by Karin Bauer
Late summer or early fall is a good as time as any, for a road trip to the Finger Lakes region in New York. Whether you are looking to horseback ride in the moonlight or chase waterfalls, Finger Lakes is packed with things to do for the outdoorsman.
A unique experience that you can do in Finger Lakes is go on a guided horseback ride at night. Painted Bar Stables in Burdett, NY offer moonlight rides during full moon weekends. Because the rides do not start until the evenings, it gives visitors time for sightseeing during the day. This is the perfect time to take out your camera and go explore the area.
One popular option for day time exploring in the area is Taughannock Falls State Park. is located in the Finger Lakes region and consist of trails, lakes and its most popular attractions Taughannock Falls. This waterfall flows downward 215 feet past cliffs that are 400 feet above the gorge. The park also has campsites and cabins that overlook the lake.
The horseback rides at Painted Bar Stables are not only for experienced riders but also beginners. The ranch owner made it a point to assure their horses are safe and well-trained and suitable for beginners – even at night. Helmets are recommended and you can sign one out at the front desk if need be. Once the entire group of riders are present then everyone is introduced to their horses.
Rides begin through the field around the same time the sun begins to set. As the sky becomes darker, the bright light from the moon is all that is left. Riders can experience seeing only their shadows on the ground as they ride in the night. Some parts of the ride go deep in the woods where it is complete darkness. However, horses have excellent nighttime vision and know where they are going. Some dangers about night time riding is you cannot tell when you are coming to a steep uphill or downhill climb, or when there is a log on the ground. The horses know, but obviously, they cannot tell you. This is why it is necessary to have experienced guides, as they do at Painted Bar Stables that can keep you informed on what to expect.
All in all the most challenging part the ride is going downhill climb and crossing a stream. The stream was not deep, however, the trail going downhill can be somewhat tricky depending on if it is wet due to rain or not. The horses are sure-footed and cab handle the climb. It’s more important for the rider, when riding in darkness, to put their trust in the horse, and not distract them.
The only bad part about moonlight rides are when they end. All horseback rides at Painted Bar Stables are by appointment, so if you are interested in taking part in a moonlight ride please contact them in advance.