Exploring Aiken, SC: A Horseback Riding Tour of Historic Equestrian Events

Aiken, South Carolina is a charming southern city known for its rich equestrian history and culture. Located in the heart of horse country, Aiken has been a popular destination for equestrian enthusiasts for over a century. From world-renowned equestrian events to scenic horseback riding tours, Aiken offers something for every horse lover.

The Equestrian Scene in Aiken

Aiken has a long-standing tradition of equestrian excellence. The city is home to some of the most prestigious equestrian events in the country, including the Aiken Horse Show, the Aiken Trials, and the Aiken Steeplechase.

These events attract top riders and horses from around the world and are a must-see for any equestrian enthusiast. But it's not just about the events in Aiken. The city is also home to numerous equestrian facilities, including training centers, boarding stables, and riding schools. Whether you're a seasoned rider or just starting out, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the equestrian community in Aiken.

A Horseback Riding Tour of Historic Sites

One unique way to experience the equestrian history of Aiken is through a horseback riding tour of historic sites. This tour takes you on a journey through time as you ride through some of the most significant equestrian landmarks in the city. The tour begins at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, where you can learn about the history of horse racing in Aiken and see artifacts from some of the most famous horses and riders in the sport.

From there, you'll ride through the historic Hitchcock Woods, a 2,100-acre forest that has been preserved for equestrian use since the 1800s. Next, you'll make your way to the Aiken Training Track, a one-mile dirt track that has been in operation since 1942. This track has been the training ground for many champion racehorses and is still used today for training and racing. You'll also pass by the Aiken Polo Club, one of the oldest polo clubs in the country. The tour continues to the Aiken Steeplechase Course, where you can see the jumps and obstacles used in the annual Aiken Steeplechase race. This race has been a staple of Aiken's equestrian scene since 1930 and is a thrilling event to watch. Finally, you'll end your tour at Hopelands Gardens, a beautiful park that was once the winter home of Thomas Hitchcock, one of Aiken's most influential equestrians. The gardens are now open to the public and offer a peaceful setting for a leisurely ride.

Booking Your Horseback Riding Tour

The horseback riding tour of historic sites in Aiken is offered by several local equestrian companies.

These tours typically last around two hours and are suitable for riders of all levels. The cost varies depending on the company and the length of the tour, but it's well worth it for the unique experience. It's important to note that these tours are not just about riding horses. They also provide valuable insight into the history and culture of Aiken's equestrian community. You'll learn about the city's most influential equestrians and their impact on the sport.

Other Equestrian Events in Aiken

In addition to the horseback riding tour of historic sites, there are plenty of other equestrian events to enjoy in Aiken.

The Aiken Horse Show, held every spring, is a multi-day event that showcases some of the best horses and riders in the country. The Aiken Trials, a series of horse races held in March, is another popular event for equestrian enthusiasts. If you're interested in learning more about the sport of polo, be sure to check out the Aiken Polo Club's matches, held every Sunday during the spring and fall. For a unique equestrian experience, attend the Blessing of the Hounds at the Aiken Hounds Hunt Club, where you can witness a traditional fox hunt.


Aiken, SC is a must-visit destination for any equestrian enthusiast. From its rich history and culture to its world-renowned equestrian events, there's no shortage of things to see and do in this charming southern city.

For a truly unique experience, be sure to book a horseback riding tour of historic sites to get an up-close look at Aiken's equestrian past.

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