Horseback Riding: Relaxation the Old-Fashioned Way
Horseback riding has been a part of Ruidoso’s history from the very beginning. If you wanted to get around, you rode a horse. Nowadays, the internal combustion engine has taken over, and only the very few can be found on horseback on a regular basis.
Unless you’re a jockey at a race track or working on a ranch, you don’t have much reason to saddle up for horseback riding. So, now it’s a leisure activity, and several stables throughout the Ruidoso area are making hay (pardon the pun) with horses.
Among those that offer horseback riding is Grindstone Stables, one of the oldest continuously run stables in Ruidoso. Located at 523 Resort Drive, Grindstone Stables has been in business since 1988. James Townsend started it as a way to make extra money in the summer when he wasn’t farming in Eastern New Mexico, making it a full-time job just a few years later.
Townsend said there were 20 horses going out at a time for trail rides during spring break, and expects the same numbers in the summer. The reason? Because it connects them to the past. “People feel a connection to the horses, they’re living things,” Townsend said. “We also have a history with horses. A lot of our customers come from Texas, they’re westerners, so they feel that historical connection.” Besides the history, a lot of customers are excited to get their kids outside and away from the trappings of modern life. “We’re now seeing customers who rode when they were kids, bringing their kids to ride,” said Kevin Kennedy, who with his wife Stephanie has worked at Grindstone for 18 years. “It’s about keeping the kids off of video games and showing them what they can do outside.” Grindstone also runs carriage rides through Midtown Ruidoso in the summer and sleigh rides through the Upper Canyon in Winter.
Of course, Grindstone isn’t the only stable in town. The Inn of the Mountain Gods has stables as well, and Shawn Cupit, assistant manager, says they’re just as busy. “We have a lot of people who ride throughout the day,” Cupit said. “Some stay at the Inn some stay in town. We prefer the Inn guests, but we take customers from all over. The rides at the Inn start from the stables south of the resort and skirt Mescalero Lake and the Inn’s golf course.
All horseback riding stables will take walk-in customers, but given the popularity of the activity, it’s best to call ahead and reserve a spot this summer. This is just a partial listing of the stables offering horse rides through the summer.