photo of group riding on our equestrian vacation

Explore the high desert on your trusty steed

Life at the Kay El Bar centers around our horses and riding program, and a well-trained string of horses for every experience level − beginner, intermediate and advanced. Our wranglers select a horse for each rider based on his or her experience.

Before breakfast riders can come down to the corral and groom their horse if they'd like. During orientation, the staff will go over western riding techniques and explain safety precautions with the group. We’ll provide boots and hats if you haven't brought your own. It is suggested you wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and sunscreen.

There are a few restrictions for potential riders; trail riding starts with children 7 years and older, and riders must weigh less than 240 pounds.  If you have any questions feel free to contact the ranch office.

The morning ride departs at about 9 a.m., and the afternoon ride at about 2 p.m. All-day rides are available by request. Rides go out twice daily except Sunday and holidays, when the horses have the afternoon off.

On Sundays riders have a light breakfast before hitting the trail and enjoy a cowboy cookout style brunch in the desert before their return.

Guests who are checking out are welcome to join us for the morning ride and stay for lunch. Horseback riding begins the morning after check in.

Favorable weather, varied terrain, and spectacular scenery make Kay El Bar ideal for some of the finest horseback riding anywhere. Riding is done on endless trails through federal lands adjoining the ranch. Riders may canter or trot through the wash of the Hassaymapa River beneath sheer canyon walls, or climb rocky ridges for spectacular mountain views.

In addition to the stunning landscape, you may also spot some of the local wildlife. Keep a lookout for the desert tortoise, jackrabbit, or banded gecko. You may even catch a glimpse of a coyote or the poisonous but sluggish Gila monster.

Cattle Penning

Cattle Penning, also known as Team Penning, evolved from the common ranch work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring or transport. In this activity (additional fee), groups divide into teams and work together to separate and move specifically identified cattle from the herd to another area of the arena.

This is a popular sport for riders wanting to test their equestrian skills with cattle, with family teams, (children ages 7 and up) and group vacationers; it requires coordination with your horse and with your teammates. There is a separate charge for this activity.