Wrangler helps adjust western saddle for young rider.
There is no better way to view fall colors than from the back of a horse. The horse does the walking; the rider sits comfortably in the saddle, eight feet or so off the ground, and simply takes in the views.
Realizing, of course, not everyone owns a horse. And, not everyone can own a horse. The solution is to rent a horse, typically for an hour or two. That’s about the limit for modern-day cowboys not used to the solid seat of a western saddle.
Fall rides are special in that the mountains resemble a giant palette of colors. Leaves change from deep greens to reds, yellows, oranges, browns and purples, when temperatures begin to cool.
And, temperatures have begun to drop ever so slightly.
And, there are horses to rent and mountains to ride.
There are riding stables all over the state. Under the horseback riding guide on Utah.com there are more than 100 listed.
Among the more popular rides, and the more scenic, are those in places like Zion, Bryce, Arches and Capitol Reef National Parks. Summer rides in other locations are exciting and picturesque. Fall rides simply come with more color.
Most all horseback trips are guided with wranglers in the lead and horses and riders following over designated trails. Most companies offer rides to riders six and older.
The scenery is best enjoyed from the back of a horse.
For those in the Salt Lake area there are convenient opportunities in places like Antelope Island and Park City. Rates range from $50 (Antelope Island) for an hour in the saddle to $175 for half a day, lunch included (Park City).
According to Sherry Baltz with Rocky Mountain Outfitters on the Stillman Ranch out of Oakley, when reservations are made, “We ask about the experience of each rider, that way when they arrive we have the right horse saddled and ready. A lot of those who have never been on a horse before come back glad they did it.’’ Rides will run until the snow falls.
One of the first things wranglers do when guests arrive is review the basics of horsemanship. That is, pull reins right and the horse turns right, pull left and the horse turns left and pull back and the horse stops. Also, a little kick with the heels makes the horse go forward.
Then it’s up to the rider to hold on and enjoy the experience and the sights.
Boulder Mountain Ranch in Park City, which holds rides on Deer Valley trails, will take reservations through September. Along with guiding, wranglers talk about the flora, fauna and wildlife seen along the trail.
Roger Osguthorpe with Red Pine Adventures, takes riders on trails on private land adjacent to the Canyon Ski Resort. Rides range from 90 minutes to half a day.
Riders range from those looking for a different experience to those who have always wanted to ride a horse to the very experience riders, he notes.
All stables look for horses with good natures, are not afraid of rocks, brush and water, and are comfortable with a saddle and rider on their backs.
Selecting a stable is purely a matter of location, opportunity and the desired scenery.
Click here to find a stable
Age of riders: 6 and older (most cases)
Rates: About $50 an hours and up
Rides: 1 hour to multiple day pack trips
Weight: 250 lb. limit (most cases)