Horseback riding is straight-up one of the most enjoyable activities you could ever do, especially in the summertime. Being able to hang out with animals, experience nature, and try something new is what makes horseback riding so fun, and what keeps people coming back again and again.
If you're nervous about trying horseback riding near Montreal for the first time, don't be! I know horses can look scary or unpredictable, all the gear can be intimidating, and the actual riding seems too difficult unless you're a pro. While you should always be careful when interacting with horses, the reality is that riding, whether it's your first or fiftieth time, does not have to be a complicated experience.
Every good horse ranch will be more than happy to accommodate beginners, but it's up to you to be vocal about your level of experience and comfort. Usually, ranch owners will offer to put you on the gentlest horse or provide a lesson before you get out on the trail. So please, don't let fear hold you back from experiencing the unique joy of horseback riding - and rest assured these places are guaranteed to provide the perfect experience.
Out of all the places on this list, Captiva Farms is the furthest from Montreal — about a two-hour drive — but trust me when I say, it is beyond worth the trip. I've personally gone horseback riding here on multiple occasions, and each time has been a truly wonderful experience. This ranch is nestled in a Quebec hillside, and the riding trail opens up to gorgeous expansive views.
The team at Captiva is very experienced, and each rider gets a lesson before the trail, so no need to be worried if you're a beginner. Overall, it's just such an incredible horseback riding experience that I hope everyone gets to do at least once.
Centre Equestre Saphir
If you're interested in taking lessons either in equestrian or western riding (the two main styles of horseback riding), this ranch is a great place to start, since they offer courses and basic rides. Another interesting feature at this ranch: they offer "contact therapy" with their horses, which is a session in which you interact with their animals in order to relieve stress or anxiety.
Basically, this means that you brush, groom, and care for the horse, while learning more about the breed in general. If you're a beginner, this could be a great way to ease your fears about riding and feel more confident when you finally work up the courage to try.
Mont Tremblant Horseback Riding
There are actually two options for horseback riding in Mont Tremblant. One is at the Ranch Mont Tremblant, and the other is at the Tremblant Activity Centre. Both offer trail rides and excursions for different levels of experience, and also for different lengths of stay.
If you want to do a day trip, there are one-hour and two-hour options at both ranches, and if you're looking for a weekend getaway, Ranch Mont Tremblant has awesome packages. Either way, the sheer beauty of these ranches is truly unparalleled.
Centre Equestre Bromont
This ranch in the picturesque little town of Bromont offers lessons only, so no trail rides here. But if you're looking for a beautiful place to start your horseback riding journey, this is it. They welcome riders of all levels and have awesome facilities for any kind of experience.
Also to note: the lessons are offered mainly in English.
Auberge & Spa Beau Reves
A horseback riding experience surrounded by the ambiance of a spa getaway? Um, yes, please. In all seriousness, this amazing Nordic spa and hotel tucked away in the countryside is probably the most relaxing place you could try horseback riding for your first time, or for your hundredth time.
Best of all, they offer some pretty affordable packages that include horseback riding, spa access and lunch. If you're looking for a way to tie in horseback riding with a quick vacation, this little spa is a top-notch option.
Punkin Patch Farm
Another place that offers only lessons, this adorable horse ranch that doubles as a pumpkin patch has an ultra-relaxing vibe that is perfect for beginners and those looking to advance their riding knowledge.
Located in Rigaud, also fairly close to Montreal, this ranch prides itself on being organic and natural, using the most holistic tactics to take care of their animals.
Centre equestre des Laurentides
Looking for a place that's pro in equestrian riding? This stable amongst the mountains is an amazing setting to learn equestrian, regardless of your skill level.
Again, this is a place that offers only lessons, but if you're looking for somewhere where you can consistently improve your riding skills, this stable is definitely worth a look.