Hikers: Saddle Up!

Pacifico with Mike Rutt, Tug with Arlene Daigle, Rip with Marc Humphrey, Ray with Barb Rutt, Kilo with Maria Spencer, Mac with Judy Landeck, and Biggie with Bruce Landeck

Bruce Landeck

On a beautiful, late-October morning, seven members of the SaddleBrooke Hiking Club traded their hiking gear for jeans, boots, and western clothing and went horseback riding in Saguaro National Park East and Tanque Verde Wash. They met at Houston’s Horseback Riding Stables, located on Tucson’s northeast side and nestled next to the Rincon Mountains, for the two-hour ride.

Houston’s has been a locally owned business since 1988 and welcomes riders of all abilities. All mounts were retired rodeo horses, sure-footed and easy to guide along the washes and desert landscape dotted with numerous saguaros. Each rider was paired with a particular horse (Pacifico, Tug, Biggie, Rip, Kilo, Mac, and Ray) based on his or her height and weight. Experienced wranglers led our line of horses along the trail and pointed out interesting sights as we enjoyed the wide-open vistas.

Most of the members hadn’t been horseback riding for many years; however, with a few wrangler tips, they had no trouble adjusting again to this fun hiking alternative activity. And notwithstanding some sore muscles after the ride, they appreciated that the horses did the physical work for a change instead of their own legs.

Following the riding adventure, the group reconvened at nearby historic Tanque Verde Ranch, established in 1868, for lunch, where they recounted their fun time together. Saddle-Uppers included Arlene Daigle, Barb and Mike Rutt, Maria Spencer, Marc Humphrey, and Judy and Bruce Landeck.