By USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
Winston Churchill once said: “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.”
It’s a phrase that many children and adults have found to be true when they discover the world on horseback. For those who haven’t tried horseback riding yet, but are up for the experience, the greater Stuttgart area provides many opportunities.
Horseback riding is a very popular sport in Germany; there are more than three million riders in the country. In addition, there are some 7,300 riding clubs, as well as a large number of pony rides and horse farms.
“It is a great sport and what makes it so special is the fact that you work with living creatures. So every day you learn something new,” said Thomas Michel, a professional rider for 40 years and manager of the riding club in Böblingen.
First-time riders may want to visit the Sonnenhof, near Pattonville. It offers a wide range of special courses, like “Pony Cuddling” located at Sonnenhof 1, Stuttgart. For more information, call 0711-50-74620, or visit www.dersonnenhof.com.
Another option is the Ponyhof Müller, which owns 40 ponies of all sizes. The farm opens for visitors each Sunday at Stuttgarter Straße 103 in Ostfildern. For more information, call 0711-24-88722, or visit www.ponyhofmueller.com.
For more serious riding lessons, many local riding clubs are available. Usually, patrons have to pay a one-time admission fee as well as annual club fees. Lessons cost about €30 for adults, but clubs offer bargain passes for 10 lessons. In addition, members are expected to donate several hours of volunteer work.
Local riding facilities
Several riding facilities are located in close proximity to Stuttgart military installations offering lessons in English.
Reit- und Fahrverein Böblingen is located at Tiergartenstraße 4, Böblingen. For more information, call 07031-27-2657, or visit www.reitverein-boeblingen.de.
Stuttgarter Reit- und Fahrverein, located at Am Kräherwald 110, Stuttgart, offers a trial period, but beginners must sign up on a waiting list. For more information, call 0711-25-73162, or visit www.stuttgarter-reit-und-fahrverein.de.
Reit- und Fahrverein Schönbuch is located at Tübinger Str. 112, in Holzgerlingen. For more information, call 0177-55-51180, or visit www.rvs-holzgerlingen.de.
At Reitstall Wolfhof, located at Steinenbronner Str. 91, in Schönaich, offers lessons for horses and ponies. For more information, call 0176-66-678803, or visit www.wolfhof-schoenaich.de.
Visit ‘horse whisperer’
For a different approach to riding, visit “horse whisperer” Lisa Peters located at Grünewaldstr. 70 in Stuttgart-Feuerbach. Peters teaches how to train horses by using treats instead of penalties. For more information, call 0711-50-00202, or visit www.pferde.24-hs.de.
Those who prefer to stay out of the saddle can watch elite riders compete at the International Equestrian Tournament, typically held in November at Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle Stuttgart (Mercedesstrasse 68). Top riders from all over the world will compete in dressage, jumping, vaulting and team driving. For more information, visit www.stuttgart-german-masters.de.
In addition, horse lovers of all ages can learn about these animals at the “Pferd Stuttgart” trade fair for horses and riding at the Messe, or trade fair, Stuttgart, adjacent to the Stuttgart Airport. Typically, the fair is held every year in October. For more information, call 0711-18560-0, or visit www.messe-stuttgart.de.