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Tuscon Story and photos byYvette Cardozo

High on Adventure, July 2019

White Stallion Ranch fast ride
Fast ride at the White Stallion Ranch near Tucson, AZ
photo courtesy White Stallion Ranch

Ok, that’s not me galloping madly through clouds of dust. My talents barely covered a slow walk. But that’s ok at White Stallion Ranch. You can be experienced or, like me, barely able to figure out which side to get on the horse.

  White Stallion Ranch cattle sorting   White Stallion Ranch cattle sorting  
Cattle sorting

Cattle sorting was added this year. Eight cows (they call ‘em steers) are in one pen. Two riders on a team. Then one at a time, each rider drives a cow into the next-door pen. It is timed. My team made it in 2 minutes, 15 seconds, but only because the other woman knew how to ride. Best time that morning was 58 seconds while a mom and her young son took nine minutes. But, hey, it was fun.

This video is what it looks like when a ranch wrangler does it.

Learning to rope a steer at White Stallion Ranch
Learning to rope a steer

This kid was determined. He did finally rope his “steer.”

  White Stallion Ranch wildflowers blooming   White Stallion Ranch serving food during breadfast ride   White Stallion Ranch wrangler at breakfast  
  Breakfast ride with cactus flowers   Serving breadfast on the ride   Ranch wrangler at breakfast  

The once a week breakfast ride is a great intro to your horse. Short, flat and slow. And with yummy food as your goal.

  White Stallion Ranch lounge with saddle streets   White Stallion Ranch Mexican rugs for sale at ranch   White Stallion Ranch with Mexican rugs for sale  
Ranch lounge with saddle seats
Mexican rugs for sale at ranch
Original adobe in dining hall

The ranch here has been around since the turn of the 20th Century...first as a cattle ranch, later home to 30,000 chickens and in 1945, a guest ranch. More owners followed. Then the True family bought it in 1965 and when they saw that the area guest ranches had already dwindled to 30, started buying land and adding rooms. Today, the ranch has 43 rooms and a five-bedroom hacienda, 160 horses, 120 cows and wranglers on hand to lead rides, teach, tend to the livestock, cook and the rest. That’s a patch of the original adobe wall under glass in the dining hall.

  White Stallion Ranch saddles waiting for their horses   White Stallion Ranch saddles waiting for their riders  
Saddles waiting for their horses
White Stallion Ranch slow ride

One day, I did a slow mountain ride. We left the main ranch compound and sauntered leisurely across the valley, following a well-worn path through the cactus towards the foot of the nearest hill. We weren’t in the nearby Saguaro National Park but we might as well have been. It was studded with towering, many-armed saguaro cactus, some of them 40 feet high.

At the foot of the volcanic, granite hills of the Tucson Range, we headed up via a rocky trail, passing all sorts of blooming brush...an assortment of yellow, purple, violet flowers and the first buds of something red.

Pins for_ranch visits

Over the years, guests have brought their children, who grew up to bring their children. It’s third generation by now and the pins that show how many times you’ve come stop at 50. Then you just accumulate more 50s. One woman, Wendy, is up to 107 visits and for some years, was showing up every six weeks





White Stallion Ranch Loop Rawlings doing his rope tricks

  White Stallion Ranch Loop Rawlings doing his rope tricks  


White Stallion Ranch Loop Rawlings doing his rope tricks

Loop Rawlings doing his rope tricks

Click for video of Loop Rawlings doing rope tricks.

Evenings were special. And the highlight of them all was Loop Rawlins doing his gun and rope tricks. He is better than good. Made it to the quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent.

  White Stallion Ranch nose to nose with gecko   White Stallion Ranch burmesepythonduring crittershow  
Nose to nose with gecko during critter show
Burmese python during critter show

And another night, Phil and Hector brought their creepy crawlies for a critter show.

  White Stallion Ranch opening for weekly rodeo   White Stallion Ranch team penning during rodeo  
Opening for weekly rodeo
Team penning during rodeo

Once a week the ranch holds a rodeo where owner Russell True, who was five when his folks bought the place and now pretty much runs it, explains barrel racing (which is limited to women), bulldogging, where you ride alongside a racing steer that is sometimes going 35 mph, jump astride it to bring it down (as bone rattling and dusty as you imagine). And team roping which Russell says he calls “cowboy judo.” It’s even more frenetic than bull dogging.

  White Stallion Ranch blooming cactus flowers   White Stallion Ranch Blooming cactus flowers  
Blooming cactus flowers

Come in spring (April) and you’ll see all the gorgeous cactus flowers. The purple is prickly pear, the other flowers are atop a saguaro cactus.

  White Stallion Ranch guest cottages   White Stallion Ranch standard double interior   White Stallion Ranch sunset  
The cottages, inside a cottage and a beautiful sunset among the cactus

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