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“Horses Nice, Trail Ride a Bit Short”
Review of Fort Valley Ranch

Fort Valley Ranch
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Attraction details
Owner description: Mountain horseback trail riding. Enjoy a trail ride on one of our gentle mountain horses. Located in the Shenandoah Mountains near Luray Va. Ranch packages, Bunkhouse Cabins and Camping available. No experience necessary. Children must be at least 8 years old and our horses cannot safely carry more than 250 lbs. Reservations are strongly suggested. Open year round,every day.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

We looked around the Luray area and decide to try Fort Valley Stables because of the mountain trails through the George Washington Forest. We chose the hour and a half ride. They asked us to be about 30 minutes early, but we probably got there about 50 minutes early. The check-in process seemed smooth, we picked our helmets, and the other group of three that were riding with us were already there. Then we waited a while. The horses were already tacked up, so we weren't quite sure what we were waiting for, but right at noon, then they started putting us on horses. In our group, we had two experienced riders, but they said it didn't matter on horse selection. I waited to mount last so I could be in the back just in case. I have led and participated in many trail rides in my riding days, so it was a good position to be in to monitor the group in case they needed help. So at 12:30, everyone was loaded, and we actually started the ride. The horse I rode was a nice horse, he listened to me and did a good job on the trail. The newbies had some trouble in the line in front of us, and the guide gave some instruction as he saw things happening, but he didn't see the issues arising all the time. Either my daughter or I tried to offer advice, which helped the overall trail ride flow smoother. We headed back to the barn after an hour of riding, so we felt a little deceived on the hour and a half ride. There was no mention that a half hour was to watch people mount their horses and learn how to steer their horse. Since we all got there so early, there was plenty of time to get everyone mounted before the ride. The horses and location seemed nice, but we didn't get what we paid for as far as the length of ride and our guide was just okay. I didn't mind pitching in and helping out, but I didn't even get as much as a thank you. Oh well, next time we'll try a different place.

2  Thank hitl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 - 39 of 54 reviews

Reviewed February 3, 2013

I did not "stay" at this property so I cannot comment on accommodation. However I did ride here. I booked a half day ride for me and two other girls. I have decades of horse experience and my two friends have ridden before but have no training at all. I followed the directions from the website and found the place easily. The got us set up with our horses and we departed. I thought the horses were well conditioned to their terrain and that their tack was clean and maintained. We rode up to a gorgeous ridge and fed the horses their carrots. They also provided us with water, some crackers, and a cheese stick. Cool and appreciated. It was very cold and icy that day so the snack helped energize us for the ride back. Our guide was funny, had good stories, and was very enjoyable. A real cowboy type, we liked him. The horses were shod nicely and it was amazing how they scrambled over the rocks and snow. Very very cool. My friends had a lovely time as well. The horses were angels for them too. I absolutely will bring myself and my friends back again. I can see how some folks would maybe view this ride as slightly intimidating if you are not used to riding horses in truly natural terrain however I had faith in the horses and they got us through. See ya'll next year!

4  Thank AmericanExplorer8500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2012

The reason this review does not get 5 stars is because we got lost getting there. I know many do, because once we did, the exasperated girl at the desk was giving someone else directions.

Hint: if people get lost a lot, you need to put a bigger sign out. We got lost because the road forks, and we just had to decide which way to follow on our own. Problem is, the teeny tiny barely noticeable sign for the ranch says to go right. We even did a double take once we turned around after going 5 miles out of our way, and wondered why the sign was so ill-placed and small.

Otherwise, the ride was enjoyable. Well, as enjoyable as walking through a mountain slowly on a horse can be. It was a lot of steep mountain hills and inclines, which made it interesting, but I wonder how safe it truly is for those unsure if they can handle 1-2 hours on a horse to begin with.

I love horses and it was a gorgeous day, so it was a nice enjoyable experience. Wish we could have picked up the pace a little, but understandably they cant do that because not everyone can gallop or trot on a horse if they are a beginner.

Also, if you do not like being immersed heavily in the woods, have an aversion to bugs or smelly animals, this is not for you. We literally were dodging ducking under/around trees. The path is not cleared out, you are literally walking through the woods on horses.

2  Thank Kimberly C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

We went to Fort Valley Ranch for a 1 1/2 hour walking horseback ride with our three kids ages 8, 10, and 13. In our search for a stable, we found many that won't take kids under 10 and we wouldn't do it without everyone. Fort Valley Ranch took us last minute (called at 8 am for a 10 am ride) because they had openings. We had found out the place we had been trying to contact was closed on Mondays, our free day to ride and last day in the area. Fort Valley is closed on Wednesdays, FYI. Laura and Bill were very friendly and Bill was great as our guide, teaching us how to handle the horses. All minors must wear helmets, adults are given a choice. Our youngest child was placed just behind Bill in line and the line proceeded in ascending age order. We all had a great time, except for my husband, who didn't speak up about uncomfortable stirrups and suffered through it and wound up with a huge blister. Speak up, Bill and Laura will gladly make needed adjustments. A little pricey for a large family, but it's a long ride, too. It costs a lot to feed, house, and care for horses, so that's to be expected, in my opinion. Their prices were the same as the other area stable we were considering, and the same as one in another Virginia town we stayed in previously ($40 a person for the ride we chose - 1 1/2 hour walking). The trails on the mountain were peaceful and pretty. The horses were gentle (I had a little more experience riding and ended up with a horse that wanted to eat often and fight me to do it, but everyone elses was great). They are located about 20 minutes outside if intown Luray around windy mountain roads. Directions on mapquest seemed confusing because some of the roads change names often, but GPS got us there easily. A great place to go for a first time long ride, or choose a longer, more advanced ride for those with more experience, which I'm sure I would have loved. Bathrooms are glorified outhouses, no running water, just a seat, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. No problem for me, but I know that could be hard for some not expecting it. Drinks available or purchase in the office.

4  Thank joysaver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 18, 2012

Horse Trailer Living Quarters for us, Big Cabin for the daughter and her family, which included four (4) Grandchildren and a big corral for the horses. All around great week, with Bill and Laura and their Wrangler, Shane, treating us all like long lost friends. Weather was great and so were the horses in the hack line. Real MountainTrail Riding, hiking, photography, Luray Caverns close by, and a bona fide wild animal rescue zoo made the week a success. Super Walmart and Tractor Supply within easy driving distance, what more could you ask for....

2  Thank SoMdTrailRider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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