Thursday, January 7, 2016

Palm Springs Trail Rides

Next week we're going to visit family in Palm Springs and, while we're there, I want to pay for a guided horseback ride to better experience the desert and get some WARM saddle time.

I have mixed feelings about renting horses.  I've only done it twice in my life, and both times it seemed like the horses were pretty robotic.

The last time we did it was summer 2002 on the Oregon coast.  We rode along a trail down to the beach, and then they let everyone canter their horses on the sand.  It was fine, but I didn't feel like I had any real control of (or better yet, connection with) my horse.  The string had done the ride so many times, they knew exactly what was expected of them.  (Which is a GREAT example of how trainable and how smart horses really are.)

I called down to make reservations at Smoke Tree Stables because they have some of the best reviews and have been in business since 1927.  Depending on whether or not it is too wet, from the rains they've been getting lately, we should be able to do a 3 hour private guided ride with them.  If it works out, we'll have to trailer the horses out because the land around them is too wet.

Here are some pictures of their rides:

I was talking to my friend the other day and she said she doesn't like guided/rental rides.  I understand, because I didn't either, but what better way to experience a region than on horseback??

What are your experiences with renting horse time?  Do you have any suggestions for me?

I must say, I'm looking forward to it.

Here are some other options, a little further out:

Coyote Ridge Stable: You can rent a one bedroom house on the property for $150/night.  They advertise that their horses are well trained, but retain their personalities.

There's also Crazy Horse Ranch.  Here's a link to a newspaper article about them. They also have good reviews.


  1. I agree with you that there is no better way to see an area than on horseback. I also agree with your characterization of the typical string horse. We've had memorable rides, on rental horses, in Death Valley, the Great Tetons, Mendocino and outside of Zion. We go to a guest ranch, that runs cattle, every year and love their horses (well trained but retaining their personalities). Let us know how your ride in Palm Springs goes.

    1. Wow, you've done quite a few, Annette. I think I'm going to start making it part of every trip we take. It hit me when we were at Lake Louise. I hadn't thought ahead that time, so I missed out, but never again.

  2. It's worth a shot because it would be an awesome way to see the desert, and get some sun! :) (totally jealous) We've only rented horses once ever. But it was from a real working ranch in Sisters, Oregon. It's no longer there but was High Cascades Ranch, and the horses were awesome! I still remember both of them fondly. Hubby rode a big bay gelding named George. And he was well-mannered and pretty unflappable. I rode Rockette and boy howdy, was she ever a blast to ride! Beyond a doubt, the fastest walking horse I've ever ridden, a pretty little Bay QH that I would have given a pretty penny to have had in my barn. Apparently, she was the trail boss's favorite mount, and I can see why. Ours was just the guide and us and we rode for 8 hours - which proved to be too long. The next day I was sooooo sore! Not my butt either, but both sides of my waist muscles...OMG! I didn't even know I had muscles there, but apparently because of all the side to side movement of my hips because of little hot feet, anyway it was worth it. We rode to the mouth of the Metolius, and then across country, up in the mountains and back down by way of Black Butte, saw some gorgeous country, had lunch and I'd do it again. If one of those is a real ranch, I'd pick that one. Oh, and that little mare could run too!!! I only wish I had a horse who was so well trained, quick, agile and responsive as little Rockette was. Hope you have a blast and I hope your nose peels. Sorry, kidding. That was my evil twin speaking...

    1. :) I'll be hoping for my own Rockette! That's pretty encouraging to read. And, I wouldn't mind a little nose peel, lol evil twin, it probably beats shivering with my current head cold. I just hope it doesn't rain too hard before we get there and ruin our chances of riding.

  3. I think you can't go wrong with a guided tour of the desert with some warm sun! What a great way to see everything. Hope the horses are well trained and retain their own personalities. I've only been on a few rides, one in Vermont and one in upstate New York. The scenery was pretty but the horses were nose to tail and you couldn't make them do anything but follow the horse in front of them at a walk. Not a lot of fun but still nice to be on horseback on the trails. Have a great time!


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.