Students saddle-up spring

By Andrew Horodner

Special to the Arizona Daily Wildcat

The sun was setting as our group rode four horses through the Catalina State Park.

Occasionally, a hoof would scrape the rocks, sending up red sparks from the horse's metal shoes.

The crimson clouds were our reward for the two-hour trail ride up and down the slippery path. They were the backdrop for the wildflowers dotting the foothills, the desert's last flourish before the wilting summer heat.

While thousands of your fellow students cram the beaches of Mexico and California this spring break, consider getting away from the crowds on four legs.

For the University of Arizona student, horses are available for rent at a dozen area stables. They offer one-hour rides starting at $12, or bum-numbing day-long treks with a steak dinner at the end of the trail.

At Catalina Stables (297-8092), 10811 N. Oracle Highway, manager John Snyder will take groups of up to 15 into the Catalina State Park, regardless of riding ability.

"Most of my business is people who have never ridden before," Snyder said. "I've got great horses. I'm real proud of them; you can rope cows off them or put kids on them."

Snyder features an advanced ride for those who have earned their spurs. The pace is quicker, and the terrain more challenging.

"The ride is for people with experience, and we go out for a couple of hours and have some fun," he said. "I get a lot of requests for that one."

Rates are $13 for the one-hour ride, $22 for two hours

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