Time to Ride: Saddles & Stables tells the story of city girl Amanda who must go to live with her father in the country. While she is sad about leaving her friends, she is consoled by the fact that she gets her very own horse. However, it is her responsible to care for and train the horse.
At the beginning of the game, Amanda's father allows her to choose from among several horses. Afterwards, the game turns into a rather free-form affair. Amanda can explore around the house, go inside her room (where she can sleep or try on different outfits), go to the nearby town of Springdale (where she can interact with other people, shop for more clothes, or shop for other equestrian accessories), and most importantly, tend to her horse in the barn.
Amanda must monitor her horse's statistics. These include speed, behavior, and jumping skill which can be increased by taking the horse out through different training courses. Additional statistics show how hungry the horse is, how badly it needs to be groomed, and how dirty its stable is. These needs all need to be managed manually.
There is also a mystery minigame. Amanda needs to talk to people in Springdale in order to piece together some strange goings-on.