My wife and I stayed recently at the Zapata Ranch and one of the most enjoyable aspects of our visit was the flexible riding program. We've stayed at several other guest ranches and we found a couple of aspects of Zapata's program to be unique in our experience. For one thing, we got a sack lunch every day. The first day we said, "really, you are going to give us a sack lunch?". But having a sack lunch meant that we could extend our ride as long or as short as we wished and not have to be back at the ranch at a set time for lunch. A couple of days we stopped and ate lunch while out riding, one day we choose to just keep riding and eat later - way different from having to be back at 11:30! Another aspect that we enjoyed was riding up with different people instead of nose-to-tail all the time. We amicably visited with other guests and staff during the rides which hasn't always happened at other guest ranches that we've been to. We were also asked every night at dinner what type of ride we'd like to take the next day - usually we responded by describing terrain. We found this to be a nice change from "slow/scenic, trot or canter" rides available at other guest ranches. We were able to choose the gait we wanted while out on the trail rather than preselecting ourselves into a ride constrained by gait. Lastly, while all guest ranches claim that they will swap horses for you if you aren't happy with your mount, that has not always been our experience. Zapata was happy to accommodate my wife's request to switch to another horse after the first day, and follow up to make sure she liked the second horse. All in all, an unusual and enjoyable horse riding program!
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