My daughter, son-in-law and I visited White Stallion at the end of May. We'd previously been to other ranches in Arizona which have since closed down. White Stallion Ranch was different to the other ranches, more of a top-class resort with horse riding. The accommodation and food were exceptional and the staff really friendly and welcoming. Despite it being a bigger ranch than we're used to, it still had a 'family' atmosphere. Russell True was on holiday whilst we were there and his son Steve was standing in as host. He is one of the nicest guys I've met and did a great job of looking after us.
The riding was different to what we've been used to. At the other ranches we did half day and whole day rides whereas at White Stallion there were generally one hour slow rides at 9 am and 2 pm, one hour fast rides at 11 am and 4 pm, and team penning at 4 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Towards the end of the week there were longer slow rides, eg Suicide Pass and Lookout, and the fast day ride to the Saguaro National Park.
One of the things I'm particular about when we visit ranches is how well the horses are looked after and whether or not they appear happy. At White Stallion there didn't appear to be a miserable one amongst them! Not a ribcage or saddle sore in sight! They obviously take great care of their horses – all 150+ of them! One of the highlights for me was being able to hose down my horse Saguaro at the end of the day. I haven't owned a horse for over 25 years so I really appreciated being allowed to do hands-on things like this, rather than being restricted to just riding him. I could have groomed him as well in the mornings but I didn't actually get around to that.
This has to have been one of our best holidays yet. The team penning was great fun; I'd never thought of us as competitive but it turns out we are! Tell us to get three cows in a pen and we'll try our hardest to get them in there in the fastest time possible! For me this was another highlight of the holiday as the only time I've done team penning before we weren't allowed to lope, whereas at White Stallion you can go as fast as you like :D The trouble is, I tended to forget my age (56) and have pulled muscles in my back (at least I think that's what I've done!) – it stopped me going on the loping rides but nothing was going to stop me team penning even though the long lope down to the cows was agony on the Friday!
I was very pleasantly surprised as to how comfortable and exceptionally clean my room was. I lay in bed looking out at the mountains; I couldn't have wished for a better view! My room was an 'economy' room and my daughter had a deluxe room which was much bigger; however, I was more than happy with my cosy room and reckoned I had one of the best views on the ranch!
There is a photographer who visits the ranch and takes photos of the team penning on Wednesdays and Fridays. If you would like him to try and get photos of you with your partner/family it's worth mentioning it to him beforehand as he'll do his best to get the shot you want. He got some great shots of my daughter and son-in-law!
This was my 5th trip to Arizona and I was really hoping to see a snake this time. Fortunately one morning, as the wrangler was checking cinches at the start of the ride, I happened to turn around and there was this 4'+ bull snake just behind my horse. Made my day!
This was only going to be a short review as my main aim was to upload photos, but hey, looks like I got carried away! If you're thinking of trying a ranch holiday, White Stallion is the one for you! Don't delay, book today :D
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- EXCEPTIONAL HOSPITALITY AND FAMILY TRADITIONS At White Stallion Ranch, the personal touch and hospitality of a traditional dude ranch is carefully blended with the service and amenities of your favorite resort. This dude ranch has a history of more than 50 years of ownership and daily management by the True Family and over 75 years as Guest Ranch. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- White Stallion Ranch Hotel Tucson
- White Stallion Ranch Tucson, Arizona