New Mexico’s capital city, Santa Fe, is large enough to feel like an energetic, happening place, while also being small enough to explore on foot or, better yet, on horseback. The surrounding countryside is surprisingly green during the cooler months, despite most of New Mexico being arid. Thanks to the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains – at the southern edge of the Rockies – there is enough water runoff to quench the city. These landscapes are like something out of a Wild West movie (because some of them have actually featured on the big screen).
The most pioneering method to take advantage of Santa Fe’s beautiful foothills it to take a horseback riding trip. There are many types of riding experience available from short walks to longer treks that head a little further off the beaten path. Here are three of the best horseback riding options around Santa Fe based on various factors like price, treatment of the horses, and the health and safety record of the operators.
FROM $75/per person
South of Santa Fe over the beautiful, rolling hills of Galisteo, you’ll find Los Cerillos. This region has long been populated by Native Americans and later, Spanish settlers. Today it is a great place to take a guided 90-minute trail ride on horseback. You can explore the scenery used by the film industry to film various Westerns and feel like you’re in that world for a while. There are good beginner horses and one-on-one lessons for anybody who is new to riding. This tour is available daily.
From $70/ per person
Making the most of a beautiful, expansive ranch, the Santa Fe Western Adventure is another great option for getting that Western movie feel on a horseback ride. As with all the small riding companies around, this is a friendly, family-run enterprise run by experts in their field. The sunset ride heads up Lone Butte, a hill located on the ranch, so that you can enjoy a great sunset view over the land before moseying on back. For daytime treks, there are one-hour and two-hour options available, although the latter is recommended for more experienced riders only.
From $150/ per person
For an excellent ride, whatever the weather, Vision Quest offers highly rated private hourly rides into the New Mexico wilderness. Part of the tour fee goes to a charity protecting wild horses. The Vision Quest horses are a lovely bunch and there are ponies available to kids under the age of eight for 20-minute rides, as well as the longer trail routes for adults and older children. The two-hour trail allows time to get out into the wilderness, although one-hour rides are also popular. Vision Quest is also open to much longer treks on enquiry.