Texas and horses are an obvious match. But there’s so much more to do in DFW than simply ride around on a trail (though that’s definitely an option, and often you don’t even have to get out of the city to do it!). From polo clubs to racetracks, North Texas has plenty of equine options.
Polo is rumored to have made its American debut in Texas (Denison and Boerne, specifically). The popular sport has been growing steadily since its modern introduction in the 1800s, and in the early 1970s restaurant impresario Norman Brinker brought “the sport of kings” to Dallas by opening Willow Bend Polo and Hunt Club (the club still exists, but the polo grounds are now gone). Today there are several clubs and teams in North Texas dedicated to the game.
Prestonwood Polo & Country Club, located just north of Dallas between Frisco and Denton, is home to the Central USA Interscholastic High School Champions—three years running. Besides offering adult and youth lessons, the club also hosts a regular Saturday polo match where spectators are encouraged to either cheer from the boxes (exquisite catered food is available) or set up a tailgate picnic on the side of the field.
There are multiple charity and foundation tournaments throughout the year, always with the chance for spectators to act out any “Pretty Woman” fantasies by stomping the divots. Watch parties for the Kentucky Derby are also a popular yearly event (start getting your hats ready now). President Vaughn Miller has made Prestonwood the home field and training location for the Texas Christian University Intercollegiate Polo Team.
LoneStar Park in Grand Prairie isn’t just a place to watch the ponies. The entertainment destination is open year-round in one form or another, anchored by live racing that’s divided into the spring thoroughbred season and the fall Meeting of Champions, both of which race on the seven-furlong turf track while up to 8,000 spectators look on.
Live simulcasts in the Bar & Book, DFW’s only wagering sports bar, draw in serious fans, while penthouse suites can be rented nightly during live races. When the horses are done competing, Lone Star Park turns into a music venue. Top acts such as Pat Green, Eli Young Band, Gary Allan, Josh Abbott Band, Stoney LaRue and Chris Young have stormed the stage, and the cost to see these concerts is just $5 if you enter before 8 pm.
Spur yourself to go horseback riding while you’re in Texas, whether you’re an experienced equestrian or a first-timer. Fort Worth Stockyards Stables marries Old West excitement with a modern landscape, as many of the trail rides alongside the Trinity River sport a view of the downtown Fort Worth skyline in the background.
Marshall Creek Ranch takes you deep into the woods of Southlake and around Lake Grapevine, giving riders a rustic peek at what real cowboys might have experienced.
Bryn Melyn Farm in Burleson concentrates more on lessons than trail rides, but eager students can learn dressage, eventing and hunting/jumping techniques at surprisingly reasonable prices.