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Horse riding in Mallerstang by Paul Harris

Horse riding

In the Yorkshire Dales, you can let your horse stretch its legs and enjoy an exhilarating canter through miles of open moorland. We have a good network of over 900 kilometres (500 miles) of bridleways, byways and green lanes you can use. Many trails are a mixture of Roman roads, monastic highways, mining tracks and drovers roads. You can connect them into circuits of varying length by including short rides along quiet country roads.  

Riding stables & trekking centres

There are a number of trekking centres in the Dales which are all suitable for everyone whether you have never been on horseback or an experienced hacker. You can choose from short introductory rides to full day, or even multi-day rides. There is Kilnsey Trekking Centre in Wharfedale and Arkle Moor Riding Centre in Reeth.

Pennine Bridleway

The Pennine Bridleway runs from near Long Preston to near Kirkby Stephen. It is part of the first National Trail to be specifically designed for horse riders, cyclists and walkers. The Settle Loop offers a great day’s circular ride on bridleways and byways through walled lanes and open moorland.

Self-guided routes

Experienced riders with their own horses can plan routes using maps. Alternatively, the Northern Dales Rider project offers circular horse-riding routes in Swaledale, Arkengarthdale, Lower Wensleydale and Coverdale. They use mainly bridleways, green lanes and some unclassified county roads. The start point for each route can be reached by horsebox or trailer. View routes on the North Yorkshire Council website.

Ride Yorkshire also provide downloadable guides for a number of horse riding routes.

A ride across the Smardale and Crosby Garrett Fells can be viewed here, plus other rides in the Westmorland Dales and Eden Valley can be found here.

Riding guidelines

  • If transporting your horse to the area, pick a suitable place to leave the vehicle during your stay. Dedicated facilities are available for horse boxes at several places along the Pennine Bridleway. There are also many other suitable places if you plan ahead.
  • If you are planning to ride in rougher terrain, ensure your horse is fit enough to cope with the gradients, is well-behaved in wide open spaces, and is happy with the varying conditions underfoot.
  • The weather can change quickly so take suitable clothing, including waterproofs, and sun protection for you and your horse. A human and equine first aid kit is essential as is a hoof pick. It may be useful to take along a headcollar, which can be worn under the bridle, and a lead rope.
  • Make sure that you tell someone exactly where you will be going and what time you expect to be back or reach your destination. If your plans change, let that person know. Ideally, ride in a group of three or more, so that if an accident happens someone can go for help and someone can stay.
  • Ride carefully through livestock. Spooked animals can harm themselves, particularly if they are pregnant or have young at foot.
  • Follow the Highway Code.

More advice is available from the British Horse Society website.

Issues? Let us know! 

We are always working to improve the rights-of-way network. For example, we have been replacing gate catches with ones that are easy to open from horseback. If, however, you discover any particular problems, please contact us.