There’s nothing quite like exploring the great outdoors on horseback, visiting places you wouldn’t otherwise experience while bonding with one of the world’s most intelligent and graceful animals. Several places in New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, offer opportunities to enjoy nature with the company of a horse through trail riding, wilderness pack trips, carriage rides, and more. Trail riding is a great activity for the whole family and usually doesn’t require any previous riding experience.
Here are a few businesses in the area that can get you saddled up!
Miller Horse Farm & Riding Academy
Located just outside Las Cruces in La Union, Miller Horse Farm & Riding Academy offers everything from sunset and daytime trail rides to Ride & Wine Tours. The family-owned and operated business also provides riding lessons, special events, and horse boarding services.
Visitors can choose from trail rides ranging from 30 minutes (geared toward novice riders and young children) to two hours. Trail rides take you through the surrounding desert landscape or nearby farm roads and crop fields. Riders must be age 4 or older and weigh at least 20 pounds.
For the 21-and-up crowd, the Ride & Wine Tours provide a unique adventure. Tour participants receive a commemorative wine glass, bandana, and gift certificate for a bottle of wine. The tours are two to three hours long and take you to and from La Viña Winery, the oldest continually operating winery in New Mexico.
“The ride is beautiful,” said Joy Conard, who runs Miller Horse Farm with her sister. “We go along alfalfa fields, along the vineyards, and then the riders get to spend 30 minutes at La Viña Winery, tasting if they choose to in the booking — they have that option. [The ride] makes you feel like you’re in another country for a minute, with the mountains in the background and the vineyards. It’s such a pleasant experience.”
Acacia Riding Adventures
Farther north is Acacia Riding Adventures (ARA) in San Acacia. Here you will find rides for beginners, River Rides, and Full Moon Rides. The company also offers boarding through its Horse Hotel.
Beginner rides allow children who have never been on a horse to ride with a guide or take charge while riding a safe and gentle horse.
“One of the unique advantages of riding with ARA is the big variety of trails and terrain we have to offer. We customize our adventures for riders of every skill level,” according to the ARA website.
The River Rides are only offered during the warm season and take riders through the Rio Grande. The horses stay in the shallows, so you don’t have to worry about being submerged in water. You should, however, plan on getting a little wet, so bringing dry clothing to change into after the ride is recommended.
Visitors can also opt for a Full Moon Ride. These rides under the stars are offered April through October and depart after sunset during the four days before the full moon and on the night of the full moon.
Family-owned and operated for more than 30 years, Grindstone Stables in Ruidoso offers a wide range of horse-related activities, including horseback rides, sleigh rides, and carriage rides.
Guided trail rides are an hour long and offered for those ages 5 and older. The trail takes riders past Grindstone Lake and up to the top of Townsend Ridge, with plenty of opportunities to see wildlife and capture great photos.
“The views from our trail are breathtaking, looking out over the village and Sierra Blanca,” said Stephanie Kennedy, who owns Grindstone Stables with her husband, Kevin. “Our horses are gentle and fit, and our guides are friendly. Customer service and safety are our priority.”
Covered carriage rides through the shopping district of midtown Ruidoso are offered only in the summer. Horse-drawn sleigh rides go through the historic Upper Canyon and are offered Thanksgiving Day through January 1. Jingle bells are included, and snow is not required. The sleighs are equipped with hidden wheels that roll smoothly on dry or wet pavement.
Red Horse Riding Company
Red Horse Riding Company in Corrales has trail rides, wilderness pack trips, riding lessons, and training for horses and owners. Rachel and Chance Reynolds run Red Horse, and both have extensive experience riding and working with horses. The two-hour trail rides are private and vary depending on riders’ skill and comfort level. The company also offers half-day trail rides, full-day rides, and sunset and moonlight rides.
In addition, Red Horse Riding Company propels the riding experience to the next level with its wilderness pack trips, exposing riders to what they call “a different world.” These wilderness rides can span three to five days and include camping under the stars, eating meals around a campfire, and exploring the wild country.
Red Horse Riding Company staff provides horses and tack, experienced guides, tents, and food and drinks. Participants bring their sleeping bag, a change of clothes, and other personal items.
Another company providing outside-the-box riding opportunities is U-Trail Adventures in Glenwood. Along with Wilderness Pack Trips, they offer hour-long rides and training courses for advanced riders.
U-Trail Adventures offers three different wilderness pack trips: the Gila Wilderness trip takes riders on a five- to seven-day excursion that includes impressive landscapes, Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, and late 1800s settler history in the Gila National Forest; the Blue Wilderness trip takes riders on a five- to seven-day historic and scenic adventure through Southeast Arizona; and the Gila Wilderness Expedition is a six-day trip along the Great Gila Loop.
The hour-long rides take place on the company’s Glenwood Ranch and include running creeks, narrow canyons, and beautiful vistas. These trail rides are suitable for beginners, children, and people with special needs and can be customized for varying skill levels.
Visitors can also choose to vacation at the U-Trail Ranch and ride a different landscape every day.
El Paso Trail Rides
For vast desert views, visit El Paso Trail Rides in El Paso, Texas. The family-owned business has one- to two-hour group rides. Children ages 2 – 4 ride free with a paying adult and children ages 5 – 7 ride solo, led by a guide.
“Our trail-ride business has been family-owned and operated for over 40 years,” said El Paso Trail Rides Manager Isaiah Evans. “Our unique views of the mountains, desert, and orchards are what keep people coming back for more. Along with some of the best trail-riding horses in the business, we can for sure say we are the best in the area.”
El Paso Trail Rides also hosts special events such as birthdays and provides boarding services on a case-by-case basis. One of the business’ unique offerings is the Black Range Horsemanship Camp for children ages 8 – 16. The camp is located five miles south of Winston, New Mexico, on an 8,000-acre ranch. Along with horseback riding, children enrolled in the camp can participate in archery, target shooting, arts and crafts, and dancing.
Story by Alexia Severson
Originally published in Neighbors magazine | 2022
Posted by LasCruces.com