[caption id="attachment_1936" align="alignleft" ]See the world on horseback in Gatlinburg! See the world on horseback in Gatlinburg![/caption]

When you visit Gatlinburg the great outdoors beckons in so many ways: From the breathtaking views from your cabin's deck; as you swoosh through the treetops on a zipline, or as you laugh and scream in delight on a whitewater rafting trip. Another way to embrace Gatlinburg's natural surroundings is on horseback. Within and without Great Smoky Mountains National Park you'll find several riding stables ready to take you on a serene trail ride either alone or as part of a group of friends or family members.

Let's take a look at some of the types of horseback riding trips you can take here in the Smokies. While we won't name any specific stables (to stay impartial) we can give you a flavor for what you can expect and all the fun you can have. Here are the top reasons to go horseback riding in Gatlinburg:

1) Probably the very best thing about going on a trail tour on horseback is that this type of activity is conducted at a relatively slow pace. You will have time to settle in the saddle and enjoy the scenery around you.

2) The trail guides are incredibly knowledgeable not only about the particular trail you are on, but about the history of the area in general. They can tell you about the first settlers in Gatlinburg and about the Native Americans who lived in the region. The stories about colorful characters and also about animals will entertain you on your ride.

3) Another great benefit about horseback riding is that it's an activity that people of most any age and ability can enjoy. Horses are often used in therapeutic situations and people of most every ability level can enjoy time on a horse.

4) You can definitely request a certain type of horse from the stable you book the trip with. In fact this is something that will be a part of your conversation when you call around to schedule your ride. The stables will match you to a particular trail ride and pair you with a horse that fits your skill level. Here's a tip: TripAdvisor reports that the local stables all get very high marks for well-behaved horses which are in excellent condition.

5) You'll have a great time and create lifelong memories. Often at the end of your ride the guides will take your photograph on your steed which makes a fun souvenir to commemorate the day.

6) You can enjoy rides of various lengths depending on your interest or time constraints. Some rides are as short as 45 minutes and others go for up to 2.5 hours. Ask several stables about the time frames for their rides to find the right one for you.

7) Themed rides are popular, especially at nearby farms. Several farms, some of which are hundreds of acres in size, offer intriguing themed rides such as sunset rides and overnight rides that include fun outdoor breakfasts. When you call to book a ride ask if they have any specially themed rides that might appeal to you or your group.

As you can see horseback riding in Gatlinburg is a really fun activity for so many reasons...and there's one last advantage that we need to mention...did you know that you can actually get married on horseback here in Gatlinburg? You surely can! If you're looking for a truly unique wedding idea, ask some of the local wedding planners about it!

Have you gone horseback riding in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!