Heading South!

I know I say it every year but…wow, I can’t believe it is already Fall! We had an incredible summer season up in Idaho. We were busy as ever doing trail rides, back country trips and every project in-between. Now that the Aspen trees have turned¬†gold and the weather has started to cool down we are getting ready to head back to Arizona.

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Opening day is October 30th and we are scrambling to get tack, horses, paperwork, ect. all together before the big move. This is the latest we’ve opened down there and the phones have been ringing off the hook. “Where the heck are you guys?” is the general cry.

Although we always  have a hard time saying goodbye to our Idaho home we are starting to get excited about all the fun we are going to have this year in Arizona.

So call us soon and book your ride because we have missed you all and can’t wait to see ya! 623-742-6700!

Closed for the Summer Season

Another awesome season in Cave Creek has come to a close and we are now in the process of getting all moved back in to Stanley, Idaho. The horses are all on pasture, enjoying themselves and their month-long vacation. We are looking forward to having a relaxing spring before we have to jump into our summer season. Please keep in touch with us over the summer on our Idaho website www.mysticsaddleranch.com

See you all next fall!

Spring Time in Cave Creek

Once again the crazy spring season is drawing to a close and we are beginning to think of Idaho and cooler weather. We had an AMAZING season here at Cave Creek Trail Rides, our best ever. Spring Break was very busy for us and we met a lot of folks from back east who were more than happy to bask in the Arizona sun on horseback. We even made a new high record for number of riders in one day, 155!

Easter was a half-day of rest for us. We took the morning off and then did afternoon rides, the temperatures couldn’t have been more perfect. This past week has been busier than we expected and the weather has been excellent. Once the spring breakers began to head back home we will have some down time around the corrals to plan our trip back home. It takes a lot of logistical planning to get all the horses, gear, guides, and housing back up north.

The desert is in full bloom (all except the saguaros) and we just love all the colors. We are truly blessed to live in such a gorgeous place during the winter season.

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10 Fascinating Facts About Horses

Listverse.com JANUARY 22, 2014

Horses have accompanied humans for thousands of years and they show 

10 The “Horse Laugh”

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You may have seen a horse making a strange expression where it curls its upper lip and bares its teeth into a wide grin. This makes the animal look like it’s laughing. In reality, this is part of a special nose-enhancing techniquecalled a  flehmen  response.

Horses pull this amusing face in order to direct scents floating in the air toward special olfactory glands that are located at the end of the horse’s nasal passage. The lip-curling and the slight tilting of head help the animal to waft these smells toward these glands. The horse isn’t laughing at you, it’s just trying to determine whether you smell bad.

The flehmen response is far more common in male than female horses.Much like giraffes, stallions often sample the urine of mares this way to check if they’re in heat.

9 The Horse Industry

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For people who have never been involved with horses, it’s easy to assume all they need is some hay every now and then, a field to run around on, and a preteen girl or two to swoon over them. This could not be further from the truth.

Horses are used for various competitions and sports, breeding, recreation, and plain old work. It takes a lot more than just a farmer and a plow to keep the show running. In fact, horses are a massive business. Approximately 4.6 million Americans work in the horse industry in one way or another. The US horse industry is estimated to have an economic effect of $39 billion—annually.

That’s just the measly nine million American horses. There are approximately 58 million horses in the world and the vast majority of them are cared for by humans.

8 Police Horses

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Police horses have been used in peacetime law enforcement since the 17th century and the first official mounted police unit was established in 1805. This London-based unit was a massive success, and in a few years, both Australia and America had adopted the idea.

Police horses have always been much more than a mere method of transportation. The benefits of a horseback cop are obvious—after all, a police officer riding a huge animal commands a very different kind of respect than one on foot. That’s why the horses selected for the job tend to be large geldings (castrated horses), who are both imposing and level-headed enough for the potentially stressful job.

The number of police horses is slowly waning due to the advent of police motorcycles and other modes of light transport, but many countries still keep a few mounted units around for public relations and crowd-control purposes.

7 Eyes

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Horses have fairly good eyesight, thanks to their very peculiar eyes. At a diameter of roughly 5 centimeters (2 in), they are the largest of any land mammal. When measured in volume, a horse’s eye is up to nine times largerthan that of a human. Legend has it that this means horses see things as bigger than humans, which is why they sometimes startle easily, but this is not true.

