September 2007

A New ‘Watersport’ For Me

Crossing The Verde River On A Horse

By Caroline McWilliams
Glasgow, Scotland

Horseback riding: Why on earth is this sort of article in Arizona Boating & Watersports? Well, it just so happens that the trail crosses the Verde River — in fact, several times. So apparently it qualifies as a “watersport.”

While I was visiting Arizona this summer, I went horseback riding with my family. In total there were eight of us. The place where we rented our horses was Fort McDowell Adventures.

On the morning of our ride, my aunt was late picking up my mom and dad. Already late, we then made a wrong turn, and by the time we got to the stables, we were half an hour past our scheduled time.

However, Jim Miller and his son Brad (the people who took us out) did not even mention it. Within minutes, we were up on the horses with Brad and “Grandpa” (Brad’s horse) at the lead.

You may think it’s hot enough stepping out on the sidewalk to walk the dog or to go around the corner to the drugstore, but have you ever tried being out in the blazing sun for an hour and a half on a horse and with only one bottle of water?

It was so hot that even another 10 degrees would have made the water boil, I’m sure!

Okay, I’ll stop complaining. I can only remember a few of the horses’ names but there were Rainbow, Chevy, BJ and Goliath. Goliath was not as scary as he sounds. He was just big.

The trail led us down hills and up them. There were lots of weeds, so the horses kept stopping and nibbling, and they tried to bit each other. We crossed the Verde River four times and each time had to pull at the reins so the horses couldn’t drink because we were told they had a tendency to sit down if the drank.

The last time we crossed the river there was a herd of cattle grazing. We also saw an eagle and some wild dogs. I’m sure there were more animals too, but I needed to concentrate on my horse as it was the first time I had ridden.

I had a wonderful time at Fort McDowell Adventures and I hope to go back next year! Why not try it out yourself!