Horses and Horseback Riding
Horses are Central to Ranch Life
Horseback riding is our primary activity and mode of transportation. From beginner to advanced rider you can spend hours in the comfortable western saddle, riding trusty ranch horses. We want the horseback experiences to be fun for everyone…including the horse.
In these parts, horses are essential to our way of life. We feed’em, groom’em, ride’em and sometimes cuss’em…but we can’t get along without’em!
Experienced, Well Trained Horses
Our horses are very experienced and well trained. They have been exposed to riding in the wild around all types of game and cattle and in all kinds of weather. They are all capable of hard work and can step up when asked. We will teach, or remind you, of basic horse care and behavior so you will understand how to ride safely during your stay at Concho Hills.
Horses to Get the Job Done
Seems like a good horse can read the rider’s mind. They can’t! They are trained. Cowboys, and Cowgirls, need their hands to work while on horseback. From cracking a whip, to throwing a rope, or just opening gates, our hands are busy. Thus, to control the horse while working cattle (while missing rabbit and gopher holes), our horses have been trained to ride “ranch style.”
Riding Horses Ranch Style
“Ranch style” means our horses have been trained to “work off your legs” for steering. They walk, trot, and lope for long distances, and stop immediately when asked. Unlike other riding styles, our horses are normally ridden with loose reins. You will learn why and how this helps the horse.
We have a saying at Concho Hills: “Every time you ride a horse, you train a horse.” So we need to ensure we are all riding the same way.
Therefore, before we go riding out on the range, all of our guests have their saddle fitted and are reminded how to sit the western saddle. We discuss horses, bits and control, and participate in an orientation in the round pen and arena as to how our horses have been trained.
Experience Not Necessary
Don’t ride? Don’t worry! If you’ve a mind to, we have the staff and ability to teach you the basics of western riding and an arena to get you started. Riding is a skill and it takes time, practice, and some getting used to physically. So give yourself some time to be comfortable and safe in the saddle. The goal is to ensure you and your horse can ride safely on the range, which means you must be able to control your horse. Also, some guests have not used the muscles used for riding horses in a long time and can find themselves a little sore. Therefore, we recommend less frequent riders to allow for shorter rides with frequent breaks to “get back in the saddle.”
Ridin’ the Range
Next, you will apply this riding style and your new skill on the range. The technique doesn’t change. The way you ride on the range is the same as how you learned it in the arena. You just have more things to look at and enjoy. Plan for plenty of time during your stay to enjoy, develop, or improve your riding skills and horsemanship.
Step Your Riding up a Notch
You might choose to try your hand at pole bending, barrel patterns, and a little competitive fun. Our staff is always willing to share their knowledge of horses.
Riding is a skill and depending upon what one wishes to do on the horse, from trail riding to working cattle, you will need to acquire the skill level to accomplish the goal. Also, some guests have not used the muscles used for riding horses in a long time and can find themselves a little sore. So we recommend less experienced riders to allow for shorter rides with frequent breaks to “get back in the saddle.”
“It’s all about the horses”……and having FUN!