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Riding at Elkhorn Ranch

Cherry Creek Lodge

As one of the best dude ranches in Arizona, a vacation at Cherry Creek Lodge, located in Tonto National Forest, offers you and your family a unique cowboy experience. From cattle drives and roundups to learning cowboy skills from one of our experienced ranch hands—including western riding techniques, horse care and grooming, use and maintenance of western saddles and tack, and roping—you can experience life on an authentic working dude ranch.

Be a real cowboy for half a day. Driving the cattle says it all. This is fun yet hard work. Work side by side with our experienced ranch hands. Riding, sorting and moving cattle from one pasture or place to another. For experienced riders only.

Circle Z Ranch

Circle Z is known for its excellent horses, many of them ranch raised, and its great variety of trails.  We have 165 miles of trails which run along and through the Sonoita Creek, meander through sand canyons and climb up through our mountains where the scenery is breathtaking.  Riders are assigned a horse for their stay.  The horse (one of over 100 in our string) is chosen to meet the needs of each guest and their riding experience.  Basic instruction is offered, at no charge, from our experienced wranglers.

We offer riding every morning and afternoon, except Sundays.  Whether a novice or experienced in the saddle, the ranch accommodates all guests with a ride to fit their skill level and preference.  Guests can join a one hour ride or a regular two hour ride; a slow ride is for those who want to walk, a medium ride includes loping in appropriate places.
Trailer rides, saloon rides into town, lunch and breakfast rides, team penning, games on horseback are regular events at Circle Z.  Children must be 6 years old to ride.  They ride with other children with wranglers assigned to work and ride with children.  Younger children can have a ride in the corral area on our pony, Chiquita.

Elkhorn Ranch

Western style horseback riding at Elkhorn Ranch will enable you to experience gentle or loping rides through the desert and more vigorous trips up into the Baboquivari Mountains including all day ventures with sandwiches or a mule-packed hot lunch. The ranchs ten thousand acres provide plenty of remote canyons and mountain country to explore, a true wilderness experience. With six guides, small riding groups are arranged carefully each day so that you may have the length and pace of ride you desire. Beginning riders of all ages have the chance to build skills and confidence while more experienced riders can find challenge and stimulation. Riding instruction takes place on the trail as needed or upon request. Kids must be 6 or older to ride and there is a 250 pound weight limit for all riders. The right horse and saddle remain yours throughout your visit. Sunday is the horses day off.

Horses have been raised and trained here for years and we pride ourselves on having the variety that makes for fun and safety. The Elkhorn Ranch herd of around 120 saddle horses, breeding stock and colts graze in large pastures surrounding the ranch headquarters. They are raised here or brought to the ranch as young horses. Elkhorn breeds Percheron – Thoroughbred – Quarter Horse cross horses. Draft cross horses were bred in the early 1900s for the US Cavalry Remount Program. Today this cross is often used for show-jumping and three day eventing, and riding at Elkhorn Ranch! They have a sound mind and good strong bones combined with athletic ability. Horses raised at the ranch are born in the early summer the old fashioned way with their dams as the sole attendants. They are weaned and halter broken at about 6 months of age and turned out in Elkhorns desert and mountainous country for a few years. Their first training occurs at age two a few weeks of ground work and very light riding in the round corral. As three year olds, they venture out into open country but still no work. As four year olds they begin several years of higher education as summer work and guide horses. An Elkhorn saddle horse is ready for guests when physically and mentally mature, with several years of experience living and traveling through the rough country of the Baboquivari Mountains. We take our time getting our horses to that point and they reward our guests with many years of companionship.

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch

Life at the Kay El Bar centers around our horses and riding program, and a well-trained string of horses for every experience level- beginner, intermediate and advanced. Our wranglers select a horse for each rider based on his or her experience. Before breakfast riders can come down to the corral and groom their horse if they’d like. During orientation, the staff will go over western riding techniques and explain safety precautions with the group. We’ll provide boots and hats if you haven’t brought your own. It is suggested you wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and sunscreen.

