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SAN FRANCISCO – Equestrian enthusiasts can now experience Golden Gate Park on horseback, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.
Chaparral Ranch will hold its grand opening Saturday in the park’s Bercut Equitation Field, offering trail rides, children’s pony rides, horse camp and riding lessons. Aside from a brief pilot program in 2017, the opening of Chaparral Ranch marks the first horseback riding concession in the park since 2001. The equestrian facility is located on Chain of Lakes Drive East, near John F. Kennedy Drive. The company has provided trail rides to San Francisco families at Camp Mather for the past two years.
As part of its agreement with SF Rec and Park, Chaparral Ranch will offer free visits for San Francisco public schools and underserved communities and make its facility available to local organizations such as therapeutic riding programs for disabled and disadvantaged youth. It will clean up manure every 30 minutes, which will be used for fertilizer in the park. The program will be reviewed and possibly extended after six months.
“Horses play a big part in Golden Gate Park’s history and we’re thrilled to have them back as our park turns 150,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg said. “Chaparral Ranch’s staff and horses are beloved by our Camp Mather families, and we are looking forward to a new generation of city kids falling in love with riding, nature and our equestrian trails.”
Chaparral Ranch is currently booking trail rides, pony rides and lessons. It will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with plans to expand availability in the future.
“It’s an honor to be part of bringing horses back to this park,” said Chaparral CEO Shawn Mott. “The horses seem to bring back a spirit that has been missing.”
Trail rides and lessons range from $40 to a 30 minute ride to $80 for an hour; Pony rides are $15 for 15 minutes, or $1 per minute; Thanksgiving and winter camps are also available.