Assateague Island is home to over 300 wild horses. The best way to get up close and personal to them is to take a boat tour on the Assateague Explorer (adults $43, children 3-11 $33, free for children under 3). Cruises run every day of the week from April through October, and there are off-season cruises available as well. Try to time your trip during the summer, because up to 80 foals are born to the herds.
2246 Curtis Merritt Harbor Drive, Chincoteague Island, Virginia; 757-336-5956
Get out into the countryside for the day. Kids can take a riding lesson (prices vary) or simply take a ride through the pastures (up to 10 riders; $50 each). Perhaps best of all for parents, the property is also home to Waredaca Brewing Company, which makes outstanding craft beers, such as a dark stout made with locally roasted Mayorga coffee.
4015 Damascus Road, Laytonsville; 301-570-4191
In the heart of the District is an equestrian oasis. Little ones who are two-and-a-half years old or older and a minimum of 30 inches tall can enjoy a 15-minute pony ride for $21. More advanced riders can enjoy an hour-long trail ride along the park’s wending and winding trails for $42. Whichever you choose, pictures are a must.
5100 Glover Road, Northwest; 202-362-0117
The annual equestrian show has been a District fixture for nearly six decades. Watch show jumping, hunters, and equitation. We can’t promise you that your child won’t ask you to buy them a pony the whole ride home, but it’s still a surefire way to dazzle a junior jockey. October 24-29 at the Capital One Arena.
General Philip Sheridan rode this now-taxidermied Morgan horse during the Civil War, including during his storied ride from Winchester, Virginia to Cedar Creek, Virginia, when he rallied his Union troops to victory. That epic trek earned the impressive stallion its name. Ultimately, the black beauty carried Sheridan through more than 40 battles. Free; open 10 am to 5:30 pm every day, except December 25.
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest; 202-633-1000
Book a horse-drawn carriage ride through the District so your little princess can indulge in her passion for ponies and Cinderella simultaneously. You can also book one for what would surely be the best horse-themed birthday party ever.