Who likes to ride in the snow? Okay, maybe occasionally… but most of us throw feed to our horses and check for large areas of red (bleeding!) in the winter, and wait not-so-patiently for warmer weather. At least I do… However, this is the last year my guys get to loaf over the winter. Next year, Alan and I will spend from November to April in the much warmer climate of Arizona. We recently returned from a 48 hour, 760-mile whirlwind exploration of winter horse camping options in Arizona. Let me tell you about the places we visited…
We flew into Phoenix after getting up before the rooster even cracked an eye open. After picking up our rental car, we were on the road early. Our first stop was Florence. We had considered checking out Kings Stable in Apache Junction, but they have a two-dog limit. That excluded us. So our first stop was a brand new, still-under-construction horse facility called Ride Out Ranch. We met with Brett, but his son Max is usually the one to respond to inquiries. There is a beautiful clubhouse that is completed. However, the 14 campsites are not in yet. There were several “tiny houses” which were basically a bedroom. There was plenty of riding available directly from camp, as well as numerous destinations for day trips. Their rates were among the highest we encountered, but it will be a nice place to stay. They are taking reservations for this fall.
The second place we visited in Florence was Gotno Guest Ranch. Deb was very personable. The campground was full and most guests return every year. They have 11 RV sites with a mixture of 30 and 50 amp sites. They were about $150 cheaper per month than Ride Out Ranch for an RV spot plus 2 horses. Again, there was plenty of riding available directly from camp. The problem we had here was that it would be April or May before Deb knew what, if any, spots would be available. There was no guarantee of a spot at all, much less a 50 amp hookup. Nevertheless, we liked this place.
Our third stop on Day One was at Lazy Horse Ranch. Ann and Charles Supplee are the owners. We didn’t get a chance to meet Charles, but we had a great conversation with Ann. Additionally, we met a gal who was staying there for her second winter. We three ladies had a great time discussing our mutual membership in the Aging Horsewomen Facebook Group! Lazy Horse Ranch has 5 hookup sites with water, electric and sewer, and one with just water and electric. All of the folks that were there during our visit were in LQ horse trailers. We will have a 5th wheel and would need (or at least desire) 50 amp service. They have one 50 amp spot. Dry camping is also an option, with guests having access to all camp amenities.
This facility is nestled between two mountainous areas with some incredibly beautiful places to ride… at least according to Ann and the other gal. Some places are a quick trailer ride away. However, there is ample riding directly from the ranch, although it is mostly flat.
The horse accommodations include 16 pens that are 24 by 24. They are not covered. An arena and roundpen are available for guests to use as well. Also, there are two pastures available for turnouts if needed.
Lazy Horse Ranch has a lounge and a swimming pool! They offer Bed & Breakfast options as well. Ann told us that several of their camping guests had grandkids or friends coming to join them for a few days. The guests’ guests would be staying in the B & B rooms in the house, with their accommodations including a full breakfast!
Of the five places we visited, this was our favorite. We have made arrangments to reside there next winter. We researched several other options in the vicinity of these three camps but ruled them out for one reason or another.
Next week I will tell you about the last two places we checked out on Day Two.