Stable at Lord Stirling Park Restores Guided Trail Rides, More Equestrian Services
SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Park Commission and Board of County Commissioners are pleased to announce the restoration of staff-guided trail rides at the Stable at Lord Stirling Park in Basking Ridge, NJ, following the acquisition of six new horses. The return of Park Commission owned horses is part of the two-year effort during COVID to restore the Stable to self-sufficiency while expanding access to and awareness of the County’s equestrian programming for all residents.
“I am thrilled to be here today to celebrate the continued expansion of equestrian programming at the Stable at Lord Stirling Park, and to look forward to even more programming in the future,” said Somerset County Commissioner Paul Drake, liaison to the Park Commission. “The Stable has been a hidden jewel of Somerset County’s Park system for decades, and we are all committed to ensuring all our residents and visitors not only know about it but can enjoy it with families and friends.”
Guided trail rides help riders with limited experience on horses experience the joy of trail rides in groups of two or three in a safe, secure environment with professionals leading the way. This program is currently being offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. and will expand to Sundays at 11:30 a.m. beginning in March. Pre-registration with a $40 fee is required, and riders must be at least nine years of age, five feet or taller, and weigh 190 lbs. or less. Those under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Somerset County Park Commission and Board of Commission members joined the staff and trail horses for the ribbon cutting at the Stable at Lord Stirling Park. County-owned horses and guided trail rides have returned following the COVID hiatus. Photo Credit: Somerset County
“The Park Commission is absolutely excited to be back in the business of offering equine programming at the Stable at Lord Stirling Park,” said Park Commission President D.J. Hunsinger. “We are grateful that the County Commissioners have made a serious financial commitment to expand the facilities at Lord Stirling Park and reinvigorate the equestrian component for County residents.”
Additional current programming at the Stable includes twenty-minute lead line pony rides seven days a week for children, Sunday dog walks, half-hour equestrian grooming lessons with ponies, room rentals for meetings and events, and private trail access for residents who have their own horses. More information and registration for all current services are available at somersetcountyparks.org/stable-lord-stirling-park.
Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson rode Olympus, one of the six new horses acquired by the Park Commission for guided trail rides at the Stable at Lord Stirling Park. Photo Credit: Somerset County
At their February 14, 2023, meeting the Somerset County Board of Commissioners approved a $1 million American Rescue Plan grant to provide equestrian therapy services at the Stable. These services are expected to begin later in 2023 to address the growing need for therapeutic services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In September of 2022 the Park Commission’s Lord Stirling Stable Advisory Group (LSSAG) and County planning professionals presented a new vision for Lord Stirling Park that included restored Stable programming and extensive new trails and facilities. The comprehensive proposals will reopen the stable, expand facilities, and connect existing resources in support of the County’s “parks for all” goals while supporting environmental and historic sites tourism.
Lord Stirling Park consists of 1,015 acres of beautiful parkland, natural waterways and open space in the northern area of Somerset County that is home to the Stable, the Environmental Education Center, and the Revolutionary War-era Boudinot Southard Farmstead. These resources have previously been operated independently of each other, and the plan proposes to connect them with expanded trails and paths, integrated programming, and newly developed community event spaces along Lord Stirling Road and at the Boudinot Southard Farmstead.
Somerset County Deputy Director Doug Singleterry (r) went on a trail ride with Cupid, one of the six new horses acquired by the Park Commission for guided trail rides at the Stable at Lord Stirling Park. Photo Credit: Somerset County
Commissioner Sara Sooy (l), who grew up riding at the Stable at Lord Stirling Park, worked hard to restore equestrian services for Somerset County residents, and had a great time on her trail ride with Olympus. Photo Credit: Somerset County