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  • Thank you from Cornerstone Ranch

    Thanks from Cornerstone Ranch

    Thank you for your interest in Trail Riding at Cornerstone Ranch. I
    hope you find our FAQ section helpful. More answers will be added as
    time goes on to help answer questions and make your trail ride experience
    even more enjoyable! Remember to visit us in the snow as we are open year round!

    — Sue Connell

    MA Licensed Riding Instructor since 1987

    Founder & Manager, Cornerstone Ranch, LLC

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    Please arrive 1/2 hour prior to your trail ride reservation
    to be sure you are punctual and so as not to delay the other riders.
    Our trail rides begin in the barnyard. First, we pair riders with the horse
    they will be riding. This is the most exciting part of the trail ride 🙂
    Usually, we do very well matching rider personality with horse personality.

    After riders are assigned horses, one by one we mount the horse. We explain
    the safe way to get on and the most comfortable way for our horses. We have
    mounting blocks to stand on which makes getting on a whole lot easier for the
    horse and for the rider.

    Once everyone is mounted up, we do a fun series of exercises to show riders
    how to move around and feel comfortable. This is great whether you are a first time rider
    or a well-oiled wrangler. We also go over the best way to hold the reins and transfer them to one hand and back again.

    1.1 What attire should I wear?
    The best clothing to wear is jeans or other comfortable long pants.
    If you dress in layers and wear a coat, jacket or sweat shirt be sure it can
    be zipped up so there is nothing loose flapping around.

    1.2 What shoes should I wear?
    The best shoes to wear are pull on boots. Next best is an ankle
    boot or shoe with a slight heel. The heel helps prevent your foot from
    going all the way through the stirrup and not being able to come back out.
    Nothing too wide though because that can get caught too.

    1.3 What style of riding do you do at Cornerstone Ranch on the trails?
    We ride in Western saddles on our trail rides. We have some really awesome bridles and saddles! Most of our Western Saddles are custom made Fallis Balanced Ride Saddles. They help keep us in good balance while we are riding and are extra comfortable. You can find out more about the saddles at Fallis Balanced Ride Saddles.

    We typically use gentle bits on our horses called “snaffle bits” and some of our horses don’t even use bits.
    Our reins are color coded to help you keep them even, and neither too loose nor too tight.

    1.4 Can I carry a camera?
    Please, no bulky camera bags, photography, or video camera operation while riding. This can be too much of a distraction for the rider, other riders, and may cause confusion for the horse if the rider is not holding the reins correctly. You’ll be safer and enjoy the ride more when you focus on the experience and scenery and the interaction with your partner, the horse. We are happy to take rider pictures and group pictures before we depart for the ride or when we return to the barn.
    Just remind us!

    1.5 Can I carry a bag on the ride?
    Same rules apply for a bag as a camera. As long as the bag isn’t a distraction for the horse or the rider, or put the rider out of balance it will be okay. It must be a very small bag if you are to carry it. Please fill up on water before the ride so you won’t need to carry any beverage on the ride.

    1.6 Can two people ride on the same horse?
    We do not allow riding double. Our age requirement is 10+. We do have some flexibility for kids who have ridden before and if a parent or adult family member also books.

    For younger children, we offer pony rides every weekend afternoon in the summer. Pony rides are $10.
    We also serve ice cream from our Wild Child Express ice cream trolley in the summer.

    For kids 6+ in addition to pony rides, we offer riding lessons by appointment. Lessons can be scheduled online or you can email if you don’t see a day/time which works on the schedule.

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    2. Reservation Questions

    2.1 Introduction This section is devoted to questions pertaining to trail ride reservations.

    2.2 How do I book a trail ride?

    1. Use any of the reservation links from the Home Page or Trail Ride Page at the Cornerstone Ranch web site.
    2. Choose either the one hour trail ride or the two hour trail ride and click “Book” for that type of trail ride.
    3. Click on the day you are interested in. The days available will be colored green
    4. If it shows there are enough horses available for your group, choose the time slot you would like and click “Continue”.
    5. Review information, type in Voucher code where it says “Add promo or discount code” if you have purchased a gift certificate or Groupon then click “Continue” to proceed or “Go Back” to change number of people, type of trail ride, day or time. Please note Groupon codes will consist of all letters.
    6. Type all required contact information. If you typed your coupon code correctly you will not be charged for the ride, only the gratuity.
    7. Check your email to be sure a Reservation Confirmation has been sent. If you receive a confirmation email you are all set!

    2.3 Why do I have to enter a credit card number if I have a coupon?
    If you entered the correct coupon or Groupon code the amount due is the gratuity which is added to all rides. If you are having difficulty with a voucher code, go back and check the code(s) you entered.

    2.4 What do I do if I want more schedule more trail rides than what I have pre-purchased Coupons for?
    You will not need to make two separate reservation if you wish to book more trail rides than what you can redeem Coupons or Groupons for. If you enter your codes correctly, the amount due will only be for the number of rides you do not have coupons or
    Groupons for, plus gratuity.

    2.5 How do I cancel a trail ride I already booked?
    To cancel a trail ride you already received a confirmation email for please send an email to Cornerstone Ranch indicating you wish to reschedule. We will cancel the reservation for you and you will receive a confirmation email stating your reservation has been canceled. At this point, you will be able to rebook your trail ride with the code we provide you with. We require 48 hours notice for all cancellations or you will still be charged the amount of the trail ride(s). If you are redeeming Coupons/Groupons your credit card will be charged if you do not provide at least the 48 hours cancellation notice. Exception is of course extreme weather which will be determined by Cornerstone Ranch.

