Arizona Riding

I\’ve been fortunate enough to head to Arizona a couple of times this winter. The area we\’ve settled on as a winter getaway and home is roughly east of Cave Creek. It is a horse lover\’s utopia. Regardless of sport, discipline or breed – mild winters, incredible views and national park enveloping on three sides is undeniably perfect for all manner of horse folk.

Unless you are unlucky enough to be genetically disposed with a phobia of snakes, lizards, scorpions, spiders and wild little pigs called javelinas, this is a paradise found, for Canadians fleeing the snow and cold.

When we get together, there is plenty of joking about the weather and the folks back home, which I won\’t repeat, out of respect for the friends and family I still want to be friends and family with, when I return home. But, the truth is we all consider ourselves really blessed to be here.

Down here, Wee gets to rise in the morning and head over to Rio Estancia, an Arabian ranch, where she takes daily lessons on a variety of older and wiser Arabians. It\’s a beautiful facility. Quiet, calm and completely at home in the environment.


This trip she was re-acquainted with her old friend, Colleen, a pretty Arabian schooling horse. Part-bred Arabian, full-time mentor.


Colleen has the patience of a saint, and possesses a set of the kindest eyes I think I\’ve ever seen. Yep, this is the sort of horse I can trust with my child.

Though we have been here a scant seven days and have to head home to winter in less than a few more, I have to appreciate the \”firsts\” this trip has afforded us.


Like riding in the desert. I\’ve ridden in the desert down south, closer to the Mexico border often, but this was my first opportunity to head out right from our home to the park paths, thanks to two friends who were down with horses and staying with us. When they graciously offered up their mounts to us one afternoon, we jumped on and headed out. The National Parks northeast of Phoenix are prime riding areas and I love hanging out in these areas.

Of course, I don\’t have a fear of spiders and snakes, which helps.


There are well designated paths, or washes to head through. It sure beats loping in circles as far as conditioning goes.


Is this the face of a man who is smiling at the thought of his compadres at home working in -30°C weather?

Nah, that thought never even crossed his mind.



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