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Saddle Up

Posted on September 30, 2013


Most of Tucson doesn’t look particularly old West. Depending on the part of the city you’re in, either pickup trucks or high-tech cycles rule the streets.

But horseback riding lives on. You can still find stables well within city limits, and “horse crossing” signs even on some fast-moving, high-traffic roads. Western workwear – spotlessly clean but showing wear in the right places, not box-fresh – remains an everyday sight, especially on older gentlemen.

So imagine how things were in 1920, when the owners of the property that would become Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa first added 15 “casitas” to turn their private home into a guest ranch. Stables were added in the 1930s, as East Coast visitors considered horseback riding essential to their desert vacation. Later, the filming of classic westerns at Old Tucson Studios kept the equine mystique alive.

It’s still going now. Fiesta de los Vaqueros, the annual Tucson Rodeo, draws an estimated 60,000 people each year and is rated among the Top 25 rodeos nationally. “Rodeo Day,” when the huge opening parade is held, remains an official school holiday in Tucson. The first rodeo was held to promote tourism in 1925, when Tucson was still quite the frontier town.

There are no bucking broncos here at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa, though. We have a Trail’s End Horseback Riding Package, starting at $269/night, which includes overnight accommodations and two one-hour guided rides. Resort guests have four horseback rides to choose from, ranging from 15 minutes for young children to the 2½-hour cross-country ride along the Catalina Mountains to Pima Canyon. If you like, you really can ride into the sunset – though we can’t promise dramatic music. Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran, you’ll find a steady, well-trained steed for your journey.

So if you’re heading this way and want to ride, remember it’s not all beachwear and flip-flops. Pack at least one pair each of trousers and closed shoes, and we’ll see you (with a most un-cowboy like martini or tiramisu, if you like) at Trail’s End.

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