I love horseback riding and I have been many places, as well as taking lessons for several years. I have never had such a horrible, negative experience as I did renting a horse at Griffith Park Horse Rentals. It was a DISASTER from beginning to end! DO NOT GIVE THESE PEOPLE YOUR MONEY.
First, when we arrived, the stables smelled AWFUL. It smelled like when you drive by a cow farm and have to roll up the windows from the manure. I have been in many horse stables and they generally smell like musky horse and hay. This place smelled like they hadn't been cleaning it - just leaving the manure on the floor, covering it up with straw, and letting the horses wallow in it. And weirdly, the horses were kept in wire cages - not stalls.
I went with my boyfriend on a Saturday, and when we arrived, the woman who was supposed to be helping us totally ignored us and talked on the phone for like ten minutes, then offhandedly told us to fill out some paperwork before taking our $50 ($25 each) and waving us toward a horse with no discussion whatsoever.
My boyfriend had never been riding before, and they plopped him on a horse without any instruction - not even a brief explanation of how to use the reins! Our guide was a Mexican who barely spoke English, and didn't bother to ask us how much riding experience we'd had. I also soon discovered that he not only didn't know US, he didn't know the HORSES either! I don't think he even knew the horses names, and he DEFINITELY didn't know anything about their personalities.
While EVERY OTHER PLACE I've been to arranges the horses in an order according to the ability of the rider and the horse's personalities, our guide let us ride off in a disorganized group with no clear leader. ALSO, AT MOST PLACES, THE GUIDE RIDES IN FRONT TO SET THE PACE but our guide rode behind us and let the horses go off at their own pace - which happened to be a disturbingly fast trot.
My boyfriends horse turned out to be very aggressive, bolting ahead and trying to shoulder the other horses aside. It was NOT a beginner horse. After a couple of minutes, he complained and the guide, I, and my boyfriend switched horses - the guide ended up riding my boyfriends horse - and I noticed even HE had trouble controlling it! THAT minor disaster was averted - but there was more to come....
The guide rode in the back, and let some random dude at the front and his two kids (who obviously felt comfortable on horses) take off at a fast trot - and the other horses of course sped up to follow them! My poor boyfriend (who's never even ridden at a walk) was bouncing around the saddle hanging on for dear life! The Guide did NOTHING to control our pace or save my poor boyfriend who was terrified and in pain (with good reason)! THIS IS UNSAFE! THERE WERE CHILDREN ON THIS RIDE WITHOUT THEIR PARENTS WHO WERE RIDING AT A FAST TROT WITHOUT ANY INSTRUCTION AND NO CONTROL OF OVER THEIR HORSES! Mind you, we we're also crossing busy roads!!!
Fortunately, I have ridden quite a bit, and I chased after my boyfriend, got in front of him, instructed him to ride behind me, and slowed my horse down to a walk. For the rest of the ride, every time his horse would try to speed up I would use my horse to shoulder him aside and slow him down to a walk. With the guide still MIA, we continued the ride at a safe pace while the rest of the horses bolted off ahead. I could not believe how NEGLECTFUL and UNSAFE the whole situation was.
Please DO NOT GO HERE.
If my boyfriend had gone without me, he might have been seriously injured. Or more likely he would have quit the ride in the middle and walked back. IT WAS THAT BAD.
Cons: Poorly cared for horses, unsafe, chaotic and dangerous.