The horse eye has three eyelids—two ordinary ones and a third called the nictitating membrane—which is located in the inner corner of the eye and occasionally sweeps the eye, lubricating and cleaning it if need arises. Horses can’t properly focus their eyes like humans do. Instead, the lower parts of their retina see objects at a distance, and the upper ones are for closer viewing. This means that if you want to know where a horse is looking, you should pay attention to how it’s holding its head. If you see a horse standing on a field and it’s doing that thing where it’s standing with its head held up high and ears pricked forward, it’s not just showboating—the animal is probably just looking at something interesting in the distance.

6 Equid Hybrids

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Equid hybrids are, as the name tactfully suggests, hybrid animals that are bred from the three equid species—zebras, donkeys, and horses. Most people know about the mule (also known as “john” or “molly” depending on the gender), the cross of a donkey male and a horse female. However, it is only one of the many,  many  equid hybrids out there.

One such combination is the offspring of a horse father and a donkey mother called a “hinny.” Zebras and horses can be bred into “zorses” and “hebras”, which are also known as golden zebras because, frankly, those names make the poor creatures sound like science fiction characters. Adding ponies to the mix brings even more hilarious sounding options, such as “zonies” and “zetlands.”

Equid hybrids have been created since the start of the 20th century. Scientists started the work by crossbreeding zebras and donkeys, but quickly moved on to horses, presumably because they got too embarrassed to call their creations names like “zebra ass.”

5 Horse Shoes

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Everyone knows most horses are fitted with horseshoes, but most people aren’t aware that these curved pieces of metal are not just to protect the hoof. The hard parts of horse hooves are made of keratin—the same sturdy protein that comprise horns, nails, and hair—and therefore leave a lot to be desired when it comes to things like traction. Imagine running around a wet, paved street wearing horns as shoes and you can see the problem.

Fitting the hoof with a shoe fixes this issue. The shoe improves the traction of the hoof and provides extra shock absorption, which you may recognize as the exact same benefits your running shoes give you. That’s right—horseshoes are, more or less, equine Air Jordans. Horse shoes also share another similarity with the sports shoe industry—there is a ridiculously huge selection of different types, such as pronation-correcting support shoes, “natural balance” shoes, and even super lightweight aluminum shoes for serious racing horses.

4 Horse Names

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If you’ve ever been to a horse race, you probably know that most horse names are ridiculous. Cats and dogs are usually given cute, powerful, or human-like names, but horses tend to end up with names like “Seabiscuit”, “Horlicks” or “Ohnoitsmymotherinlaw.” As random as this may seem, there are actually many traditions and superstitions associated with naming horses.

Many breeders name their horses to respect its pedigree, which can lead to some unfortunate variations over time. After all, it doesn’t take many generations to twist “Binky” into “Flunky.” Naming a horse after a family member is generally avoided, because if the horse you named after your mother turns out to be a failure, Mom probably isn’t going to be too happy. Many owners prefer powerful names like “Man O’War,” because it is believed this brings the horse good fortune in the races. On the other hand, naming a horse “The Winner” is a sure fire way to create a horse that will never win a race in its life, so some owners just decide to have a bit of fun with the name.

Of course, there are also actual rules governing the naming tradition. Otherwise, a horse race program would read like a list of the usernames of a particularly insane Internet discussion forum. These rules vary depending on your area. For instance, The Jockey Club of Louisville limits name length to 18 characters; forbids names that are obscene, racist, or too similar to actively competing horses; and does not allow names that are entirely made of numbers. If a horse gets famous enough, its name might be pulled from use altogether, much in the same way some sports retire the numbers of particularly legendary athletes.

3 Arabian Horses

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Most horses can be quite beautiful creatures when they put their mind to it, but many people consider the Arabian horse the most majestic of all. We know that they first appeared at least 4,500 years ago, which also makes them one of the oldest horse breeds. It is generally assumed that the Bedouin, who are noted for their passion for horse breeding, are behind the creation of the Arabian breed.

