Old West Tours | Historic Old West Horseback Rides | Horseback Vacations
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Questions & Answers

Your Adventure is fast approaching… you have questions before embarking on what may possibly be your greatest adventure… following in the legendary hoof prints of Old West and movie characters… and I have a few questions as well. The questions and answers below are based on years of creating, organizing and hosting these events – these are the typical questions. You may have others. Don’t hesitate to ask. Ready? Let’s get started.

What I need to know from you

What is your horsemanship level, on a scale from one to ten? I ask so I can provide the correct mount for you. On a scale from one to ten:

  • One: “I ride, but not that often” / “Have never ridden before”;
  • Five: “Intermediate rider” / “I trail ride”;
  • Ten: “Excellent rider” / “No one is better than me!”

I assume everyone has ridden before, though it’s not necessary for these rides. Of course everyone understands the inherent dangers of horseback riding.

  • I need your height and weight… sorry ladies. This helps choosing the correct horse. I won’t tell anyone but the wrangler!!
  • Are you bringing your own saddle and/or tack?  No need for my wrangler to bring too many saddles.
  • Do you have any special requests or requirements for your trusty steed?
    • Example, I ask for a 15 hands high, well-mannered, cow-pony, preferably named “Cupcake.” If you’ve ridden with me before and have a favorite, let me know.
  • Are you bringing your spouse/significant other and are they planning to eat breakfasts & dinners with us?
    • Have you told me and paid me for them?
    • If not, all means please let me know.  Headcount is important for meal planning.

Please note: our lunches will be sack lunches for the ride. Non-riding spouses/significant others must make other arrangements for lunch.

Note my cell number: 714-458-6578. Please give me your cell number in case any one of us needs to contact you during the week of the ride.

Typical Questions & Answers

Prior to the event, usually around 60 days or sooner, I’ll begin to send out emails regarding the event, including this “Questions & Answers” sheet.

  • Sometimes I’ll include the history of the area we are going to.
  • I will email you an itinerary prior to the event as well.

Our “Meet & Greet” usually takes place either on Sunday or Monday night prior to the start of the ride.

Meals: we serve three meals a day.

  • Breakfast – usually scheduled at 7:30 am.
  • Lunch – is on the trail.
  • Dinner – usually scheduled at 7:00 pm. This may vary depending on location and activities.
    • Note: Locations of meals will be on the itineraries and announced each morning.

When should you start to dress in period attire?

  • For the entire week, beginning with the “Meet & Greet.”
  • I hope you’ll attempt to dress accordingly – I’m not the fashion police, so do your own thing – have fun!
  • Dressing period correct is not mandatory. Just more fun.

Do we celebrate birthdays or anniversaries during the week?

  • Always! Usually one evening after dinner (always determined later).
  • Just email me if you have one during the week of the ride.
  • Heck yeah we’ll have cake!!!

What should I bring with me on the ride?

  • Sunscreen, bug repellent, toilet paper (the kind campers use – called Traveler’s Toilet Tissue – I usually have some with me), a canteen (fill it up where you’re staying), flashlight, cameras, slicker, and sunglasses, (I’ll bring a first aid kit).
  • It’s usually not cold during these rides, but the weather is always unpredictable. Bring a jacket or something warm to wear, tie it on the back of your saddle.
  • Usually best to check weather forecast a week prior to the event.

Can I wear protective headgear rather than a cowboy hat?

  • Absolutely! Great American Adventures (GAA) suggests protective headgear be worn while around horses since it may prevent or reduce severity of the wearer’s head injuries and may prevent death as a result of a fall and other occurrences.
  • Headgear must be provided by the participant since a perfect fit cannot be guaranteed by GAA.
  • If you have headgear and feel more comfortable wearing it than a cowboy hat, by all means bring it and wear it!

Will saddlebags be provided?

  • Normally – no. If you have them, bring them. I do.  We’re only out for the day.  

Can we bring our own saddle?

  • Yes. I do as well.

I’d like to save expenses by car sharing and/or bunking with someone. Can you see if anyone else is interested?

  • Anyone interested in sharing a motel room and/or a vehicle to save on expenses, let me know.
  • I’ll hook those interested together via email.

I see we can carry firearms. Revolvers? Long guns? Do we need them?

  • On almost all the rides, exposed carry is permissible, unless otherwise noted. I will be very clear on this subject for each ride.
  • Long guns: You don’t need them. If you bring them, bring a scabbard for them. The wrangler won’t have scabbards.
  • Revolvers: Again, you don’t need them, but they are permitted.
  • Yes, I will be wearing my revolvers. I may or may not bring a long gun.

What about live ammo? Or blanks? Or dummy rounds?

  • No real bullets in your gun or on your belt at any time.
  • In fact, no real bullets are allowed on any of my rides.
    • This is stated as the last paragraph for each ride on the website too.
    • Liability and safety are the issues.
  • No blanks allowed unless otherwise stated.
    • On certain rides, blanks will be provided.  No need to bring your own.
  • Our horses are not trained to gun fire and will buck if fired.
  • Dummy rounds only are permitted on your gun belt.
  • Either no primer in the casing or an indented primer.
    • This is so I can readily see it is a dummy round.
  • Never, ever, pull your revolver from its holster while in town. If caught, the sheriff may take it and not return it. It’s a misdemeanor or worse.
  • If you pull your revolver from your holster during the ride, please don’t flash the muzzle around.
  • Act responsibly and always act as though your unloaded firearm is loaded.
  • Some of us have some fancy revolvers – nickel-plated, engraved. Folks will want to see them – that’s okay. Just act responsible.
  • If I see you mishandling your firearm, I will ask that you put it away.
    • Please cooperate.  I’m not trying to be rude, just safe.
    • We can discuss the matter after you holster your revolver.

