Horseback riding may not be the first thing you think of when you consider outdoor winter activities, but a couple of hours atop a horse strolling through the snow-covered Door County countryside makes for a wonderful winter experience.
For 57 years the Kurtz family at Kurtz Corral has been introducing people to horseback riding in central Door County. What Lloyd Kurtz began in 1960 as a small pony ring is now 60 horses mostly raised and trained by his grandson Jimmy Kurtz.
Kurtz Corral offers a variety of trail rides for riders of all abilities, from beginner to advanced. Young, inexperienced riders can get comfortable with a 15-minute arena ride.
Though beautiful, the idea of hopping on a massive horse can be intimidating. However, you’ll find a well-trained horse remarkably easy to ride with a short training session. Once comfortable, riders can take advantage of more than 500 acres of wooded trails and fields far from busy main roads, getting a small taste of the way early settlers might have experienced this land more than 150 years ago.
Open Friday through Sunday in winter, riders are encouraged to make reservations at least a day in advance, as rides are dependent on weather. When the blanket of snow is thick and the sun is shining, a visit will have you feeling like you stepped into an old-time post-card, trotting through a picture-perfect landscape.
After your ride, head to the Kurtz Corral Studio, which serves as a warming house where you can cozy up around the fireplace and sip cider, hot cocoa, or wine as you share stories with your trail mates.
3 Tips for a Great Horseback Riding Experience
- Dress in layers to assure that you don’t get chilly, and wear gloves that allow for natural hand and finger control.
- Don’t get scared off by a windy day. Wooded trails provide natural protection against most wind.
- Bring a bottle of wine to sip in the warming house after your ride!
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