Southeast of Sarasota and east of Venice, the 6,439 acre Deer Prairie Creek Preserve has a diverse 22 mile equestrian trail system winding through pine flatwoods, prairie hammock and seasonal wetlands. There are two designated equestrian loop trails. The short loop is 6 miles and the long loop is 9.4 miles.
The Deer Prairie Creek Preserve is managed by both Sarasota County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
There are two main entrances for Deer Prairie Creek Preserve but the north entrance is designed for equestrian usage. The north entrance is located at 7001 Forbes Trail in Venice and has room for 5 horse trailers. It can be reached by exiting to the north from I-75 at Exit 193, following Jacaranda Boulevard to the north to Border Road, proceeding east on Border Road to South Moon Drive, proceeding south on South Moon Drive until it intersects Forbes Trail and proceeding east on Forbes Trail.
Note: All equestrian users are required to register prior to heading out with the Sarasota County Natural Resources office and provide an annual negative Coggins test for each horse. After registration, you will be given the combination for the entrance gate lock which is regularly changed (941) 861-5000.
Overall, Deer Prairie Creek Preserve is the 29th most popular horse trail of all 34 horseback rides in Florida.