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“Enjoy our video of horseback riding for beginners!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arizona Horses (Ponderosa Stables and South Mountain Stables)

Arizona Horses (Ponderosa Stables and South Mountain Stables)
10215 S. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85040 (South Mountain)
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Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Glendale, Arizona
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Enjoy our video of horseback riding for beginners!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

There's several companies that offer horseback riding in the Metro Phoenix area, but I chose one which had a good presence on the internet, good reviews and quick to answer on the phone bacaue I reserved the day before we went on April 2, 2013.

I found http://www.arizona-horses.com/ which is actually Pondersa Stables which is based on South Mountain and has been in operation since 1970's. As said in other reviews, the guy Danny who answered my phone call was very easy to talk with, specially to a beginner like me who wanted to bring twin 9 year olds on the trail, haha. They do have pony rides for younger kids, but I opted for the one hour trail ride which would be their easiest trail but still give a good view of the mountains and desert.

They also have two or three hour rides, and they will have a guide that will suit your activity level. They have you sign a "waiver" for injuries (which is standard with this kind of activity) and also it is a way for them to assess which level you are i your horseback riding skills.

We chose the 5 PM slot, but as in other review, the actual trail actually starts a little later because they have to organize all the people who will be riding at the time. The cowboy guides are "guides" and will not be like smiling tourist guides, but real cowboys who really look at how you are on the horses and how the horses are behaving. So, don't expect them to be talking much to you unless you are in a small group. Our group had about 15 people and we were told to be 3 ft away from each other - the kids are at the start of the line and the parents follow after them. So, it was odd that we were too far away from our kids but I still got some pictures of them from the distance.

They also offer dinner steak or breakfast riding tours, but we did not do those yet. The one hour trail was exhilirating and it was fun hanging out at the stable office before we start our trail because you can pet the horses who seem to be used to all the many people they meet each day. Just be careful about standing outside the stable office area, behind the horses..horses might kick and cowboys are keen on making sure you stay in the designated waiting areas.

Overall, a fun experience and a great way to experience the southwest. I made a video of our trip and hope you enjoy this (on youtube):


Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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145 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Columbus, Ohio
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“I enjoyed it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

This was my first time riding and I never felt unsafe or afraid. I had "Puppy", a Belgian draft horse. He was a stubborn one! He wanted to walk slow although the cowboy kept trying to get him to go faster. I didn't mind, though, because it was my first time riding and I didn't want to overdo it. There were children in our group and the horses were mild enough for them ( about 8 or 9 years old). Overall I really enjoyed the ride and the cowboys were very nice!

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arvada, Colorado
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Kind of a mess.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

We had booked our trail ride a month in advance and the morning of our ride we were called and told that we needed to come later, because 2 of the workers didn't show up. So we came later and our 2 hour ride ended up being a very disappointing 45 minute dusty ride. Plus they made us wait another hour before even starting out. I think they were too busy with spring breakers, but Donny the owner should have turned people away instead of taking everyone who walked up without a reservation. This place might be OK during a slower time. Donny did refund us for the hour we didn't get, but the family that paid by paypal wasn't as lucky. Be warned!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
green bay
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“T-Bone Ride”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

My wife and I signed up for the Dusk Dinner Ride on 3/11. When making the reservation we were told to be there no later than 5. We arrived at around 440 and were greated by a friendly cowboy who introduced himself and took care of collecting our money and filling out brief liability paperwork. There were a bunch of horses tied up and ready to go. Then we seemed to sit and sit and sit. I was starting to get disapointed that we wouldn't leave until after it was dark and I really wanted to be able to see the scenery. During this time there was no communication as to when we would get going. A few people continued to filter in well after 5 but finally we were assigned horses and were on our way a bit after 530pm.

Once horses were assigned there were quite a few cowboys who helped everyone get on thier horse and introduced you to your horse by name (although I wonder if they made the names up on the spot as they didn't seem to really know the names). We were then told to fall in line. Almost everyone in our group was beginners so we had no clue how to stear our horses or get them to move. Everyone seemed to have their struggles but were quickly atteneded to by the professional staff. I would HIGHLY recomend THEM giving a brief riding lesson PRIOR to people getting on thier horse. The good news is the horses are obviously well trained and well behaved so even with the lack of any training / guidance they were easy to control and I never felt unsafe.

Our ride consisted of roughly 14 people with a guide at the front (believe Doug who was friendly) and a guide at the back (not sure his name but he wasn't a very friendly fellow). Both guides seemed very knowledgeable on horse riding and the area and quickly attenended to anyones needs that arose during the ride. Riding at dusk was great. The mountainous dessert terrain was beautiful as we trecked to the restaurant. I was very impressed on how the horses performed and actually at times got bored as I wanted to make my horse do more. The scenery was amazing and after about 1.25 hours we arrived at the restaurant.

The resteraunt was in a great location overlooking the city of Phoenix. The country decor was perfect for the journey we were embarking on. Price was a little high but not bad for the value and we both enjoyed our meal. Once everyone had concluded eating it was time to hop back on our horses.

When getting on the horses for our return trip it was pitch black. Once leaving the streets leading to the resteraunt you were off into nature once again. You could here all sorts of animals and we even saw a few coyotes. The veiw of the city lights twinkling in the distance below was pretty however I preffered the sights of the mountains, scrub brush, and cactus you could see during day light.

Upon getting back to the ranch the cowboys got everyone off there horse one by one. It felt odd that after spending 4 hours together there was no "closing presentationt" you simply got off your horse and left.

OVERALL: EXCELLENT VALUE for the money, we really enjoyed our trip and would do it again. the restaurant was good, the scenery was beuatiful, and the horses were very well behaved and trained. The experience could have been improved with a brief Welcome and riding orientation at the beginning and a closing any questions thank you type presentation at the end.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albrightsville, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great Dinner Ride”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

My wife and I went on the dinner ride last Friday evening, everything from the horses, wranglers, dinner, and scenery was way above par. Riding back to the stables after dinner in the dark seeing the city lights was an awesome experience. Can't wait until a return trip to do it all again.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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