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Meet your new
best friend & trusty steed

Meet your new best friend & trusty steed

Southern Cross Guest Ranch offers a hands-on horseback riding program, suitable for all levels of rider

TWO DAILY
TRAIL RIDES

TWO DAILY
TRAIL RIDES

ALL LEVELS
OF EXPERIENCE

ALL LEVELS
OF EXPERIENCE

SMALL TAILORED
GROUPS

SMALL TAILORED
GROUPS

No more tired old swaybacks...

Many horseback riding ranches limit the time leave no time for riders to find “their horse.” Instead, they give you a tired and lackluster horse who is already saddled and ready to go. Even if you’ve ridden before, you’re lumped together with a large group. And the “trail ride” is just a big long walk on the backs of tired horses. 

We believe that this time spent with your horse before and after each ride is just as important as the riding itself. Horseback riding at Southern Cross gives you will have the opportunity to assist our staff with grooming and tacking your hand selected horse as if it were your own! We offer trail riding in small groups at a pace that suits your experience level!

Our Horseback Riding Program:

Ample
saddle time

Our twice daily rides are available to all of our guests who meet our riding requirements*. The All-Inclusive Riding plan is the best way to enjoy up to 4 hours in the saddle each day! Our scheduled rides are perfectly timed between meals and rest time to give you ample opportunity to relax before hitting the trails again.

Relax &
Explore

No matter if you are a beginner wanting to ride with your guide lazily across beautiful open pastures or a more experienced rider, ready to trot or lope through lush wooded trails; we have a horse to suit your experience level. Here, you’ll find our horses to be well rested and well cared for, ready to be a part of your unforgettable vacation!

Lots of
bonding time

Whether you are a complete greenhorn or a die hard cowboy, we will match you with the right mount for your ability. With our hands on approach, every rider will have the chance to learn how to safely groom and saddle their horse prior to each ride.

Cautious about other
so-called trail riding options? We don’t blame you...

Cautious about other so-called trail riding options? We don’t blame you...

While others offer horseback riding suitable to all levels, what you usually find is a boring, ‘one size fits all’ approach to trail riding. But at Southern Cross, things are different. Riders and horse owners come back year after year to the only East Coast horse riding facility of our kind. Here you can enjoy our riding opportunities at a walk, trot or lope on our beautiful wooded trails.

“I can't believe we didn't find this place sooner! Whether you are an experienced rider or have never seen a horse before, I would Recommend Southern Cross!. The amount of time you get to spend with the horses is the most amazing part of the experience. With nearly 4 hours a day on the trails you get to really know your horse.” - Kevin S.

“The horses are well trained and cared for and the food is delicious. The staff obviously love what they do and the environment they create encourages family interaction. Also, with such a large pool of horses they are always rested and ready for ride. We can’t wait to come back!” - Ron L.

Riders can enjoy...

Your plan options:

All-Inclusive (Riding)

Saddle up for two daily horseback rides in addition to lodging, all meals, all amenities, snacks, beverages, mountain bikes and lots more!

All-Inclusive (Non-Riding)

All of the delicious and fun perks of the riding plan, with even more time to relax and unwind!

How to book:

1. Choose your plan

There’s something for everyone! For those who want a lot of saddle time the All-Inclusive riding plan is by far the best option! Rides can be added a la carte to all other plans.

2. Select your room type & dates

17 uniquely decorated guest rooms offer a wide variety of room choices over six different room types. Each room has its own bathroom and all of the amenities you would expect at your home away from home! We are open year round to welcome guests and riders to the ranch! Our booking tool will help you decide!

3. Get the rest that you deserve!

No last minute arrangements, no taxi rides, no stress and no wrangling stray family members. Park your car and leave it - everything you need will be taken care of right here so all you need to do is let us show you what a relaxing vacation truly is.

Your typical day at the ranch

Breakfast

Set yourself up for a full day of fun with a hearty buffet breakfast served in our dining hall. Finish that last cup of coffee and wander, bike (or drive) on down to the barn for your morning ride…

Morning Ride

Here your friendly barn staff will assign your horse and after everyone is groomed and saddled, you will set off with your group for up to two hours of glorious riding.

Free Time & Lunch

All that riding will make you hungry! After a quick dip in the pool or a game of ping pong, settle down with your companions for a delicious lunch.

Afternoon Ride

Head on back to the barn for another installment of horseback adventures. Our riding packages are created with a significant value in mind, so it’s not uncommon for guests to pass up a ride or two during their stay in order to relax and/or do other activities on or off-site.

Dine & Unwind

Dinner is typically the most relaxing meal of the day. Savor the varied cuisine, treat yourself to a cold beverage and enjoy the sunset from our decks while catching up with your loved ones or making new friends.

Our on-site photographer is waiting to capture your Ranch adventures!

Horseback Riding FAQs

Horses are matched for novice and experienced riders alike at the beginning of each ride, and lessons are available upon request.  You will be guided in small, ability based groups of around 4-5 riders, never more than 7.  Two trail rides are arranged per day, one in the morning (9:15 a.m.) and one in the afternoon (2:15 p.m.) – morning ride times do vary during the winter months.  To further enhance their experience, guests are encouraged to continue to ride the same horse throughout their stay. Guests on the All-Inclusive plan are welcome to ride for up to 2 hours per riding session.

There are some restrictions starting at 250 pounds. If anyone in your party weighs 250 pounds or more, please contact us for more information.

It is recommended that you bring jeans or riding pants for horseback riding and boots are suggested over sneakers. Check out our packing list download on the homepage or this horseback riding style guide!

Absolutely! We have horses for every level of rider. Our experienced staff will also teach you basic horse riding skills and be there to answer your questions and assist you.

Children must be 8 years or older to participate in our horseback riding program.

It’s not uncommon for guests to skip or miss a meal and/or a trail ride. Some guests simply don’t arrive at the ranch in time due to travel delays. Others take a day to visit Madison or area attractions. With this in mind, the trail rides and meals within the AI/AINR packages are heavily discounted versus booking a non-riding package and adding rides or meals a la carte and we therefore do not offer credit for missed rides or meals.

Not necessarily. Our riding packages are created with a significant value in mind. Many times, booking a non-riding plan and buying two or more rides separately will cost as much or more than a riding package that could possibly include much more riding. It is not uncommon for guests to pass up a ride or two during their stay in order to relax and/or do other activities on the ranch or nearby.