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The Short Version: Northern California is a beautiful place to explore with family, friends, or that special someone, and a horseback riding tour can get any vacation off to a galloping start. Ricochet Ridge Ranch offers riders of all experience levels the chance to enjoy a memorable time on horseback. Couples can saddle up for a romantic date by going on expert-led horseback rides along the Mendocino County coast. The ranch is surrounded by redwood forests and mountains, so couples can book a tour and see remarkable vistas while riding horseback.
Couples visiting Northern California have many opportunities to explore the great outdoors and lose themselves in nature. The Pacific Ocean. The redwood forests. The rolling hills and mountains. It’s all so breathtakingly beautiful, and some horseback riding trails can make visitors feel as if they’re pioneers on the American frontier.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch offers one-of-a-kind date activities for horse lovers and nature lovers in Mendocino County. The horseback touring company specializes in daily trail rides that can last up to four hours and take people through forests, along the beach, and down dirt trails to destinations unknown.
New riders can take a one-hour ride that begins in the woods and then heads down to the coastline where people can look out at the Pacific Ocean.
Some adventurous couples book a half- or full-day ride with Ricochet Ridge Ranch to go further and see more sights than they could by hiking or biking. The half-day experience takes riders through the coastal redwoods of a few private lands. The group rides through the morning and then stops for lunch among the trees. The last stop on the trip is a remote beach where few tourists get in the way of the panoramic vistas.
“It’s easy and low-key. Anybody can do it,” said Jake Langevin, the ranch’s co-owner. “We see riders from 6 to 90 years old.”
Couples travel to the ranch to connect with horses, connect with nature, and reconnect with each other. Ricochet Ridge Ranch offers a unique dating and vacation experience discovering the beauty of Northern California from horseback.
Ricochet Ridge team members are experienced and passionate horse handlers who know how to pair each visitor with the right horse. Good-natured horses like Whisper and Roller are favorites among beginners, and the horseback riding guides continually ask for feedback to make sure everyone feels comfortable with their seat.
Riders of all skill levels can head to Ricochet Ridge for an adventure. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been riding for 20 years or hardly ever gotten on a horse — the expert guides make sure the journey is pleasant for all.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch is ideally located in close proximity to beaches, redwood forests, and other natural sights. Some visitors travel from San Francisco or Sacramento for a daylong visit, while others make a point to stay in Fort Bragg just for the pleasure of riding on horseback on multiple occasions.
Truly outdoorsy couples can continue their nature adventure by going on a camping trip at MacKerricher State Park or Surfwood Campground. The gorgeous scenery of the woods, mountains, and beaches make it perfect for a romantic weekend getaway.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch sees both locals and tourists getting excited by the horseback tours. It’s a unique way for dating and married couples to explore Mendocino County and make memories together.
Jake’s mother Judy runs the ranch and raised her son to love horses as much as she does. Jake and his wife Alisha have gone on many dates on horseback and ridden into the sunset together.
“I was taught by my parents that the world looks better from the back of a horse,” Jake said. “It’s important to us to be able to share part of human culture that has become obsolete and only possible for a small part of the society.”
Horseback riding can give people an opportunity to let go of their worries and find a sense of profound peace along the horse trail. It can be a romantic and stress-relieving activity for couples who enjoy outdoor dates. Some studies have shown the natural rhythm of a horse’s stride can offer therapeutic benefits similar to getting a massage.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch welcomes beginners as well as experienced riders, and the guides are always ready to answer any questions that arise. Jake said he’s seen couples who are equally inexperienced learn together, and he’s seen a more experienced partner provide an example and encouragement for a beginner.
“Even if you have never touched a horse before, you can join us,” Jake said with confidence. “If one member of the couple grew up doing it and the other has never met a horse, we can still provide an experience that’s safe and exciting.”
Couples can escape their regular routine and find enjoyment in a shared experience on horseback. Sometimes couples have such a great time together that they return for birthdays, dating anniversaries, and other vacations in the future.
“There’s something about doing something outside the norm together. It will be a memory. It gets people outside their comfort zone,” said Jake.
Sometimes Ricochet Ridge sees one partner sharing his or her passion for horses with that special someone. They can trade stories about horses, pick up new skills, and see beautiful sights on these unique horseback riding tours.
Ricochet Ridge is truly a family affair, and Jake’s family encourages people to fall in love with horseback riding — even if they’ve never done it before. These experts recommend newcomers start with a one-hour trip to get their bearings. Who knows? They may discover a new hobby or a new favorite getaway in the rugged terrain.
Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day treat or a summer day trip, couples can visit Ricochet Ridge to make their journey extra special. These horseback riding tours make wonderfully romantic date activities in the scenic areas of Northern California.
“You can’t shake the romantic idea of riding horses on the beach. It’s so cliché, it works!” Jake said with a laugh.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch has been in operation for 40 years, and when Jake, Judy, and Alisha were able to purchase it, they jumped at the chance to continue to share this horseback riding experience.
“We wanted to give the general public a chance to ride a horse in one of the most beautiful places in the country,” Jake told us. “We give people a chance to ride on the beach and the mountains on the same day.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ricochet Ridge has seen increased demand for horseback riding tours as a fun socially distant activity. Couples will have to make a reservation in advance to land a date on horseback because the tours tend to fill up fast. The guides can only offer a certain number of rides per day to ensure the horses get enough rest.
“The horses are family to us, so we want to make sure they’re taken care of. We’re doing the best we can for our horses,” Jake said.
Horseback riding can give people a new perspective and get their hearts galloping to a new rhythm. It’s a wonderful date activity for couples looking to escape lockdown life and have a fun experience in Northern California.
“We want to provide that peace of mind and that break from the awful things in the world, and we love reminding people of our connection to horses,” Jake said. “We want to own Ricochet Ranch for the next 30 years. It’s an iconic piece of Northern California history, and we want to preserve and be a part of that history.”