Yes! But you will need to provide your own childcare. Usually family members trade off riding and childcare and some families bring a nanny along. The 5 and under set have a ball playing around the ranch buildings and their parents have plenty of support to make things feel like home away from home. Feel free to ask all your questions – we know that traveling with youngsters is a project and we hope to make it is as easy as possible for you!
What is the riding age for kids?Mary2019-11-12T01:09:31+00:00
All riders must be an honest 6 or older. With this in mind, there is no charge for kids 5 and under. Occasionally people ask whether their young person may ride with them on the adult’s horse, and the answer is no — we don’t consider this a safe practice.
Should parents go on rides with kids?Mary2018-06-19T02:02:33+00:00
We find that often families enjoy a ride or two together at the beginning of the week and then enjoy separating to do different things. Safety and supervision wise, it is critical that kids pay attention to and respect the guide and sometimes kids learn better when they can focus primarily on the guide. Also, kids rides are different than adult rides — kids love to trot (a bouncier gate often not favored by adults), kids like to get off their horses and play and loping rides for kids are often at a different pace than adult rides.
How do family cabin setups work?Mary2018-06-19T02:03:58+00:00
Elkhorn cabins are characterized as either single or double cabins, and among the double cabins there are a number of larger cabins that have the size and flexibility to be family cabins. In most cases, the living room of the cabin either has a day bed or the capacity for an extra bed to be added. Another option is for families with older children or teens to spread out between two side-by-side cabins. When we check availability for you, we discuss various options.
We do not allow our guests to wear spurs. While we realize that you may be an experienced rider who knows how to use them properly, many other guests do not and we feel it is important to be consistent.
What about cowboy hats?Mary2018-06-19T02:05:27+00:00
Wearing a cowboy hat is a fun and practical part of Elkhorn life, and there are many character filled hats in the loaning closet. All hats must be connected to you, as a flying hat is a safety hazard! If you bring your own, we will ask you to add a string. For ball caps, we sell some hat lanyards emblazoned with Elkhorn Ranch that have clips on either end.
Shoes to wear for riding – cowboy boots!Mary2018-06-19T02:06:04+00:00
Western style cowboy boots are critical for safety while riding. All Elkhorn Ranch riders wear smooth sole boots with a heel and no laces. Exceptions are granted only for medical reasons, and with advance notice. Many boots are available for borrowing at the office lending closet up to size 14.
Can I wear my own riding boots, that aren’t cowboy boots?Mary2018-06-19T02:06:41+00:00
If the boot slips on, has a heel and moth sole and no laces it may work. English riding boots that are form fitted do not pull off, so think about that issue as you assess your foot ware with Elkhorn in mind. We encourage you to talk with us about your boots ahead of time and then show them to us upon arrival. We are very firm about assuring that boots meet our definition of safe, and if we are not comfortable with your boots we will ask you to borrow cowboy boots no matter how new or special they are to you.
Why do you require cowboy boots?Mary2018-06-19T02:07:22+00:00
In the event of a fall, it is possible for the rider’s foot to go through the saddle stirrup (the part of the saddle where you place your feet) and get caught, which can result in the rider being dragged by the horse instead of separating from the horse – thus compounding an already bad safety situation. Having the rider’s foot slip out of the boot is a critical safety feature (hence no laces). The boot’s heel prevents the foot from slipping through the stirrup and the smooth sole further reduces the chance of the boot getting stuck in the stirrup. The height of a cowboy boot and its tendency to protect your ankle and lower leg from chafing is a good comfort feature, but not an essential safety feature.
What if the shape of my foot or a medical situation makes it impossible to wear a cowboy boot?Mary2018-06-19T02:08:08+00:00
Two compartment “pommel bags” slip over the horn of your saddle providing a handy spot to put your lunch on an all day ride or odds and ends. A water bottle and small camera fit easily plus other small odds and ends. An extra coat or rain coat may be tied on the back of your saddle — your guide will help you tie it on the saddle correctly.
How do I carry a big camera horseback?Mary2018-06-19T02:10:26+00:00
The best method for carrying a big camera horseback is through use of an over the shoulder strap or chest harness that keeps the camera still and secure against your chest or belly where you can reach it. We do not recommend use of a backpack, as it throws off your balance while riding and you cannot access the backpack while riding.
Can I take pictures riding?Mary2018-06-19T02:10:56+00:00
You are welcome to take pictures while riding, but you also must maintain control of your horse. The easiest way to take good pictures safely is to ask your guide to stop the ride for a moment. You’ll find that everyone else will pull out their camera too!
Key concerns while riding are sun protection, warmth, protection from desert prickers and chafing. Blue jeans are best for riding. As one young rider said with impressive dignity upon attempting to mount his horse, “Perhaps skinny jeans were not the best choice.” While baggy pants can cause chafing, excessively type pants can be even more problematic. Most people wear their pants outside their boots, though some do tuck pants in — that’s your choice. Cotton shirts are great for sun protection. For warmth, layers are key. Extra coats are available for borrowing, though the supply of kids’ sizes is limited. Adult size riding slickers are available for borrowing, and some kids — again the supply of small sizes is limited. No rain ponchos allowed on horseback — they flap around and create a safety hazard.
What about sight-seeing?Mary2018-06-19T02:12:32+00:00
Most people do not leave the ranch much during their Elkhorn visit. If you want to do a bit of local sight-seeing, Thursday is a good day as we don’t ride Thursday afternoon after January 1 or Sundays, the horses’ day off. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is by far the Miller family’s number 1 recommendation – it is beautiful, fun and highly educational for all ages. Feel free to talk about your interests with us, and we’ll help you navigate the choices around Tucson and the region. People often ask about Tombstone – it is a very long day trip, and we recommend doing it before or after your Elkhorn trip.
The ranch store provides snacks and basics, field guides, stamps and postcards and gifts and gear — kids books, horsey socks, t-shirts, caps fleece vests, mugs and other surprises. Locally grown organic honey produced in the Altar Valley is available for sale too! Tubac is a fun day trip where you can park and walk to shop. Tucson has many options – let us know your interests and we’ll help you find your way.
Are there books to borrow?Mary2018-06-19T02:13:50+00:00
A well stocked lending library is one of Elkhorn’s great pleasures. You’ll find current fiction, classics and interesting books about the west — children’s picture books and novels too. Numerous copies of bird, plant and other field guides are available to borrow for the week. All cabins have good reading lights by chairs and beds.
What games are available?Mary2018-06-19T02:14:28+00:00
Tennis court and basket ball net, shuffle board, ping pong and horseshoes are available outside the dining room. The game cupboard has cards, cribbage board, poker chips, dominos, scrabble, chess, many board games and lots of jigsaw puzzles. Various balls and tennis rackets are available for loan in the office. (Serious tennis players will want to bring their own racquets!)
The nearest golf course is about one hour away on southwestern edge of Tucson, with a wide range of outstanding courses within the 1.5 hour driving range. Tom Miller is an avid golfer and is happy to provide advice. The kitchen is happy to pack a sack lunch.
What about musical entertainment?Mary2018-06-19T02:15:23+00:00