    2.6 What is your cancellation policy?
    We require at least 48 hours notice for all cancellation via email or you will be charged the amount of the trail ride(s) you reserved. We would much rather you come for your ride and not have to have a strict policy in place but it is a big deal to run a horse farm and manage all of the reservations. Being late for your ride falls under the less than 48 hour cancellation policy. Please see 2.5 above and 2.7 below for more details.

    2.7 What if there is bad weather?
    We reserve the right to cancel trail riding if the weather is unsafe for riding or driving, or if the weather poses too much discomfort for the horses or the riders. We will still hold the ride if it is raining especially in the warm weather so bring rain coats! If Cornerstone Ranch cancels the ride you may reschedule the trail ride within six months and we will email you a code to use when rescheduling so your credit card won’t be charged the trail ride fee a second time.

    2.8 What constitutes bad weather?
    Usually trail riding will be canceled if it is a very steady rain with 100% chance of rain throughout the day, ice or heavy snow. There is a chance we will cancel if the temperature is below 25 degrees. We typically will just delay if there is a thunderstorm in the area. Threat of rain, lightning or snow will usually NOT cause us to cancel a trail ride. Please show up 1/2 hour prior to your scheduled trail ride if you haven’t been notified prior of a cancellation. It is rare for us to cancel trail rides for weather. If trail rides are cancelled you will be notified via mail and telephone.

    2.9 What does it mean if a day on the booking calendar is colored red?
    This means all of the trail rides for that day are booked. Please check back at a later date to see if any cancellations have been posted.

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    2b.1 Introduction Thanks for your interest in our horse drawn rides! We are excited to be able to offer our sleigh rides and wagon rides. The following information will help with any questions you have regarding the process.

    2b.2 How do I book a sleigh ride? Booking a sleigh ride is easy using our online reservation system. This way we can keep track of everyone and concentrate on safely taking people on fun rides. Thanks for your patience using our reservation system.

    2b.3 Why are there hardly any rides available to book in the reservation system?
    The amount of rides will be determined on a week to week basis after careful scrutiny of the weather forecast. This is much more reliable than trying to guess far in advance. Allowing many people to book in advance poses a problem if the weather is stormy, bitter cold or icy because the rides may end up cancelled. Rides for the coming weekend will be determined in most cases by Wednesday or Thursday and the reservation system will be updated accordingly.

    2b.4 What should I do if there are more than 6 people in my group?
    Group rides are set at 6 currently and will be increased in the reservation system to allow 10 passengers if there isn’t enough snow to take the sleighs. This is because the wagon holds more passengers. If you have a party larger than six, you can book back to back rides i.e. 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. If there doesn’t see to be much snow, email me and I will merge your group of up to 12 people into one ride so you will be together.

    2b.5 Why are the Private rides listed as Bookable with Sufficient Snow in the reservation system?
    Private rides will become available when there is enough snow to safely take out the sleigh. Group rides are held with or without snow.

    2b.5 What happens if there isn’t enough snow in the winter to take a sleigh ride?
    If there isn’t enough snow to accommodate everyone this winter, we will offer horse drawn rides with ice cream beginning in May.


    3.1 Introduction Thanks for your patronage by purchasing Groupons! We are excited to be able to offer our trail rides to Groupon customers. The following FAQ’s should help with any questions you have regarding the process.

    3.2 Do I have to enter a credit card number when I am booking a trail ride if I have a Groupon?
    If you enter the Groupon code(s)from your Groupons exactly but without hyphens, dashes or spaces (numbers only) in the discount code box and click apply the amount due will
    be reduced to 0.00. You will not need to enter a credit card when booking your trail ride unless you don’t have enough Groupons to cover the rides you booked. If you do not click “Apply” or enter an invalid code, the amount will not reduce to 0.00 resulting in your credit card being charged!
    If you don’t show up for your reservation your credit card will be charged for the amount of the trail ride minus the amount you paid for your Groupon. Your Groupons will no longer be valid to book again if you don’t show up for the rides you booked.

    3.3 What if I am not printing out my Groupons?
    We have made updates to our reservation system so you do not need to print out or turn in your Groupons to us anymore! Follow the instructions for redeeming/entering
    your Groupon codes when you make the reservations.

    3.4 What if I wish to cancel a trail ride I booked using Groupons?
    Please see topic 2.6 above for our cancellation policy.

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    4.1 Introduction
    This section covers topics beyond those discussed above.

    4.2 Do you allow for private trail rides?
    Our trail ride groups are small and consist of only 8 to 12 riders. We feel this is a small enough group so riders receive individual attention so we don’t feel the need at the current time to book smaller trail rides.

    4.3 Do you ever “rent” out horses to be ridden?

    4.4 Do you ride in the snow?
    Yes, riding in the snow can be quite beautiful. We are open for trail riding year round.

    4.5 Do you allow riders to gallop?
    Our trail rides are on the slow side. Sometimes a slow trot is acceptable to catch up but we don’t gallop or canter. We also don’t permit riders to hold their horses back so they can run to catch up. This can make it difficult for the next rider on that horse and we don’t wish to have our horses ridden this way. We treat our horses like family and it is difficult for them to have continuously different riders on them. We feel it is best for our horses to trail ride at slow paces. Our trail ride customers enjoy the beautiful scenery, being outdoors and being around horses. We do offer riding lessons in our riding ring for those interested in advancing to a faster gait.

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    License Information

    Cornerstone Ranch has 4 Massachusetts Licensed Riding Instructors on staff. Susan Connell has been a Massachusetts Licensed Riding Instructor since 1987. Cornerstone Ranch is a Massachusetts Licensed Riding Stable.


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    Last Modified: 09/23/10[Back to Top]