Esperanza Riding Company in West Tisbury opens for the season


Equestrian Elizabeth Buyrn grew up in Virginia horse country. Riding and showing from a young age, her love of horses has now translated into a new business on Martha’s Vineyard, designed to introduce her love of horses to new riders.

Ms. Buyrn is the owner of Esperanza Riding Company (ERC), a horseback riding company located off Middle Road in West Tisbury that specializes in trail rides that cater to people of all ages and skill sets. Alongside colleagues and long-time friends Krissy Jones and Caitlin Cullen, she opened ERC’s stable doors for its second consecutive season.

Ms. Buyrn leases the Middle Road Barn, a custom built riding facility owned by Carol and Jerome Kenney. Occupying 27 manicured acres that abut miles of trails, the tours cross rolling meadows and old stone walls that are unique to the area.

“I have a desire to open people’s eyes,” Ms. Buyrn said. “The best way to see anywhere is from the back of a horse. You’re moving at a slower pace, so you can soak up your surroundings so effectively. You have a relationship with it, and you’re sharing the experience with someone.”

Ms. Buyrn, who began riding and showing Arabian horses when she was 10, started her trail riding business in Vieques, Puerto Rico, in 2007, where she lives in the winter months. Following a trip to Martha’s Vineyard one summer, she saw an opportunity to expand her business horizons.

“When I came up here I was immediately drawn to the local aspect,” Ms. Buyrn said. “From the horticulture and farming to the importance of community, it felt very familiar.”

Born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Ms. Buyrn wanted to capitalize on that sense of familiarity by expanding her business. “I never saw a person on horseback on any of the lovely trails here,” Ms. Buyrn said. “So I saw it as an opportunity. It’s fun, it’s my passion, and I felt like the Vineyard needed another style of riding.”

ERC hosts a herd of 10 Paso Fino horses — a Spanish breed known for their natural four-beat ambling gait (horse-speak for smooth and steady walking) that make them well suited for trail riding, in addition to a retired quarterhorse named J.J.

Ms. Buyrn refers to all of the horses as her kids. “They each have such a distinct character and personality,” she said.

Pony Rides & Private Lessons

The scenic two-hour trail rides set off twice daily, at 9 am and 4 pm at $90 per ride, by reservation only. In addition to trail rides, ERC also offers pony rides that cost an average of $20, and private lessons. Prices are commensurate with the rider’s age and skill level.

For the second consecutive summer ERC will also host an Equine Adventure Elective for YMCA kids. The eight-week program will focus on teaching kids how to interact as well as lead and care for horses. “Not everyone can afford riding lessons, and I thought it’d be a nice way to introduce kids to them,” Ms. Buyrn said.

“I take pride in what I do, and I’m very specific about how I do things,” Ms. Buyrn said. “I feel good about the background that I come from, and safety is a huge concern of mine.”

For more information about ERC, call 508-939-1001.