With the whinny of a horse, the smell of nature in the air, or the slight rumble of the barn cat purring in one’s lap, the Fort Huachuca Buffalo Corral Riding Stables provide the feel of a back-home farm without leaving the comfort of Fort Huachuca.
Nestled in the foothills on the west side of post, the riding stables are open to active duty military personnel and Family members, retirees and Department of Defense civilians. The facility is open to the public Thursday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Various activities are available for all ages. Children can participate in a “lead-around” ride, during which someone puts them on the horse and walks them around the general area, introducing them to the feel of riding and building confidence with the animal. This is the only service offered for children under 7. The cost is $2 per 15 minutes for military and Family, and $2.50 for civilians.
For those who want to become familiar with the riding process or simply learn more about horses, the stables offer individual, semi-private and group riding lessons. Buffalo Corral specializes in Western, English, Hunter Jumper and Pleasure Trail lessons. There are currently 30 horses available to work with, and each is used to being ridden.
Starting from the ground up, the lessons cover it all. The first lesson, depending on the student’s experience level, covers basic knowledge of horses and does not usually include riding. Learning to communicate with and understand the horse is key, so the lessons begin with how to approach calmly but confidently, establishing dominance.
Instructors explain safety precautions, such as keeping movements fluid and smooth to prevent scaring the horse, holding the lead rope properly, correct positioning when standing near the horse and much more. The instructor walks the novice rider through the steps of preparing the horse for a ride — brushing its hair, cleaning its hooves and placing the saddle correctly.
Once the preparation is complete, the rider is taught the safe and correct way to mount the horse, assuring that both he and the horse are comfortable. This generally happens on the second or third lesson, ensuring that the rider has gained the comfort required to fully enjoy the riding experience.
Riding lessons are offered to those 7 and older. They last an hour and vary in cost. For more information, call 533.5220.
Take a two-hour trail ride with a guide along the beaten path. These rides are offered on Saturdays by reservation only. They are offered from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Group rides can be set up by the staff for groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups and business organizations.
Open riding is available Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., and the cost is $15 per hour. Those patrons who desire to ride but do not have a horse of their own can visit the stables and rent a horse, taking an unguided ride through the rustic foothills trails, enjoying the full experience and then returning the horse without the responsibility of the aftercare. Open riding is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Buffalo Corral Riding Stables has a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, registered, certified instructor on staff. Therapeutic riding is offered on site.
Birthday parties are also offered at the stables. The party package includes use of the general area for three hours. It is equipped with a barbeque pit, tables, chairs and a rope swing. Lead-around horse rides are available to the birthday child and the guests. The cost of the package for military and Families is $37.50; for civilians it is $47.50. Call in advance to schedule.
Other services provided are horse leasing, boarding services and holiday rides. There is something fun for most equestrian lovers, from beginner to advanced.
For more general questions or information, call 533.5220 or visit http://www.mwrhuachuca.com/buffalo_corral.html.