The Elkhorn Ranch herd of around 120 saddle horses, breeding stock and colts graze in large pastures surrounding the ranch headquarters. They are raised here or brought to the ranch as young horses. Elkhorn horses learn to move and live in the rough country of the Baboquivari Mountains. They become sure-footed and strong.
Cross-bred horses have been raised at the ranch for many years. A Thoroughbred-Percheron cross stallion is crossed with quarter horse type mares — a warm blood type cross. Draft cross horses were bred in the early 1900s for the US Cavalry Remount Program. Today this cross is often used for show-jumping and three day eventing, and riding at Elkhorn Ranch. They have a sound mind and good strong bones combined with athletic ability. All Elkhorn saddle horses are owned by the ranch and live here year round.
Horses raised at the ranch are born in the early summer the old fashioned way with their dams as the sole attendants. They are weaned and halter broken at about 6 months of age and turned out in Elkhorn’s desert and mountainous country for a few years. Their first training occurs at age two — a few weeks of ground work and very light riding in the round corral. As three year olds, they venture out into open country — but still no work. As four year olds they begin several years of higher education as summer work and guide horses. We take our time getting our horses to that point and they reward our guests with many years of companionship.
An Elkhorn saddle horse is ready for guests when physically and mentally mature, with several years of experience living and traveling through the rough country of the Baboquivari Mountains.