With its wiry, “desert” look and immediately recognizable silhouette, an Arab horse is easy to tell apart from other breeds. As peculiar as its high-tailed look and unique head shape are, things actually get even stranger when you look a little deeper. Arabian horses have a skeletal structure that is quite different from all other horses. Its ribs are much wider, stronger, and deeper, and it usually has one fewer horses normally have. It also has fewer lumbar bones and tail vertebrae. These “missing pieces” do nothing to slow it down, though—Arab horses are considered some of the strongest endurance runners in animal kingdom, capable of running over 160 kilometers (100 mi) without rest.

2 Horse Meat

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Despite recent scandals that indicate otherwise, horse meat is considered a delicacy in many countries. France in particular is extremely partial not only to horse meat, but also horse brains and horse heart. The French are not alone, either. In fact, horses have been eaten as long as they’ve been around. During times of war, horses have served as an important—and relatively cheap—source of protein. In times of peace, it’s eaten because it just happens to taste good.

The only countries that have never really managed to jump in the hippophage  (horse-eater) wagon are also the two most influential English-speaking ones. Despite the fact that both the US and the UK are among the biggest horse meat exporters in the world, both historically scoff at horse meat as food. As such, what is not exported is usually used as pet food.

1 Memory

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Have you ever laughed at a horse with a funny name? Or made fun of one when it twists its face in flehmen? If you have, that’s too bad—that horse may well remember your insult for the rest of its life.

A 2010 study revealed some very surprising results about horse intelligence,especially memory. Not only does our equine friend understand our words far better than we have previously anticipated, its memory is at least as good as that of an elephant. If a horse is treated kindly, it will remember the person as a friend for as long as it lives. The horse will instantly resume friendship when it sees them again, regardless of how long they have been apart. They also remember places very well—most horses become nervouswhen they’re taken to a place where they’ve had a startling experience.

The good memory and relatively powerful intellect of horses is not always a good thing, though. If they get bored, they can accidentally figure out how to untie themselves from posts and open latches and grain bins. Once they learn these methods of mischief, they’ll never, ever forget.

+ Eadweard Muybridge’s “Flying” Horse

Horses have helped with many of mankind’s greatest achievements, from conquering the Wild West to the postal system of ancient Mongolia, but did you know horses have also played a part in the invention of movie technology? It started in the 1870s, with a man named Leland Stanford. He was convinced that, at some point in the gallop, all four of the horse’s legs simultaneously leave the ground. His claim was met with skepticism, as horses are huge creatures that they surely must have at least some contact to the ground at all times. Certain of his cause, Stanford made a bet that he could provide indisputable evidence of its veracity.

Stanford recruited photographer Eadweard Muybridge to help him in his mission. Muybridge, however, realized that camera technology at the time was far too clumsy to capture the horse at the exact time all its hooves leave the ground. Far from deterring him, he employed a completely new photography technique to accomplish his goal. He set up a series of 24 cameras side by side, each taking a picture right after the other, capturing the famed racehorse called Sallie Gardner in 24 different stages of the gallop. This not only proved Stanford’s claim—Sallie Gardner could indeed be seen with all four legs off the ground, creating the illusion that she was flying—but essentially created a 24-frame animated film. Intrigued by his new technique, he also invented the Zoopractiscope, a motion picture machine for viewing said film.

Although the eccentric Muybridge remains virtually unknown by the public, his contribution to film history is undeniable and many influential people in the industry admire his genius. Currently, Gary Oldman is planning to make a movie about the story of Muybridge and the flying horse. Ralph Fiennes and Benedict Cumberbatch are reportedly attached to the project.

Romantic Sunset Horseback Ride

It’s not very often that you get to be a part of a conspiracy so I jumped at the chance when I was asked if CCT could help do a surprise proposal. A local horseback rider helped her son plan the perfect sunset proposal and we were more than happy to be involved. 

The romeo showed up at the corrals in nice attire and with roses in hand. We took him and his personal photographer up to our favorite look-out spot where the sunsets just perfectly in front of you. 

A little while later the unsuspecting, soon-to-be fiance arrived at the corrals with her soon-to-be mother in-law and family friend. She thought they were just going on a simple trail ride…little did she know, everyone from the park hosts to the trail guides were in on the surprise.

I took the group out on the ride. “Where’s your boyfriend at?” I asked once she had told me she was in town visiting his family. “Oh, he is with friends having boy time,” she responded. The young lady oohed and awed at the scenery as we slowly made our way to the secret spot. I could hardly keep myself in the saddle for all the anticipation. 

