Update: After this article was written, Maverick Horseback Riding relocated to Lockhart, TX, just 20 minutes from South Austin and 45 minutes from Round Rock. For the full details on all the rides offered, please visit their website here.
Do512 Family editor, Jamie Jett, had the chance to take her 8-year-old son on an adventure — a 2-hour ride on horseback through the woods, pastures, a neighborhood and even by some buffalo. Read all about her trip with Maverick Horseback Riding.
My son and I took a 30-minute drive north of Austin to Hutto for something new, something different, something you can’t find in Austin city limits. We had a reservation to take The Buffalo Ride at Maverick Horseback Riding, a 2-hour ride through the countryside (and some neighborhoods), where we saw real, live buffalo and even had the chance to feed a couple of them.
I hadn’t been on a horse since I was a little girl. My son has done the short rides where someone is guiding the horse from the ground, but this was his first time to steer and ride a horse all on his own. He was a little nervous at first, but with our instructor’s guidance and a few quick trips around the arena, his confidence was quickly on the rise.
Our instructor, Joan MacCoy, runs Maverick Horseback Riding and guides riders on the trail. The focus of her organization is to teach people of all ages how to ride a horse on the trail as opposed to an arena. Besides the amazing trail rides she offers, she also provides a slew of lessons and even a summer camp for riders of all ages and experience. She was an excellent teacher and kept a close eye on people as they rode so that she could offer advice. I especially appreciated this because I knew my son was nervous and her advice seemed to comfort him. He could tell that she knew what she was talking about, so he listened, and he did great!
We went around the arena and had a quick mini-lesson before the ride in order to get comfortable and to get to know our horse. MacCoy knew the horses well and informed us all of all their quirks. I rode Maverick, her most trusted and gentle horse. My son rode Texas, a pony (which is entirely different than a horse, turns out) and there were two other riders with us in addition to the guides.
MacCoy rides with her 5-year-old son, Sam, who can tie knots, find an appropriate helmet for kids and do whatever needs to be done. It was awesome seeing a mother-and-son operation of sorts and it felt good to know that we were all supporting this little family.
I don’t want to give out too many details of the ride. I will tell you that it was awesome, that I’m sore, and that I’d do it again in a heartbeat. There’s something magical about riding a horse into the sunset, or through a river, or by some buffalo. All of that is even more magical when you can experience it with your child. My son loved it! We got in the car and talked about it the whole way home. He is a little hard to please and can be somewhat of a homebody, so getting him to admit that he had an awesome time can be a challenge. We did the ride AFTER spending a few hours at Eeyore’s Birthday (I’m not that smart sometimes), so I was extra nervous about him not being that into it, but I’m happy to say that he genuinely had an amazing experience. He kept saying, “I rode into the sunset. That’s epic.”
- The Pasture Ride -> One hour mounted (total lesson time 1.5 – 2 hours). This is available for repeat riders and is a good option for locals. The ranch is lovely, but you may not be able to go to the creek. It is recommended to take a longer ride if you’re vacationing or coming for a one-time ride. $55
- The Buffalo Ride -> Approximately two hours mounted (total lesson time 2.5 – 3.5 hours). This is ideal for both locals and visitors who want to travel to see mini donkeys, pigs, llamas and, of course, the buffalo. There is at least one creek crossing with great photo opportunities. $80
- The Grasslands Ride -> Two – three hours mounted, depending on the speed (total lesson time 3.5 – 4.5 hours). This ride is a great choice for those who want to get a full horseback riding experience. Riders should be physically fit OR have some experience riding before. You will visit all three parks and enjoy opportunities to trot and canter with rider ability and request. Requires a minimum of two riders. $150
- Old Settler’s Ride -> Ride through Old Settler’s Park. They will meet you there with the horses tacked up and ready to go. Ride for several hours and stop at the Salt Lick afterward for some food and refreshments. $210
To book a ride, or find out any other information, call Joan at 512-230-8413. Check out maverickhorsebackriding.com to find out about all of the other offerings. Tell her Do512 Family sent you!