There are a few restrictions for potential riders; trail riding starts with children 7 years and older, and riders must weigh less than 240 pounds.  If you have any questions feel free to contact the ranch office. The morning ride departs at about 9 a.m., and the afternoon ride at about 2 p.m. All-day rides are available by request. Rides go out twice daily except Sunday and holidays, when the horses have the afternoon off. On Sundays riders have a light breakfast before hitting the trail and enjoy a cowboy cookout style brunch in the desert before their return. Guests who are checking out are welcome to join us for the morning ride and stay for lunch. Horseback riding begins the morning after check in. Favorable weather, varied terrain, and spectacular scenery make Kay El Bar ideal for some of the finest horseback riding anywhere. Riding is done on endless trails through federal lands adjoining the ranch. Riders may canter or trot through the wash of the Hassaymapa River beneath sheer canyon walls or climb rocky ridges for spectacular mountain views. In addition to the stunning landscape, you may also spot some of the local wildlife. Keep a lookout for the desert tortoise, jackrabbit, or banded gecko. You may even catch a glimpse of a coyote or the poisonous but sluggish Gila monster.

Cattle Penning

Cattle Penning, also known as Team Penning, evolved from the common ranch work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring or transport. In this activity (additional fee), groups divide into teams and work together to separate and move specifically identified cattle from the herd to another area of the arena. This is a popular sport for riders wanting to test their equestrian skills with cattle, with family teams, (children ages 7 and up) and group vacationers; it requires coordination with your horse and with your teammates. There is a separate charge for this activity.

Rancho de la Osa

Whether you’re an experienced rider or have never ridden before, we have a horse for you. Our wranglers will match you with a horse appropriate to your experience level and lead you on scenic rides through sandy washes, over rocky terrain, past incredible rock formations and across high desert grasslands. You’ll ride along the U.S.-Mexico Border and on trails once frequented by U.S. Presidents, movie stars and other historic figures.

We are surrounded by nearly 120,000 acres of the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge. Riding in the refuge allows the opportunity to ride side by side and explore the lush grassland with stunning views of Baboquivari Peak that reaches over 7,700 feet in elevation and is sacred to the neighboring Tohono O’odham Nation.

After a quick test to check your ability to control your horse, you can join us on a fast ride where you’ll be able to trot and lope through washes and where the terrain allows.

If you are hoping to advance your riding skills, we provide lessons in the arena.

Our herd of Criollo cattle, a breed historically significant to Southwest, offer the opportunity to learn to work and sort cattle in our arena or cutting pen. You can also practice techniques on our mechanical flag, which simulates working a real cow.

Walking rides are available to children 5 years and older. Fast rides that incorporate trotting and loping are available to children 8 years and older and require all riders to pass our fast ride test.

trail Riding Circle Z Ranch

Rancho de los Caballeros

As one of the best dude ranches in Arizona, a vacation at Cherry Creek Lodge, located in Tonto National Forest, offers you and your family a unique cowboy experience. From cattle drives and roundups to learning cowboy skills from one of our experienced ranch hands—including western riding techniques, horse care and grooming, use and maintenance of western saddles and tack, and roping—you can experience life on an authentic working dude ranch.

Be a real cowboy for half a day. Driving the cattle says it all. This is fun yet hard work. Work side by side with our experienced ranch hands. Riding, sorting and moving cattle from one pasture or place to another. For experienced riders only.

Sprucedale Guest Ranch

Sprucedale sits at an elevation of 7,800 ft and is surrounded by the Apache-Sitgraves National Forest. Our trail rides will take you atop stunning peaks and through scenic pine forests, grassy mountain meadows, and gorgeous canyon rivers. We take great pride in our horse string that we have raised and cultivated for over 74 years.

Our rides are not only breathtakingly beautiful but are also a great combination of trail ride and horsemanship clinic. Our goal is to help you feel absolutely comfortable making your horse perform and adventure through the beauty around you. You can relax on the trail drinking in this mountain paradise, or chose to experience the horse games and activities that the head wrangler will offer you. Lets just say, you will have a great opportunity to advance your riding skills!

We love horses and cant get enough of them! Our morning rides include adult rides, teen rides, kid rides, or family rides. We are a family ranch and can custom fit your ride to what you want. The afternoon rides can also be family rides, but most often are Advancing Rides. Advancing Rides are where we focus even more on helping you develop your horsemanship. You can chose whether you want a relaxing ride, or enjoy the phenomenal scenery on our advanced terrain rides or enjoy a loping practice in the beautiful meadows that surround Sprucedale.

