Acres of green fields, lots and lots of trees and horses grazing peacefully. Sigh. How we’d love our kids to take a break from the city to spend time with Mother Nature – but we have to wait for trips abroad to do so right? Wrong. Sassy Mama has the perfect recommendation for outdoor escapades at Desert Palm, a green gem of an oasis nestled between the busy Hatta and Emirates Roads, where, in the cooler months, your little ones can ride horses, roll down grassy hills, climb trees and simply be kids.
The Desert Palm Riding School – set just next to the very gorgeous boutique hotel and residences – offers pony rides for all ages. Operating every day (except Friday) from 8am to 11am and again from 3pm to 6pm, kids can enjoy a hand-led 10 minute ride down a tree lined track for only AED 20, even if they have never sat in a saddle before. Twenty minute rides are an additional AED 20 and take your budding riders on a loop of the polo field or on a weaving trail through the estate.
On arrival, kids are shown to a box full of riding hats for all sizes (for the very safety conscious among us there are also back protectors) and then there is usually a little wait before the ponies are led into the yard and assigned to each of their mini-riders but the littlies are happy pottering about and love watching the horses come and go or marvel at the riders in the sand schools. Ours usually make a beeline for the broom and help ‘sweep’ straw and muck (they’re never this eager to clean-up at home!) or befriend one of the many cats loafing in the sunshine. Mamas can accompany kids on the ride or leave them in very safe hands – I usually choose to walk along, baby safely strapped in a sling, enjoying the gorgeous views, the greenery – and the silence! The ponies are extremely well mannered (even if the kids are not), my two year old decided that he preferred to face backwards and enact a cowboy sequence but his trusty steed and very smiley stable hand, thankfully, didn’t seem to mind a bit.
A collection of rust coloured Spanish style buildings covered in Bougainvillea, The Desert Palm Riding School is friendly and un-intimidating. A deli style café is set to open on site promising lattes and homemade treats overlooking the stables and schooling area but our favourite thing to do is pack a picnic and enjoy a fresh air feast under the shade of palm trees at the foot of a hill that just has to be rolled down or raced up. The kids climb fallen logs, meet dogs on their walks, dig in the sand and get stuck into good old fashioned horseplay – what could be better?! Go as a group and let your little ones run wild, they’ll be so enthralled that you may even find yourself having a real conversation with another mama.
Ponies and picnics at Desert Palm guarantee an enchanting afternoon of pure childhood adventures – and sunsets over the surrounding dunes coupled with the smiles on exhausted little faces are just the icing on the cake. You heard it here first mama, straight from the horses mouth.
Desert Palm Riding School
Al Awir Road (just after Dragonmart)
Tel: (+971) (0) 4 3238010