acadia for hunter paces, pleasure rides and sometimes fun shows. WGHA is a member of the Rhode Island Federation of Riding Clubs. There are numerous other clubs within Rhode Island and outside of Rhode Island who use and benefit from this area.
Breakheart Trail in Rhode Island.
Breakheart Pond is located off of Frosty Hollow Road. The pond is used for fishing, boating, and has easy drinking access for horses. The 1.5 loop around the 44-acre pond offers a great trail to follow with some beautiful scenery and streams. The trails give access to even more trails away from the pond such as Shelter Trail and Penny Hill.
Breakheart Pond is a beautiful pond in the middle of Acadia Management Area, encircled by large white pine trees.
Another part of the management area is Tanner Washout Trail, which is part of the North South Trail. There are cascading rocks that display a breathtaking waterfall when there is an abundance of rain. Even though there is a rocky spot on the trail, the waterfall is something to see. There are so many more trails to explore and views to see in this wonderful management area.
Goddard Memorial State Park
Goddard Park is located in Warwick just minutes from Route 95. In 1927, the son and daughter of Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard donated one of their family estates to Rhode Island Parks and Recreation in memory of their father, hence its name, Goddard Memorial State Park. There is an abundance of parking space at the horseman’s area for day use only. There is a huge riding ring enclosed by a wooden fence and sturdy gates that horse clubs use for shows and people use to exercise their horses.
Goddard Memorial State Park is Rhode Island’s most popular Metropolitan Park.
The 18 miles of bridle trails goes partially along the Greenwich Bay and Cove. The pristine footing is an equestrian’s delight. It has the best footing around. The park allows multi-use activities such as golfing, picnic areas, boating, fishing, swimming, running, as well as equestrian use. Many charity events are held from the building that once had carousel horses.
Goddard Park is located in Kent County, Rhode Island.
Carolina Trout Pond
Carolina was developed by the state in the early 1950s and covers a total land area of 2,359 acres. This place is located just minutes off of Route 95 in Richmond. It is composed of primarily forest cover. Here you can do freshwater fishing, hunting, bird watching, hiking, wildlife viewing, mountain biking as well as horseback riding. The footing is again nice with only a few minor rocky areas. The parking lot is limited. Any club functions need a permit.
Scenic horse trails in Carolina Trout Pond.
Acadia Management Area, Goddard Park, and Carolina Trout Pond are the most popular places to ride in Rhode Island, however there are many more places to ride and explore in our small state.
About the authors: LuAnn Grafe has been the President of the West Greenwich Horseman’s Association for the past 13 years. She has been riding the Rhode Island trails for most of her life. Linda Krul is the Vice President of the West Greenwich Horseman’s Association as well as one of the founders of the club. She is also the Treasurer of the Rhode Island Federation of Riding Clubs as well as a member of New England Arabian Trail Organization (NEATO), Bristol County Horseman’s Association, Bay State Trail Riders Association and American Morgan Horse Association. 2014 will mark the anniversary of WGHA’s formation.