Horse safety and etiquette tips are provided in cabin notebooks and we strongly encourage guests to ask questions along the trail. Instruction is provided as needed and upon request, primarily on the trail.

Children must be 6 or older to ride. Out of respect to your horses, we have a 250 pound weight limit on all riders. Pregnant women are advised to check with their physician about riding prior to your Elkhorn visit. Elkhorn Ranch discourages riding during late-term pregnancy and does not allow loping at any time during pregnancy.

For your safety and comfort, Western style boots with a smooth sole, heel and no laces are required when riding.


For your safety and comfort, Western style boots with a smooth sole, heel and no laces are required when riding. A brimmed hat with a safety string is recommended for sun and heat protection.

Excessive sun exposure is a concern in the desert. Sunscreen, hats, lightweight long sleeves and hydration are important. All hats must have a safety string, even brand new fancy hats! Boots and hats can be borrowed from the ranch lending closet. Long underwear, tights or pantyhose and long socks are helpful in warding off saddle soreness.


Elkhorn Ranch does not provide helmets, but encourages you to use one if makes you feel better about safety. If you choose to use a riding helmet, purchase it from a knowledgeable dealer that works with you to assure proper sizing and adjustment. Monitor use of the helmet to assure that it has not been damaged in a fall. Choose a model with ventilation and as much sun protection as possible.


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.

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.

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.

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.


call us or send an e-message


more topics in this section