In their golden days, horses provided pioneers with wagon-pulling muscle, bank robbers with a getaway vehicle, and postmen with an excuse for slow mail delivery. Enjoy modern equine delights with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a one-hour guided horseback Rocky Point Trail ride at Vail Stables, which opens for the season on Saturday, May 21 (a $60 value). This Groupon expires June 30, 2011.
Vail Stables corrals posses of 6–12 riders for a saddled adventure through sprawling meadows up to a gorgeous mountaintop vista in the Vail Beaver Creek region. An experienced guide matches equine to equestrian, taking into account personality and the results of a handwriting analysis, before leading the hoofed expedition on a 50–70-minute loop between the Spraddle Creek Draw and Booth Creek Pass.
The Rocky Point ride steers mounted pioneers through a sage meadow and up to a scenic lookout 8,900 feet above the town of Vail, the Gore Range, Vail Mountain, and the Vail Valley. Giddy-up through a majestic forest and meander through an Aspen glade, keeping eyes peeled for signs of wildlife and Bigfoot's elaborate hedge sculptures. Before arriving back at the ranch, steeds will pass by Cow Camp, providing an excellent photo opportunity with a rustic Colorado shack from a bygone era, enhanced with the faintest chorus of ghostly moos.
Cadres of saddled gauchos hit the open trail seven days a week, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., on healthy, sound fillies who receive eight months of vacation after riding season. Though not included with today's deal, Vail Stables also offers a petting zoo so Ma and Pa can get their spur on while younger cherubs hug a kitten, wrangle with rabbits, or french braid a donkey's hair ($5).