Horseback riding first came into vogue during Hollywood's Golden Age, when producers of Westerns realized that John Wayne was too heavy to be supported by a tapir. Make "The Duke" proud with today's Groupon: for $180, you get a four-day cowboy class for children ages 5 to 16 at Arizona Cowboy College in Scottsdale (a $365 value). The class is offered Monday through Thursday on the following dates: May 23–26, May 30–June 2, June 6–9, June 13–16, June 27–30 and July 11–14.
Founded by real-life cowboy Lloyd Bridwell, the publically acclaimed Arizona Cowboy College has adapted the grounds of its working cattle ranch to school would-be wranglers in the noble ways of the old West. Touted as one of the only cowboy colleges in the world, Arizona Cowboy College immerses budding buckaroos in the ways of the stately steed, teaching a respect for ranching that carries over into every spurless facet of everyday life. Students learn how to best train and care for their new four-legged friends, as well as riding styles and training techniques, most importantly covering the dangers of texting while sitting sidesaddle. On Monday and Tuesday, class goes from 7 a.m. until noon. Wednesday class is an all-day event, kicking off at 7 a.m. and including dinner and a bunkhouse sleepover, so kids should bring a lunch, sleeping bag, and change of clothes. At 10 a.m. on Thursday, kids show off their newfound skills in an equestrian event for families and friends. Afterwards at the barbecue wrap party, graduating cowpokes celebrate their increased abilities, improved confidence, and newfound sensitivity toward discouraging words.
Arizona Cowboy College
Founded in 1989 by fourth-generation cowboy Lloyd Bridwell, Arizona Cowboy College abounds with all the atmosphere one would expect from a real Western ranch, with one very modern distinction: it was the setting for CMT's reality show Cowboy U. The program highlighted the often-rocky journey of city dwellers and a fame-hungry pony who came there to win attempting to adjust to life on the range, all led by senior instructor Rocco Wachman and his teaching staff.
After years of handling horses and new riders of all ages, Wachman and company were well-prepared to wrangle reality-show contestants, and once the cameras stopped rolling, they went right back to the tough but rewarding business of ranch-running. At Arizona Cowboy College, that includes private and group lessons as well as trail rides through picturesque natural forests, with programs aimed at nurturing ranch hands, serious riders, and more casual horse-lovers alike.
30208 N 152nd St.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85262Get Directions