Frequently Asked Questions

1)  What should I wear when I ride? 

Dress appropriately for the weather, and for being with horses. Long pants, fitted shirt, and riding boots with a small heel. No Crocs, Keds, sandals, open toed shoes, and no shorts. Wear clothing that you don't mind getting dirty. Parents and siblings are encouraged to wear closed toed shoes as well!

2)  What style or disciplines of riding do you teach?

We teach hunter seat equitation, which is english riding, as well as jumping. All riding disciplines cover the same basics at the beginner level, and once a more advanced level is reached the student is encouraged to explore other disciplines.

3) Are drinks or snacks provided, or available for purchase?

There is a vending machine on site. Bring cash if you would like to purchase drinks. Otherwise, please provide your own drinks and snacks.

4)  Will I need to sign anything before riding or attending a horsemanship class?

Signed registration and waivers of liability are required for anyone participating in any class. Minors will need to have a waiver signed by parent or guardian on file with the Instructor. Paperwork may be downloaded from the website or picked up from the Instructor at class time. You might also take a moment to familiarize yourself with the AZ Equine Activity Liability Law.

5) Can I leave my child for a riding lesson or horsemanship class and pick him/her up afterward?

Parents are required to be on site with children under 16 at all times, unless prior special arrangements have been made.

6)  What do I do if I can't make it to the scheduled lesson?

Because the lessons are scheduled by appointment only, the more notice you can give the better. Please call, text or email the Instructor with as much advance notice as possible. Horsemanship classes require at least 36 hours advance notice of cancellation. No-shows will be charged for the lesson.

7) Can I bring my dog to the barn?

No pets allowed at the barn, please. Our insurance strictly prohibits dogs. 

8)  Are there regular lesson times on regular days that I can just show up to?

There are no set lesson days or times, and each lesson is made by appointment with the Instructor. Horsemanship classes are scheduled when there are students interested in participating, and are scheduled on demand.

9)  How do I get started in a riding class at Desert Trails?

To begin riding with us you need to call or email and set up an appointment for a lesson. You will talk about your short and long term goals, whether you have ever ridden, or have any horse experience. All beginner riders are required to complete a Basic Horsemanship Class before participating in riding lessons.

10) Do you offer horse boarding, sales, or training?

Our facility offers boarding through The Stales at South 40. The barn manager can be reached directly at 480-862-6004. We sometimes offer horses/ponies for sale, and will take in a horse or two on a consignment basis if there is room in the barn. Contact us for rates and information.

11)  Can I ride my own horse, or do I have to ride a school horse?

Riders may choose to ride a school horse for lessons, or use their own horse on a boarded or haul-in basis. Haul-ins are allowed for lessons only, and the arena is not available for casual riding outside of lesson times unless your horse is boarded with us. Haul-ins will be charged an additional, small arena fee, payable to the managers of our facility.

12) Are lessons held rain or shine?

Lessons will be rescheduled due to inclement weather (excessive heat, wind, thunderstorms, or heavy rain) at the discretion of the instructor, because the arena is uncovered. If you have a question regarding whether a lesson will be held as scheduled, please email or call your assigned Instructor at least an hour before your class time.

13) Can I just show up for an advertised horsemanship class?

Horsemanship classes require pre-reservations, and a 36 hour cancellation notice is required. Class space is limited so all the kids get plenty of hands-on and riding in the allotted class time.

14) Even though I'm riding western, do I have to wear a helmet?

We require that all riders under 18 years of age wear an ASTM approved riding helmet anytime they are on a horse. Adults are encouraged to wear a helmet, but it is not required. Loaner helmets are available in several different sizes, but riders may purchase their own approved riding helmet if they will be continuing in regular, off-lead riding lessons.

15) What ages of riders do you teach?

Although our main focus in the past has been on teaching kids the basics of horsemanship and riding, all ages, 5 and up, are welcome and lessons for all ability levels are available. We have introduced a new facet of the program geared toward older children and adults called Desert Trails Horsemanship. Same great instruction for all ages, with a new name!

16) Do you have any weight limits for riding the horses?

Each horse and pony at our barn has a weight limit that it can carry, both for the comfort of the horses, and the overall safety of horse and rider. We do have to limit the top riding weight at about 180 pounds, which is the heaviest our largest horse can carry

comfortably and perform at its best. 

17) Do you teach lessons during the summer heat?

Yes! We will continue teaching over the summer, however teaching times are limited to the very early morning and evening.

18) Do you rent or loan horses for trail riding or casual riding?

No. We are strictly a lesson facility and do not rent or loan horses.

Any questions not listed here that you may have, please use the contact us form on the About Us page and ask.