We rounded a corner and looked down to see rose petals lacing the trail.

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“What are those! Are those rose petals” the riders exclaimed, the young Juliet confused and the rest of us faking surprise. As we slowly worked our way up the path we looked to our right where the sun was beginning to set. Silhouetted against the warm glow was an indistinguishable figure. There was no way of telling who this mystery romantic was.

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As we rounded the last bit of the corner, the young lady let out a gasp as her boyfriend of five years came into focus. We helped her dismount where she could join him on the hill. He got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife. Short of breath, but oh so happy, she said yes!!!

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Our small conspiratorial group let out a cheer as the newly engaged couple embraced. It was such a very special moment between them and the love that obviously share for each other was almost tangible. 

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We wish you two the very best and we are so thankful that you chose Cave Creek Trail Rides to help make this engagement happen! Thanks for setting our Valentine’s Day season off to a great start!

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Ride & Rose Special 2015

It is never too early to start thinking about valentine’s Day and what you are going to do with your very special loved one. Cave Creek Trail Rides can help you set up the perfect date! Our Ride and Rose Special is the perfect package for couples who are looking for a fun and unique way to spend a Valentine’s Day date together.

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Here’s how it works…

Couples receive a discounted rate on the 1hr or 1.5hr sunset ride. Rides are fully guided and include great views of the beautiful Sonoran Desert while riding gentle mountain horses. Couples may also dress up in cowboy boots, hats and chaps for photographs at no additional charge. This special also includes a rose (given to the romeo after the ride) for his lovely date. 

1 hour sunset ride $102.00/ couple +tax (regular rate is $112+ tax) 

1.5 hour sunset rides $122/ couple +tax (regular rate is $132+ tax)

Don’t have time on Valentine’s Day? Don’t worry! This special will be going on from February 3rd till the 14th! Reservations are required so call us today to reserve your spot! 623-742-6700

CCT and TripAdvisor

As many of you know, we have been given the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.com for 2013 and 2014! If you haven’t shared about your experience with us yet, now is the time! In order to make is simple and easy, below I included the form to write us a review. We appreciate all of your support and hope to see you all on the trail soon!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, one and all! We had a great Christmas here at CCT and an excellent New Year. We took a lot of happy people out on horses over the last few weeks and met a lot of great people. We had even more riders than last year (which is saying something because last year was our biggest year yet)! A small rain storm that came through sprinkled just enough water to keep the dust down and bring out the desert colors and smells. 

As we look forward to another amazing year we can’t help but think of how grateful we are for our good horses, our outstanding guests and our hardworking guides. We are truly blessed to be doing what we love in such beautiful places.

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January is a slower month for us but we have a few programs and projects lined up to keep us and the horses busy. We are looking forward to 2015 and all the exciting things it has to offer.

Christmas in the Desert

Every year, right before the holiday rush, the park gets very quiet. This small lull in trail rides gives us time to catch up on projects and preparation for the busy weeks to come. 

This week a few of our guides built a new feed trough for the mares’ pen and we’ve also been plenty busy mucking out pens and cleaning horses every day. 

Thanksgiving was great this year! We did a lot of trail rides and then took Thanksgiving Day off to spend time with all of our employees. Many of our guides are down from Idaho this year, far away from their families back home so it was great to have a family gathering of CCT and Corral West employees. 

We are looking forward to Christmas, the reservation books are starting to fill up and the weather has been great. A few rain showers have really helped with the dust and brought the desert smells and colors come to life.

We are excited to share Christmas Day together with our guides and to meet all the families that will be coming out to ride. We will end the month with a bang as our Boise State Broncos football team will be playing University of Arizona here in Phoenix at the Tostitos Bowl! Go Broncos!!

Whether you are up north, back in east in the cold or enjoying the desert weather, we wish you all the best Holiday Wishes! Merry Christmas y’all and a Happy Happy New Year!

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Tis the Season for Giving!

Every year I seem to be caught off guard by how fast Christmas approaches. If you are like me and are always looking for last minute gift ideas, look no further than our Christmas Gift Certificates! These certificates make quick and easy gifts, good for the whole family. Surprise your loved ones with a horseback ride this Christmas!

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Gift Certificates are made to order so call us today to buy your a personalized horseback ride package for you family! 623-742-6700!