Cities can cause claustrophobia in me, especially in the summertime. I grew up in the Chicago area, and my family and I loved to escape on vacation to a campground or lake where we could be outside and not surrounded by buildings. When I started feeling this same need in Indy, I drove out to Fort Harrison State Park, where you can walk, fish, and ride bikes or even horses.
Fort Harrison is a 1,700-acre park on Indy’s northeast side. The activities at this huge park seem endless. I saw people preparing to kayak in Fall Creek, fishing and duck feeding on the lake, biking down paths, golfing at the golf course and grilling anywhere they could. After driving around the walnut tree grove and the other myriad trails, we decided to head to the saddle barns and the horses that awaited us for our trail ride.
For $16 a person, you can take a 1.5 mile trail ride on a well-trained horse. I rode Kenny, a big black-and-white horse, and my friend was on Twister, a name that made my first-time-riding friend a little nervous.
But the staff was helpful in showing us the correct ways to direct the horses, and for the most part Kenny and Twister knew what to do on their own. The trail goes through woods, up and down huge hills and through small streams. The forest, even on an 85 degree day, is cool and shaded, and covered in green leaves and branches.
The only hiccup in the ride was a horse named Oreo, who hated to go uphill. Every time the trail started to angle up, he would wheeze and complain like a grumpy old man, and his slow pace started to anger some of the horses behind him. Most of the humans, though, found his lazy anger funny (and relatable).
For people who have never gone horseback riding or want to take their kids, I highly recommend coming here. The horses were all well-trained and the staff helpful. The trail was long enough to gratify any eager children and short enough that it was never boring.
And if you’re coming for the horses, stay for the other activities at this beautiful, huge park.