Horse lovers from around the world have traveled to Lexington for years to visit farms, take in a race at Keeneland and explore the Kentucky Horse Park, but you don’t have to travel to central Kentucky to experience this rich tradition. Equine activities are also found in Northern Kentucky, and many can be enjoyed by novice riders or just fans of these beautiful creatures that have helped make Kentucky famous.

Located in an 1870s farmhouse, First Farm Inn Bed and Breakfast in Petersburg has been attracting guests due to its lovely rooms, 21 acres of countryside and delicious breakfasts (with specialties including Kentucky Whole Wheat Biscuits and Gravy). Travelers from as far away as China and Australia have found respite here and enjoyed the opportunity to horseback ride. Non-guests can ride as well. The Inn has become popular with horse owners as a great way to travel thanks to its open stalls for guests’ horses.

Owner Jennifer Warner says, “Whether you’ve had your own horse, want to introduce a friend to horses, need to conquer your fears or just want to enjoy a fun ride, First Farm Inn offers a unique two-hour horsemanship session year-round that focuses on learning how your horse thinks and riding safely. It includes grooming and tacking up, then starting in the riding arena working on control and steering. After you’re comfortable, we tour the farm on horseback riding through the woods and around the ponds as well as trotting over the pastures.”

A.J. Jolly Park in Alexandria opened its stables in 2012. Consisting of 1,000 acres with many activities, the Park also offers an extensive network of horse trails for riders. The 28-stall barn and adjacent campground feature water, electric, comfort and dump stations, grills, and a playground. The Northern Kentucky Horse Network Trail Blazers constructed and maintain this trail system for riders to enjoy.

You don’t have to wait for the first Saturday in May to enjoy a horse race. Turfway Park in Florence has a variety of races, including the popular Spiral Stakes, held throughout the year. Dating back to 1883 as Latonia Race Track, it reopened in Florence in 1959, later becoming Turfway Park. Turfway hosts thousands of visitors annually; thus far, its busiest day recorded some 11,415 people in attendance.

Milestones Equestrian Achievement Program is a nonprofit organization in Independence offering a therapeutic horsemanship program that presents opportunities for individuals with challenges to enhance their quality of life.

Executive Director Susan Kinsella notes that, “Children and adults with disabilities like horses, enjoy a quiet, peaceful environment and they are able to teach each other many things. Riding a horse provides a unique recreational activity for many, but building a relationship with an animal has proven to be one of the most rewarding benefits of therapeutic horseback riding.”

Milestones’ annual spring fundraiser, The Mane Event (May 9), is an excellent opportunity to learn more about what the organization does, watch demonstrations and say hello to the horses in person.

Interested in learning to ride or buying a horse of your own? Saddle Lake Equestrian Center in Camp Springs offers up a variety of classes and camps, and sells tack and horses. Stone Ridge Stables in Alexandria offers horse-leasing options as well as trails and boarding and Little Britain Stables in Burlington also has lessons and boarding.

Giddy up Northern Kentucky!