Head to the hills of Logan County for inexpensive, quality pony rides
Our son, Max, wanted a pony ride for his sixth birthday. But where to find a pony when it’s raining cats and dogs in Columbus? We decided to head to the country, where ponies are more plentiful.
With a little Internet research, we learned that Marmon Valley Farm offers inexpensive, quality pony rides at a 450-acre recreational farm one hour northwest of Columbus in Logan County for kids as young as two. Cost: $5 for 30 minutes.
- Head to the hills of Logan County for inexpensive, quality pony rides
We made reservations in advance, so two ponies were saddled up and ready to go at riding time. Marmon Valley has a stable of 150 horses and ponies available for riding in an indoor arena as well as outdoor trail rides through the wooded hills of Logan County.
Max and his sister, Rosie, wore long pants and boots for their adventure. We brought along our own helmets, but they’re available free of charge, if you forget.
Max rode a gentle black pony named Faye and Rosie a spunky chestnut-colored pony named Copper. Parents, or accompanying adults, are taught to lead the ponies. Our instructor showed me how to hold the lead loosely with two hands and not wrap it around one hand in case the pony decided to take off.
These rides aren’t like the kind you find at the fair where children are lifted on a merry-go-round of sad-eyed miniature horses. Mike and I were able to lead the ponies around the arena and encourage our kids to steer with the reins and say “whoa” to stop. No trotting was allowed, though, which was fine for me and Mike.
Marmon Valley has served up farm-fresh fun for more than 50 years. The name “Marmon Valley” pays homage to the first homesteaders who called the valley home in the early 1800s.
Opened in 1964, landowner Bill Wiley dreamt of a farm camp for children, allowing them to experience life on the farm, if only for a week. The camp, held every summer, is Christian based.
It’s free to visit the grounds year round. You can have a picnic, swing on the swings, crawl through indoor hay tunnels and hike the trails. We were able to pet a pig, a goat, a donkey and ponies in the barn. The highlight was cradling baby bunnies in our hands. Their cuteness melts your heart.
Guests can reserve the property for parties and retreats. Barn dances and hayrides also occur throughout the year.
Visit free of charge year round Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Horseback riding is available Tuesday through Sunday 1-5 p.m., year round. (Reservations are required December through March and strongly encouraged during other months.) Trail riders must be at least 6 years old. Pony rides are available for kids as young as two.
Other options include group riding lessons for ages six and up for $25 a lesson and a summer horse camp for ages 7 to 17.
Marmon Valley Farm is located at 7754 St. Rt. 292, Zanesfield, Ohio. For more information, call 937-593-8000 or visit www.marmonvalley.com.