Take Your Horse on a Winter Luxury Adventure
How often do you think about taking your horse along on a snowy horseback riding vacation? Somehow, sitting by the fire in a luxury cabin, after finishing a gourmet meal, seems more like an experience for the ski slopes than a winter ranch visit.
At Hidden Meadow Ranch, in the White Mountains of Arizona, you’ll find luxury horseback riding vacation accommodations, horses and snow. About a 4-hour-drive from Phoenix, the ranch’s elevation of 8500 ft. practically guarantees a wintry scene, or cool relief during sweltering Arizona summers. The 150- acre property is surrounded by a 5,700-acre wildlife habitat that restricts motorized vehicles. The adjacent Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (two million acres) provides access to 975 miles of trails, enough to keep even the most experienced horseback riding enthusiast happy.
Luxury for Your Horse
A limited number of guest stalls (additional daily charge) are available in the Outfitter Barn so it’s best to make reservations with Hidden Meadow Ranch early. Your horse will luxuriate in a stall with bedded shavings, a twice-daily cleaning and automatic waterers. He’ll be fed alfalfa hay two times a day plus turnout time in the pasture. For your horse to qualify for this luxury horseback riding vacation, you must bring proof of current vaccinations.
Luxury for You
And where will you be staying during your horseback riding vacation? The all-inclusive ranch offers 12 luxury cabins complemented by wood-burning fireplaces, Syrius radio, wireless internet, snacks and soft drinks in the kitchenette. A master bedroom features down comforters and fine linens, while an upstairs loft provides extra sleeping space.
What about the horseback riding? Wranglers guide horseback riding vacation guests on trail rides that run the gamut from novice to advanced, providing an introduction to the scenic beauty of the White Mountains. The ranch also offers a riding arena for riders who would like to brush up on their skills. Did you leave your favorite horse at home? No problem. With 48 horses on the property, you’re sure to find the perfect ride. No room for boots in your luggage? Hidden Meadow Ranch provides loaner boots to those guests who leave their boots at home, a real bonus if you’re traveling by air.
You’ll need those rides to work off the gourmet meals served in the rustically elegant main ranch house. For breakfast, choose from a continental selection or request a made-to-order hot meal. At lunch and dinner order from a menu that includes appetizer, salad, soup, main course and desert selections.
When you’re ready to take a break from equestrian experiences, your personal concierge will arrange other ranch activities for you to experience. From guided snow shoe hikes in the winter to fly fishing in the summer, the list of activities will more than keep you occupied on your horseback riding vacation.
Luxury Riding in the Snow
You don’t have to be an experienced equestrian to enjoy a winter horseback riding vacation at Hidden Meadow Ranch. On my visit, a wrangler worked with me in the arena, assessing my novice abilities. After a short lesson, we headed out on a ride in the snow. Unfortunately, a monster storm had deposited about eight feet of the white stuff, limiting the ride to ranch roads, which had been cleared of snow. Afterwards, I relaxed by the fire in the ranch house as I sipped a cup of decadent hot chocolate. This is one winter horseback riding vacation that I’ll be repeating.
If you go:
Hidden Meadow Ranch
(866) 333-4080 (toll free)
Freelance writer Donna L. Hull writes about active travel for baby boomers at My Itchy Travel Feet