Our rides through the week build upon each other with a crescendo on Thursday and Friday. Thursday is our ultimate Black River Ride. The adventure starts as we pack up the pack horse with our lunches and gear. We then begin to carve our way down the Black River Canyon to our Sprucedale Swimming Hole. Some will enjoy the Beauty of Black River while some will be climbing the canyon walls to jump into the cool mountain water. Friday is a morning ride, followed by an interactive rodeo for all guests (especially a favorite for our young cowboys and cowgirls). Our grand finally on Friday afternoon is when the more adventurous Cowboys and Cowgirls compete in our extraordinary Sprucedale horse games they are out of this world!

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

At Stagecoach Trails, the riding program is tailored to each rider. First of all, they do their best to make sure you are matched up with the appropriate horse.  Secondly, they want you to be able to go on the type of ride you like. If you prefer a shorter, slower walking ride or if you would like to go on a more advanced trotting and/or trotting and loping ride, they will be happy to accommodate you.

The novice rider can enjoy a slow, scenic ride twice daily for about 1 hour or so. The intermediate rider can enjoy both slow scenic rides, as well as a walk, trot, and loping rides lasting 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  The experienced rider can not only enjoy the slow, scenic rides and/or trotting but we also offer more challenging mountain rides and faster paced loping rides (advance riders only). They also offer a 3-4 hour lunch ride (A bag lunch is provided for these rides), and a 2 hour “cactus ride”. Your riding ability will determine if you can enjoy some of these longer rides. There is a minimum 4 night stay required to be eligible for the longer rides. For disabled riders, young riders ages 5 and under and anyone else who is nervous or unable to go out on the actual trails but still wants the horseback riding experience, they offer supervised rides in an enclosed arena or around the perimeter of the ranch.

Children that are ages 6 or 7 years old MAY (up to the discretion of the staff) be able to ride on the trails while being “ponied” by one of the wranglers. This means that the lead wrangler will tie a long lead rope from the child’s horse and hold onto that rope for the entire ride to insure that the horse will not run-off or become uncontrollable for the child. For children 5 and under they do offer a short, slow walking ride with side walkers around the ranch. This gives the kids a wonderful riding experience outside of the smaller, restricted arena.

Tanque Verde Ranch

Seek adventure. Explore the desert. Enjoy the beauty of your natural surroundings. There’s nothing quite like horseback riding in Arizona, and sixty-thousand acres of pristine desert landscape await to be discovered at Tanque Verde Ranch. Saddle up on one of the Ranchs 180 horses and ride out into the Old West. Experienced wranglers and guides are available to give their expert instruction and lead you on a scenic journey through the desert mountain trails of Arizona.

Tombstone Monument Ranch

Ride on history.
At Tombstone Monument Ranch we have a riding program to suit all levels of riders. We offer scenic walking rides that explore the dramatic scenery that surrounds the ranch, adventurous fast rides with walking, trotting and loping through our historic terrain. We also offer a half day ride around The Dome mountain. This ride boasts panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, For guests who really want to experience the cowboy way of life we have an All Day ride to the ghost town of Fairbank. Fairbank once was the closest railroad stop to Tombstone, where all the supplies for the towns silver mines were delivered.

Other specialty rides include a ride to Tombstone town, ride through old ranches and washes and hitch your horse in a bull riding arena before moseying into town. We also have a cowboy cookout ride and a beer and Doritos ride and a Tequila sunset ride. The ranch is surrounded by spectacular scenery coupled with a never-ending history of famous cowboys, Apache Indians, and silver mining.

Walk where they walked, ride where they rode, and do it all in style.

White Stallion Ranch

What better way to experience the beauty of Arizona??s Sonoran desert than from the back of the horse.

At White Stallion Ranch we have horses to suit everyone from those who have never seen a horse before to the experienced horse owner. Our horses are our way of life and we try very hard to match horse to rider. Our 6 day riding program is second to none, we offer everything from slow scenic rides, to more adventurous fast rides, mountain rides, half day and all day rides. We also have a Wine and Cheese ride (seasonal) and a beer and cheetos ride. Our number one event is our Team Cattle Penning. In groups of 4 guests ride into a herd of cattle in our arena and working as team, sort and herd 3 into a pen. We also have a weekly Haywagon ride. The Wagon is pulled the old fashioned way by a team of draft horses. For guests who want to improve their riding skills we also have daily lessons with our wranglers, typically groups of 4. This is the only part of our program that is an extra charge.

We ask new guests to start with a slow, scenic ride so they can get to know their horse, our wranglers and our amazing desert. Children have to be 5 to ride a horse and 8 to ride on any fast ride activity or up a mountain. Sunday is a day of rest for our horses.

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