My husband drove our family to the ranch, but he didn’t tell me where we were going for my birthday suprise. As we drove through Southlake, I started making guesses. A shopping day at Southlake Town Square? Hiking at Bob Jones Nature Center? Then, we pulled up to Marshall Creek Ranch. As my family got out of the car and I took a look at the ranch, it all connected — We were going horseback riding!
GETTING READY FOR THE RIDE
I was so excited for my family to go on our first horseback ride together. I’d never been to Marshall Creek Ranch, so this was a great suprise! We checked in, signed a few waivers and got fitted for helmets. While we were waiting for our horses, we took pictures inside the beautiful lounge area, pretending to be cowboys and cowgirls getting ready for a day on the trail.
When the horses were ready for us, the Marshall Creek Ranch “Wranglers” guided us outside and gave us each a horse. The horses had very cute names — Mine was named Gun Smoke! After my family got straddled on our horses, we got in formation and started heading out on our horse riding adventure.
ON THE TRAIL
Marshall Creek Ranch has a lot of beautiful lakeside trails. Some of the trails even go along the shoreline of the lake! As we rode our horses, we looked out over Grapevine lake and saw people enjoying the day on thier jet skis. Riding along the lake was beautiful and relaxing, and watching the water as we rode along on horseback was incredibly soothing. We rode through a beautiful plateau, and then through a hilly forest. It was so mesmerizing! The horses galloped slightly and a few stopped to eat grass and drink water.
As we rode through, I could hear the rest of my family laughing and making jokes with each other. We’d never done this as a family before, and it was so much fun. I listened to my five-year-old and his horse guide have conversations behind me. In front of me, my seven-year-old was riding along, learning how to control the large horse with the commands our guide had taught us. And me? I was soaking in every moment, smiling ear to ear. It was one of those experiences that I’ll always remember, and one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever recieved.
TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME RIDERS
If you ever feel up for an authentic Texan experience, definitely check out Marshall Creek Ranch! Don’t worry if you’ve never been on a horseback ride before — There’s different levels of trail rides offered here, ranging from beginner to advanced. Of course, it’s always useful to have some tips before you head out on the trail.
- CLOTHING — Wear comfortable close-toed shoes, loose fitting jeans and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. I’d suggest wearing a cowboy or cowgirl hat. It’ll protect you from the sun, and you’ll look like a real Texan on the trail! Even with a hat, you’ll also want to put on sunscreen for your ride.
- RIDE TIME — Each trail ride is about an hour and half, so bring a bottle of water with you (and visit the bathroom before you saddle up).
- TAKE IT EASY — Relax and enjoy the ride! You can always ask your trail guide for help, or ask them any questions you might have.
- SUMMERTIME RIDES — During the summer, Marshall Creek Ranch offers morning rides and evening rides (usually along the shore of Lake Grapevine). Some evening rides are “adult only”, so be sure to check the schedule before you book your visit.
- BRING YOUR PHONE — Yes, you read that right. All of the horses have a saddle bag, so you have a place to put your phone, wallet, water bottle and anything else you might need. Once you get comfortable riding, you’ll be thankful you brought your phone so you can take pictures and videos of the gorgeous trails.