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Equestrian Programs

Become a real Ranch Hand and Saddle Up!

The newest adventure at The Ranch is pure horseplay! Our new Equestrian Center features corrals filled with ponies, mini burros and horses and offers several levels of horseback riding and learning experiences. Located in the chaparral and oak studded hills in breathtaking Carmel Valley with views all the way to the Pacific, our Equestrian Team has created many unique programs for the young and the young at heart.

Meet Molly Heneks...

[IMG: Molly Heneks]As Carmel Valley Ranch's resident Cowgirl, Molly Heneks provides guests and visitors with a memorable horseback experience. Touching along the way about local history, and the abundant flora and fauna species, Molly manages the resident herd of around 30 beautiful trail ride horses that live year round at the Hilltop Corral.


  .. and introducing Jill Rivoli!

[IMG: Jill Rivoli]

   Jill is new to the Ranch, and brings with her a fascinating new program called The Equine Perspective. This is a chance for folks who want to go beyond the trail to discover the amazing capacity for communication and connection that horses demonstrate in every day life. Jill manages a small herd of carefully selected and trained horses used specially for these classes.

*Photo credit: Whimsy Hollow Photography

Equestrian Programs at The Ranch

Guided Trail Rides

Chaparral Loop Trail Ride

60 minutes on trail, 90 minutes pick-up to drop-off, $140 +10% service charge* per person
Ages 8 and up
Join us for a relaxing ride exploring the hillside above The Ranch. We'll make our way to a sunny meadow that slopes down through oak chaparral, taking us to a shady grove of towering redwood trees. Ideal for beginning and intermediate riders who enjoy a rambling adventure.

Sunset Trail Ride

60 minutes on trail, 90 minutes pick-up to drop-off; $190 +10% service charge* per person
Ages 8 and up

What's more romantic than riding off into the sunset with your special someone? Explore the hillsides of Carmel Valley in the waning light. Meet in the Lodge 10 minutes prior for your shuttle to the Corral. Reservations required.

The Equine Perspective

120 minutes round trip with pick-up and drop-off, $125 service charge* per person
Ages 10-110
Take a step outside yourself through this transformative equine experience. Guided with joy and compassion by Jill Rivoli, natural horsemanship expert, you'll experience a series of exercises designed to develop self-awareness and authentic communication with our specially chosen horses. Using equestrian ground skills and other techniques to connect with the horses and those around you, you might just develop a deeper connection with yourself.

Just for Kids

Kiddie Corral

60 minutes, $65 per child; children must be accompanied by an adult
Ages 2-7

Just right for our Junior Ranch Hands! Meet in the Lodge Lobby for a ride up to our Hilltop Corral. You'll meet the horse wranglers of Carmel Valley Trail Rides, go on a Pony Ride on a full size horse, participate in a mini-roping lesson, create cowboy arts & crafts, brush and pet our mini horses Sugar and Cookie, and pose for a photo with your favorite!

Private rides can be arranged. Please contact the activities team at 831.626.2507.

*24-Hour Courtesy Policy applies to all offerings. 10% Service Charge automatically added to every horseback ride, 18% added to groups of 6 or more. Proceeds are pooled among the Equestrian Team.

Ranch Hand Pony Parties

Throw the kid a hoedown! Create a cherished childhood memory.

"Pony Rides," painting, games and crafts—Yee Ha! Your Ranch Hands will delight in rambling lead-line pony rides, kid-friendly horses, games, and a chance to learn from our Cowboys and Cowgirls.


  • $435* for 1.5 hours and up to 6 kids and up to 4 adults
  • *$50 for each additional child after 6
  • *$125 for each additional hour. 2 additional hours max

Party Includes:

  • Space for party: tables for gifts and cake*
  • Pony painting art
  • Pony rides
  • Roping demo and lesson
  • Cowboy crafts
  • Nostalgic Party Games

Additional options:

  • $200 for a photographer for entire party and a disc of photography
  • *Food and beverage is not included but available at an additional cost.

Every Rider Should Know...

What to Wear (This is a safety essential - guests without proper attire will be asked to return to their room and change.)
Closed toe shoes
Long pants

Where & When to Meet
All guests should meet in the Lodge Lobby to check in for their Trail Ride 15 minutes prior to their scheduled ride.

Pricing Guide

Offerings for Guests age 8+

Chaparral Loop Trail Ride (1 hour ride):$140 +10% service charge* per person
Private Chaparral Loop Trail Ride (1 hour ride):$170 +10% service charge* per person
Sunset Ride - min 2 riders (1 hour ride):$190 +10% service charge* per person
Private Beginner Western Lesson:$170 +10% service charge* per person

Offerings for Kids age 2-7

Kiddie Corral (1 hour Child Activity):$65 + 10% service charge* per child
"Pony Ride" (45 minute Child Ride):$65 +10% service charge* per child

*10% Service Charge automatically added to every horseback ride, 18% added to groups of 6 or more. Service charge is pooled among Trail Ride Staff.

Discount Pricing
25% Discount on Trail Rides (only) for Monterey County Residents and Members, Sunday - Thursday only


All bookings shall be considered confirmed. Please notify Guest Services of any cancellations. Bookings cancelled prior to final 24-hour period shall receive a full refund of registration fees. Failure to attend without cancellation notification will result in full payment.

For reservations, please contact the Activities Office at 831.626.2507
or email us at Activities@CarmelValleyRanch.com