Family vacations can still be an opportunity to blog. This one is not geek related in any way, however. Other than this geek had a GREAT time horseback riding on trails of the Garden of the gods. The horses and guides were provided by:
Academy Riding Stables
phone (888)-700-0410 or phone (719)-633-5667
4 El Paso Blvd. Colorado Springs, CO 80904
I even got a discount of a couple of bucks per person from pikes-peak.com.
The Academy Riding Stables are very well organized group. Even when a larger group than originally expected group appeared. They split our 2 hour time slot into 2 groups instead of one larger one. Each group had both a lead rider and trailing rider. Safety seemed to be a high priority for the leaders. There was emphasis on how to approach, mount and ride the horses in a safe way. Helmets were provided for all that wanted them and use of helmets was encouraged. There were 10 riders from 8(ish) to much older. A person in charge selected horses of appropriate sizes based on each riders' size. My horse was very well suited to me and was well behaved.
Our ride began with a rather uneventful trek through a portion of residential area that borders Garden of the gods. This was a couple of blocks that included public roads and alleys. A trail was started about 10 minutes into the ride. First portion of the trail was easy and very wide. The horses knew were they were going and none ventured from the path. The first third a portion of the park that was generally easy with more gentile hills and valley like views.
The next 2/3 of the ride were primarily single horse width trails with changing terrain. Some climbs were very exhilarating both in final view of the area and ability of the horses to get up them. I was very thrilling to have my horse going down some rather steep steps with little effort. Even my youngest thought this was very exciting! Theses trails were not part of the general hiking area of the Garden of the gods if you were to go into the main rock formation area. We had views of part of that area, but our route focused on more of the perimeter. The views from the top of some of the hills are very breathtaking! The surrounding mountains and area are just beautiful. Words do not do justice to the majestic view that I had.
The ride lasted for 2 hours and included interesting commentary from the ride leaders. They made every effort to make sure all of the group was given information about the area we were in. Many times the end support rider would repeat the entire message to make sure the end riders understood. The information they provided was both interesting and worthwhile.
On a animal treatment note, I would like to commend the Academy Riding Stables for how well they seem to treat the animals in their care. Each horse that was brought for a rider was known by name and treated with kindness. Each of the riders was made aware that the horses should be allowed to drink their fill of water before the trip. Horse handling instructions were emphasized. All the horse stables seemed to be well kept and stocked with plenty of food. There was large areas for horsed to roam free. Heck even observed a couple of horses that were given showers while we were waiting for our turn to ride.
Make sure to get there early to fill out the paperwork. Reservations are required.
Google has lots of images
I will post some of my own pics very soon. I even used my DroidX with GPS tracking to map the route.
Note: I did not receive any compensation for this review.