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.

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.

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.

Our wranglers select a horse for each rider based on his or her experience. Each rider is assigned to a ride group based on individual riding abilities, experience, and the type of ride that they want.  More experienced riders may ride at all paces, including lope.

There are a few restrictions for potential riders; riders must weigh less than 240 pounds, and trail riding starts with children 7 years and older.  Each child (age 7 and older) is assessed for individual ability; it is not required that children are on the same ride as their parents or guardians.  There is no minimum age for a child allowed to sit on horse if the parent or legal guardian is present. If you have any questions feel free to contact the ranch office.

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, 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.