Trail rides at Carousel Horse Farm in Casco come with some stunning views. Contributed / Carousel Horse Farm.

A fall trail ride is just the ticket for families seeking something out of the ordinary, whether taking in the foliage along a trail or riding through the surf at a beach.

Three stables in the area have trail rides to accommodate beginners: Hearts & Horses Riding Center in Buxton, Carousel Horse Farm in Casco and Sable Oak Equestrian Center in Brunswick.

Hearts & Horses riding instructor Karen Rice of Buxton rides along a trail. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Hearts & Horses has a 78-acre spread.

“We have gorgeous trails when the foliage turns,” owner Stephanie Keene said.

Brand new riders spend the first 15 minutes of their hour-long session getting used to their horses at an indoor arena before hitting the trails, Keene said.

You’re putting someone on a 1,000-pound animal,” Keene said, although she pointed out, “We have quiet horses.”


At Hearts & Horses, the minimum age for riders with no experience is 8. The cost is $75 an hour for one rider; $60 per hour for two people riding together and $55 for three. The stable also provides a full range of riding instruction and therapeutic riding for those with disabilities. Keene recommends making reservations for trail riding well in advance.

“We book up to two weeks out,” she said.

Carousel Horse Farm has 32 acres with direct access to Hancock’s Jugtown Forest with its 6,000 acres, according to owner Tiffany Payton. It operates year-round and is the only farm in the state to offer full-time guided trail rides, she said.

A trail ride at Sable Oak Equestrian Center in Brunswick. Contributed / Sable Oak Equestrian Center

“Our mission is to provide a welcome outdoor atmosphere and a ride that will calm your soul as you enjoy the views and wildlife Maine has to offer,” the Carousel website says.

Deer and turkeys are often spotted along the trails, which also provide views of Mount Washington on a clear day, Payton said.

The beginner’s 45-60-minute ride is $80 per person with up to six participants ages 8 and up with some special exceptions.


Riders need to dress appropriately and Payton requires long pants, a solid shoe with heel and no open toes. Gloves should allow the rider to feel the reins, she said.

Sable Oak Equestrian Center, a training facility, offers trail rides and, in October through March, Adventure Beach Rides on Popham Beach.

Trail rides on the property are $75 for a 1½-2 hour session for ages 11 and up. Adventure Beach Rides are $175 per person for two riders. A professional photographer and videographer is available to preserve trail riders’ Sable Oak experience, said owner and manager Sherrye Johnson Trafton.

Trafton also offers beginner through advanced lessons and horse training.

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