The guides of Adventures Out West—currently celebrating its 40th year of tours—have created scenic jaunts through Colorado and Arizona that deposit participants directly into the most beautiful parts of the local geography. Whether taking a segway tour or a jeep tour with knowledgeable guides, soaring over snowcapped mountains from the basket of a hot-air balloon or ziplining over lush forested cliffs, patrons get a chance to interact firsthand with all of nature's local sights, sounds, and whoopee-cushion gags.
Amid the saguaro cactus and abundant foliage, Michelle McVey operates the Desert Palms Equestrian Center facility with a deep passion for horseback riding, a hobby and career that began when she was five years old. Michelle and her team specialize in showing every level of rider proper saddle technique, as she’s coached students ranging from first-timers to Triple Crown winners. Inside two large outdoor arenas, private lessons focus on the student’s goals, whether that’s to have vigorous exercise or to simply learn the basics. Additionally, the center holds camps throughout the year, allowing kids to get a more in-depth experience with horse riding. During these camps, students ride twice daily, and receive education on horse care, tack components, and equine physiology.
A trainer of both equestrians and their mounts—as well as an established rider himself—John Elliott's specialty lies with statuesque Arabians and show horses. Working with riders as young as six, Elliott not only teaches the fundamentals of English riding, he instills a sense of responsibility and self-esteem in each of his students. Both group and private riding lessons are available, as well as training for young horses who have yet to learn the discipline of taking out the trash.
Arabian and Saddlebred show horses are the stars at the Pirate Performance ranch, where trainers specialize in showing styles ranging from halter to driving. A sandy, outdoor arena––including a round pen and plenty of turnouts––sets the stage for lessons in Western, English, sidesaddle, and Dudley Do-Right riding styles, and all training is tailored to ensure a healthy riding relationship between driver and steed.
Majestic horses prance around the arena at Forward Motion Horsemanship, proudly displaying show ribbons and safely supporting students of all ages. Trainers lead lessons in basic horsemanship and riding, focusing on english and western riding for beginners through advanced students. They also host horse camps, birthday parties, and local horse shows.
Sculpted through the desert and framed by distant mountain peaks, Wickenburg Country Club's 18-hole course roams across 6,320 yards of dazzling terrain. Fresh off an October 2011 overseeding, the course's fairways, greens, and tee boxes blanket the arid terrain with a thick carpet of immaculately mown grass stitched by palm trees, intervening waterways, and tumbleweeds that generously lead golfers to wayward balls. The course bounds over naturally undulating terrain that creates numerous uphill and downhill shots, which gives an advantage to players who trust their yardages and can handle sidehill lies. After rounds, players can continue honing their game at the driving range, check out golf apparel at the pro shop, or drink in views of the rolling, sandstone-hued tundra amid the adobe accents of the clubhouse patio, where clubbers can recapitulate memorable shots or interrogate each other's 9-irons about the veracity of their owners' scorecard.
Course at a Glance: