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“Wish I'd tried it sooner”

Windwalker Expeditions - Tours
Ranked #3 of 6 Tours in Cave Creek
Attraction details
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Wish I'd tried it sooner”
Reviewed October 31, 2011

During our brief stay in Phoenix we decided to try a different mode of transport through some of the area's outstanding scenery.

I've not ridden a horse in twenty years, and I very much doubt a couple of hours of pony trekking counts as horse riding, so going out for a two-hour tour with Windwalker was, essentially, a whole new world to me.

We were met by our guide, Barry, at a local shopping centre bang on time. He turned up in a massive truck towing an even more massive trailer in which he was transporting the three horses he needed.

Barry is immediately likeable. If you picture a cowboy in your mind you'll be pretty close to imagining Barry. Sharp boots, denims and a good ol' cowboy hat. He's personable, friendly, funny, and pretty good-looking, too, so my better half tells me. He's also an ex-professional rodeo rider, which is pretty cool.

We followed Barry to our start point - a lay-by well in to the Tonto National Forest, which is a stunning place to start such a tour. After the paperwork was completed, we were introduced to our horses. I figured I'get the the smallest of the three, being a complete beginner, but was, instead, given Durango. Durango is a handsome beast, but he's also huge. This could end badly.

Once on my trusty steed I was given a brief introduction to the accelerator, brake and steering mechanisms that were installed. It all seemed pretty straight-forward, so off we set.

What can I say? This was, by far, the highlight of our two-week tour of the California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada - by a long-shot. Neither of us wanted to stop. Although I was a beginner Barry's feedback and encouragement gave me the confidence to keep up on the trotting parts of the tour, and to let Durango do his thing on complicated or tricky parts of the trail. He's charmingly passionate about his work and the area, and warmly dispenses his knowledge of the flora & fauna and stories of his life and family as he rides.

You won't get a nose-to-tail ride with Windwalker. This is proper horseback riding, and is for people who want to do more than plod along for a couple of hours.

It wasn't a cheap excursion, but horses of this calibre are, I expect, expensive resources. The two-hour ride, though, was most certainly worth the US$75 per hour. Note that the hourly fee only applies to the time you're riding, so although you may not get on the horse until 30 minutes after you meet your Windwalker guide you won't be paying for it, which is the way it should be.

Visited October 2011
4 Thank Intermanaut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Lutherville, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Great Staff and Horses”
Reviewed October 19, 2011

My wife and I took a morning ride. We chose Windwalker Expeditions based upon the recommendation of the Concierge at the Sanctuary. Our guide - Barry Moffett was terrific assisting my wife who is a novice rider and me who is more experienced. This isn't your typical nose-to-tail ride; they are private and take as few or as many as you'd like and tailor the ride to your desire.

Visited October 2011
6 Thank NMM1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great Photography expedition”
Reviewed September 20, 2011

I took a 4 hour photography expedition out of Scottsdale with Dan Cotton through Windwalker Expeditions and was very happy with the outcome. Dan picked me up at the hotel where i was staying and we drove about 45 minutes out of the city to some great vistas for desert photography. This was around sunset to take advantage of the changing light. Dan is very knowledgeable about photography and also about nature and the various plants seen in the desert landscape. The jeep we were in could go anywhere. The $200 fee was worth it for this unique activity. The cost decreases if there are other people along.

Visited September 2011
Thank flossyToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Pleasant but a bit disappointing”
Reviewed November 26, 2010

I picked this company as they market the fact that they have quality, privately-owned horses and plenty of trotting and cantering for more experienced riders. I've been riding for 30+ years and my husband, although not quite as experienced, is a perfectly capable rider.

The guy I initially spoke to on the phone was extremely helpful and likeable (Joseph I think) and answered all my questions happily. He told me that, as well as experiencing the beautiful scenery, we could ride at what pace we wanted once we were comfortable with the horses. He said the ride would be tailored to us as it would be just us and the guide, and that if we wanted to canter just say so, if we wanted to go up a mountain just say so etc. He asked all about our experience and recommended that, once we had met our guide, we travel with him so he could chat to us and get a feel for what we wanted to do. I was a little reluctant to pay such a high price, but from what he said it sounded as if it would be perfect for us so I booked us in.

Well I can't fault the horses or equipment. I had a lovely mare and my husband also rode a lovely, if slightly more laid-back, horse. We did travel with our guide but he didn't ask anything about us, our ability, or what we wanted from our ride.

The scenery was indeed superb but despite my asking several times we walked the entire two hours apart from two very short trots and then a short canter at the very end. It seemed to me that our guide simply didn't want to go out of walk and didn't care if we did. I found it very frustrating as the horses all seemed fit and lively enough and we were both more than comfortable with our mounts right from the start.

So although it was a pleasant enough ride with beautiful scenery, it was NOT what we'd been promised, and paid over the odds for. We could get a 'trail ride' anywhere so the whole experience left me a little cheated.

Having said all that I would probably still recommend them as I do believe that the person I initially spoke to (the owner I think) genuinely believed what he told me to be the case and, with a different guide, perhaps it would have been.

3 Thank Julbod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worthington, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Best Horseback Tour Ever Experienced! Well Worth the Price!”
Reviewed September 3, 2010

My friend and I were on a cross-country road trip, and were excited to find Windwalker on the internet. We are both experienced riders, and were looking for an advanced trail ride with well-cared for horses. We called the woman Shelly who books the rides about 10 different times, and she was very patient and helpful as she worked with our ever-changing plans and our financial constraints. She reminded us that we needed to be ready for a summer morning ride no later than 7am for the type of ride we were planning to do, which was helpful because he had not considered how hot it would get for the horses later in the day. Initially, we were worried about the price, but when our horses arrived with competition-grade tack, new shoes, and a healthy appearance, we knew our money was being well-spent on the upkeep of some tremendously athletic Arabians. I appreciated that our guide Joseph was punctual, professional, and willing to lend half-chaps along with the standard equipment. Joseph was very knowledgeable about the local landscape, and he was able to answer every science question that I, a teacher, could fire at him. I appreciated his connections with each of his horses, and it was indicative of the overall high quality of horsemanship and care that are hallmarks of Windwalker. We enjoyed our walk-trot-canter ride, and were especially grateful for Joseph's willingness to stop for photo and video opportunities. I hope to be back in the area again to experience the desert as only Windwalker can facilitate.

2 Thank EllieBgoesXC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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