Tanque Verde Ranch
I was put in charge of planning a trip for The Feline and I.
I wasn’t exactly sure what the right plan was but I guessed (correctly) that renting a bike somewhere hot and riding 500 miles a day wasn’t quite what she had in mind, so I tried to think outside the saddle. And that’s when it hit me, what about trading in the bike saddle for a different type of saddle. HAHA!!!
So I started searching for a place to go horseback riding. Bu not just anywhere: it had to be warm, have a pool, a spa (obviously), good food, and not break the bank. And thank you internet; Arizona!!
The Tanque Verde Ranch is nestled up against the Rincon Mountain Range on the outskirts of Tucson.
As opposed to some dude ranches that embrace the rustic feel, this place is almost luxurious. From the pool with the waterfall,
to the spa with enough treatments to pamper the woman in your life, to the beautiful spacious room, we never felt like we were roughing it.
They offer extras such as country cookouts, pancake breakfasts, riding lessons, episodes of The Lone Ranger poolside in the evenings, a saloon, and even tennis courts in case you travel with your togs (that word makes me feel weird).
And of course, there are horses. Tanque Verde has one of the largest dude ranch stables in the US and they’re quite careful about who they’ll let go on what rides, so in order to go on a loping ride, for example, you actually need to pass a test. You, along with a dozen or so other people, go into a corral and follow a wrangler around the fence-line. You need to gallop, stop, and then gallop again, all while showing control of your steed.
It’s a good system in theory but from what I saw the wranglers were passing people who did NOT have control of their horse (yep, talking about me and a tenacious fat kid who took the test twice a day ‘til they finally passed him), while NOT passing some people who looked pretty solid in the saddle.
And speaking of the wranglers; be prepared not to be coddled by them. Some are friendly, some not so much. This was my one pet peeve; when I pay this much money I prefer not to feel like I’m in some way inconveniencing the people who work there.
However, other than some of the wranglers needing to read Miss Manners, Tanque Verde is top notch and I’d recommend it.
If you do go, say hi to Juan at the front desk for me; he’s pretty much as nice a person as you’ll ever meet.
Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona gets 4 out of 5 yeehaws from me. I’ll see again from somewhere else.