On certain rides, there will be re-enactors doing everything I have suggested not to do. They work with the town council and have permission to do what they do… we don’t.

Can I wear guns in town?

  • This needs to be covered per ride. But usually no.

Can we gallop or lope during the ride?

  • Galloping and loping on any ride is strictly voluntary.
  • And only when the wrangler gives us permission – based on terrain and his knowledge of his horses and his perception of our abilities.
  • Do not do anything you do not feel safe doing while mounted!
  • If you ever feel uncomfortable, tell me or the wranglers immediately!!

Can we wear Spurs?

  • If you know what you’re doing with them, yes.  If you don’t I’d advise against it.
  • Ask the wrangler. The horse you have may not like them.  Horses have their own personalities; some don’t mind, some hate them and get angry.
  • Horses know if you’re a green-horn and may throw you!  I’ve seen this once or twice – and with experienced riders.

Women Riders – must we dress in women’s fashions of the era while riding?

  • Dress like a cowboys or Vaqueros / or whatever – be comfortable.

Chaps… do we need them?

  • We’re usually riding in rough country, with mesquite, creosote bushes and cacti. If you have chinks or chaps or high boots or even Botas, I’d suggest wearing them… I will.

Should we have hammer tie-downs for our revolvers?

  • Highly recommended. Nothing’s worse than to lose your expensive sidearm.

Is smoking allowed on the ride?

  • Normally, no! The countryside is very dry; it would go up fast from an ash.


  • We’re either on private land, BLM land, Forest land or state land. We have been asked not to litter.
  • Let our motto be: “Take nothing… leave nothing behind.”

I have food allergies. Can the folks at the restaurants accommodate me?

  • Absolutely!! Let me know and I’ll pass along their phone numbers for you to coordinate or I’d be happy to do it for you.

On some rides, we’re close to the Mexican border. What about illegal’s?

  • Illegals may be seen (though I’ve never seen them on any ride).
  • Where we ride they have no interest in crossing.
  • They want to avoid us and we should do the same.
  • Should any of us see any, spread the word and continue riding out of their way.

Will we be saddling and unsaddling our mounts each day?

  • Normally no.  Most the horses will be saddled by the time we show up, in order to save us time and give us more riding time.
  • If bringing your own saddles: leave them with the wrangler after our first day ride.
  • We usually use a step-up to assist in mounting.
    • If you don’t need one, ask the wrangler first if you can mount without using it.
    • Mounting provides a lot of torque on a horse, and since we are doing a lot of mounting and dismounting during the week, we don’t want to harm the horses.

Will we be riding the same horse everyday?

  • Yes. Once you find the horse you like, it’s best to ride the same one.
  • If at first you are not happy with a horse, we can change folks around until everyone is happy.
  • Repeat riders do fall in love with a horse from a past ride can request it for an upcoming ride.
    • Then again, a repeat rider from another previous ride has also fallen in love with that same horse and may ask for it too.
    • I can only pass along your wishes to the wrangler. He ultimately makes the decision based solely on safety. A better rider may not always get his desired horse if that same horse is suitable for a lesser rider.

Will there be spare horses in case of a misadventure?

  • Usually there are a few extra, depending on space in the horse trailers.

Do you recommend stampede strings for hats?

  • Yes – absolutely!!!

We meet for breakfast each morning. From there, how do we get to where we will be riding? Will we be taking our own vehicles?

  • After breakfast, we’ll car pool and follow each other to where the horses will be picketed.
  • Most every day is a different location. The wrangler will be there waiting for us, horses saddled and ready to go.
  • We’ll take as few vehicles as possible.
  • Every day is different. I’ll cover each day’s activities during breakfast.

How about water for the horses?

  • Most everywhere we ride is dry country with few watering holes. One of the many tasks of our wrangler is to find water.

During the ride, are there dedicated rest stops with bathroom facilities (port-a-potties) on the routes we will be taking?

  • Each day is completely different. We’re out all day – some days longer than others.
  • We’ll not have bathroom facilities. We do our thing on the trail.
  • My suggested list to you included toilet paper (and I will have some as well – just ask). One of us will have a collapsible shovel for that purpose.

When do you suggest the spouses dress in period clothing?

  • Again, not mandatory, but I’d recommend: All dinners.
  • I will cover other times in greater detail prior to each ride.

Tips… should you offer them?

  • Tips are strictly voluntary and up to you.
  • Can you give a range and to whom to tip should I want to?
  •  I will provide envelops to each of you toward the end of the week.
    • The wrangler: $20 per person per day.
    • Restaurants:  $20 per person per day.
    • Navajo Guide: $20 per person per day.

Again… these are merely suggestions and strictly voluntary.

I don’t have a cowboy / cowgirl alias

  • That’s okay. Not everyone does – why would they??
  • Maybe I can help you – let me know.
  • You may acquire one on the trail. Hopefully one you like.
  • Flying Joe and Butt Slammin’ Mary are two alias’ acquired during a particular ride… and they love them!!  Remember, it’s all in fun….

More questions??? Keep them coming . . . . . . . .

Again, thank you for spending your vacation and vacation dollars on a Great American Adventure.

With the number of folks coming back 2, 3, 4 and 5 times on these rides, I believe those of you joining us for the 1st time will have a wonderful, memorable vacation – which is my personal goal!!