White Stallion Statue

White Stallion Statue

This past week was spent experiencing the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In 1965, Allen and Cynthia True took over the property of 200 acres with 17 rooms and 17 horses. Their sons Russell and Michael and their families now run this dude ranch that has grown through judicious purchases to some 3,000 acres adjacent to Saguaro National Park with 41 rooms, a 4-bedroom Hacienda and more than 150 horses. The logo on their vans captures an interesting play on words with “White Stallion Ranch: a True Western Vacation.” How True. Visitors from all over the world visit this unique property and are recognized by flying each countries flag near the entrance.

Tucson Mountains

Tucson Mountains

With some trepidation I awaited being introduced to my assigned horse for my first trail ride. Montana stands at 15.1 hands and weighs 1,100 pounds. During that first ride I was tested when Montana took several opportunities to nibble grass or tree leaves. He even straddled a bush which our wrangler indicated was an effort to scratch his belly. That first ride was a long one that left my backside bruised. The next morning we started early with a stop midway for a trail breakfast. The setting featured a shaded Ramada below the Tucson Mountains. Panther Peak is at an elevation of 3,435 feet. The break in the ride made it more enjoyable for me. Montana didn’t seek any unauthorized nourishment during this ride and I rewarded him after dismounting with a treat which he greatly enjoyed. With each additional ride I became more comfortable. My last ride was the best because the temperature was cooler after it had rained earlier in the day.

Watercolor Sunset

Watercolor Sunset

The Tucson sunsets were fantastic. The clouds and colors varied each night. On a couple of nights the afterglow on Panther Peak was special. On our last night the sunset was awash with shades of red that made my photograph look like a watercolor painting. The area has been the backdrop for numerous films and TV shows such as Arizona (1933), Backlash (1956), The Last Roundup (1948), The Last Outpost (1951), Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice (1968), Minnie Skirts (1968), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002).

The ranch offers a wide range of entertainment from country Western line dancing to looking through a telescope to see craters on the moon and the rings of Saturn, from seeing live wild critters to listening to guitarist Bill Ganz singing cowboy songs. Loop Rawlins demonstrated his prowess with a rope, spinning guns, and cracking a bull whip in his “Wild West Show.” There were opportunities to learn about natural horsemanship, crafting a leather belt, painting a Western scene, learning how to groom a horse, and how to throw a lasso over a cow’s horns. The large solar heated swimming pool was a great place to cool down. The game room offered pool, table tennis, foosball, and air hockey. There is a basketball court and tennis court, too. There is even a petting zoo with goats, a deer and other animals. I was pleased to find a large wooden chess set in the lounge near the office. We also visited the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum which will have a separate entry.

We shared connected rooms with two grandchildren. Each of the large rooms had a couch and lots of drawers for storage. One room had a desk while the other had a table with four chairs. The rooms are decorated with interesting art and wall hangings. The entrances to both rooms offer a recliner and lounge chairs. The grounds around the rooms feature a groomed landscape with many varieties of desert plants nicely labeled. The ranch has a gift shop filled with cowboy hats and other Western clothing as well as quality art items.

Each breakfast has a special and each guest fills out an order telling what type of egg, pancake, and toast are desired. Juices, coffee or tea, and fruit are always available. Lunches and dinners use a buffet style with lots of choices and always offer something uniquely Western. Before dinner there are appetizers available in the bar. Alcoholic beverages are self-served and recorded using a chit system. Tempting desserts are available after dinner. Lemonade, ice tea, hot tea, and coffee including specialty coffees are available at all times. The food is great!

The White Stallion Ranch offers a unique Western experience that will not disappoint.

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