Cave Creek, AZ - Expert how-to for English Riders

Cave Creek, AZ

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Today, I rode a beautiful horse named Pressley, a Foxtrotter owned by Terry Smith, a Cave Creek local who is an avid horse trail preservationist. In fact, a lot of Cave Creek residents are into preserving trails and making life in their town horse friendly, including Don and Cathy Peterson, who also came along on our ride. You can ride into town and tie your horse to a hitching post to eat at the local's Buffalo Chip, shop or just take in the scenery. There are trail systems throughout the area that run into the wider open spaces in Arizona, including the Tonto National Forest.

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We rode from a horse friendly Bed and Breakfast owned by Babs, a horse and dog owner herself, called the Happy Hidden Ranch. You can bring your horse with you on vacation and stay with Babs, who makes great, hearty breakfasts, perfect if you are riding out all day. The beginning of the ride led us through washes surrounded by saguaro trees and lots of other vegetation. We then traveled down School House Road and into town. A trail runs alongside the road, so that horses can ride into town, just like cars. How many other towns can you ride into on horseback!

Terry Smith is passionate about keeping Cave Creek horse friendly. We passed many other locals on horseback, taking a Saturday morning ride. We rode to a higher trail, where one could see to Elephant Mountain, where Terry told stories of Native American raids in the area. There, we could see a panoramic view of the mountains that surround Cave Creek, before we dipped into town.

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We rode through town, past shops selling everything Western, to eat at the Buffalo Chip, where I had done some two-stepping a couple of nights before. Barbara Kennedy taught me how to make a peach cobbler, Dutch oven style and made a plethora of other delicious foods. She cooked a stunning cowgirl queche, which has sausage, cheese, peppers and eggs. We also had piping hot coffee and tea and honey butter biscuits and chorizo. With Dutch oven cooking, you cook everything in these large cast iron pots with lids. The pots are surrounded with coals. Lots of folks on cattle drives and on the trail used and some still use this method of cooking, as you can cook quite a large dish in these large pots. Barbara says that you can tell it is done when you can smell it. I could certainly smell that peach cobbler. It was good.

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It was great to be in Cave Creek, a warm, horsy town where cars yield to horses.

Learn more about Equitrekking on PBS and the Equitrekking episodes on DVD and learn about exceptional equestrian vacations at EquitrekkingTravel.com.