Regardless if you are a seasoned rider, or a beginner whose only horse experience was reading Black Velvet, this riding ... More
Academy Riding Stables
Regardless if you are a seasoned rider, or a beginner whose only horse experience was reading Black Velvet, this riding center accommodates all abilities. Riders can choose from one- or two-hour rides, or during the winter also have the option for the three-hour perimeter ride. All horse-strolls are guided and wander through and around Garden of the Gods . Larger groups can arrange in advance for breakfast or dinner rides. Kids must be over eight to ride.
I brought 3 boys, 11, 13, and a Downs Syndrome boy. This was their first ride ever! The staff were the most professional I have ever seen in this type of business. Safety was first and foremost and it made the whole ride so much more comfortable. We took the 2 hour ride through the Garden of the Gods. It was great. Go in the morning when it is cooler and no afternoon showers. Best horseback riding I have ever seen. The horses only walk, so if you are looking for fast rides, forget it! It is a very comfortable trip! Anytime you are dealing with animals, things can happen, but for us everything went perfect! I would highly recommend the Academy Riding Stables!
During my two hour ride, I had a young teenage girl riding behind me and was not following the one horse distance companies policy with the horse in front of you. At the beginning of this ride, this girl behind me yelled out "my horse just bit my horse." I told her to please keep her horse back. Then about 5 minutes later the girl said again that her horse just bit my horse again. The tour guide told me that if my horse gets bit more it could buck me off. This made me nervous and not able to enjoy my ride since this girl continues to keep her horse very close to mine. This made my ride so miserable because the tour guide was not enforcing this policy and is even noted in a letter they sent me. After the ride, I called the company later since my daughter was with me on vacation and I did not want her to hear my complaint. I called the company about an hour later that same day and told them what happened and I would like a refund. She said they do not give refunds. I then called the company the next day and spoke to a female who gave me the e-mail of the manager to inform him of my complaint. After e-mailing my complaint, he sent a response letter and stated two different lies in it and stated that they would not give me a refund. I then sent a complaint to the consumer report organization. After doing this, the company responded back to my complaint again with the consumer organization and stated even a worse lie, which was that the tour guide never made the statement that my horse might buck me off if it gets bitten enough. That was such a repulsive lie because my daughter even turned around after the tour guide said this, and told the girl behind me to stay back from my horse so I do not get bucked off. If this company has policies then why do they not follow them. This girl who rode behind me was constantly close to my horse practically the two hour ride. It appears that this company cares more about money, rather than patient safety, patient satisfaction, and their reputation, as I will never go there again.
I was thrown from my horse on a ride through the Garden of the Gods. I was an inexperienced rider and my horse took off to a full run for no apparent reason. I tryed to get ahold of the owners to get a partial refund (I paid for a one hour ride and only got fifteen minutes, so did my husband) but he never answered my emils. I was very disappointed with this!!!
For the first time ever in my life, I was denied permission to ride at a stables due to my weight: I am a very athletic 6'-4" and 260 lbs. and have ridden at stables all across the Southwest for years, but was told it was "strict company policy" not to allow ANYONE over 250 lbs. to ride. Considering that owner Bruce Armstrong in their online video looks like he's pushing around 300 lbs. himself, I was a little surprised. The staff I dealt with was also pretty rude about the whole thing - they even have a scale in the office where they force you to weigh if they think you are being dishonest about your weight. I'm not the sort who gets embarrassed at that sort of thing, but I have to admit I thought it was handled poorly. I would not recommend them, as much for their the way the whole thing was handled as anything...
This was my first horseback ride (at 55 yrs young) and I was nervous, but the staff at Academy answered all of my questions and made me feel very comfortable. The horse they chose for me was perfect! He was a gentle giant (a Clydesdale), he moved very cautiously on sloped areas, and followed the guide horse perfectly. All I had to do was relax and enjoy the ride and the beautiful scenery! I took the one hour ride and now I wish I had taken the two hour ride. I'm planning to back for the two hour ride after we have some snowfall, I'm sure it will be beautiful!
We had an excellent time, but plan for poor weather in the afternoons during the summer months. When we arrived there was poring rain, thunder and lightning and the people in front of us wanted to cancel their reservation. The cashier told her that she could not cancel her reservation unless the tour guide decided not to go due to weather. We waited about 1 hour for the weather to clear and went after the storm passed.
Overall we had a good ride and I had the most well mannered horse named blue. The Garden of the gods is most fully experienced from horseback.
I think that a tourist should be able to make the call about if they want to go in the rain or not. My wife and I were willing to ride in the rain, but if I wanted to not go and cancel due to weather they should allow it.
Make your reservations for the morning hours.
They only allow walking of the horses in the park. Its not the fault of the stables, its a park rule. However, having said that, it was a perfect day for the riding. They suit your horse to your experience level. We did the perimeter ride, which is kind of a misnomer, because we rode in the park almost all the time. The perimeter ride is a scheduled 3-hour ride, and the trails selected were great. The guide will stop anytime you like so you can take photos. We saw some bighorn sheep and the best parts of the park. If you so desire, the guide will stop at the trading post for a breather and you can look around for 5-10 minutes while the horses rest, or you can bypass the trading post and continue your ride. I loved the experience.
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