For my birthday this year, my boyfriend surprised me with my favorite hobby—horseback riding. The surprise was a two-hour trail ride for two.  As a horse owner myself, I was excited, especially because my horses reside in California where my family takes care of them while I finish grad school.  I’d been craving some “horsing around” since my move to Arizona.

The adventure began at Fort McDowell Adventures only a 40 minute drive from south Tempe, where they offer an array of different adventures from trail rides, desert segway tours, kayaking, and more.

As we pulled up to the stables, there were horses, people, and the framed horses.jpgstunning Arizona landscape. Beautiful desert shrubbery enveloped the view and accented the sweeping vista. We were brought to the mounting area where it was time to pony-up. The guides assigned each rider to a horse and assisted us in getting on. After everybody saddled up, the guides instructed us to form a single-file line and we began the two-hour trail ride through the Sonoran Desert.

The ride wound along the banks of the Verde River and through its waters to the far bank. We rode through the beautiful terrain of the desert with views of one of the world’s highest fountains in Fountain Hills, acres of peaceful desert, and soothing views and sounds from the banks of the Verde River. Forty-five minutes into the ride we arrived at the river bank where we rode into the water. This was an amazing experience that brought back childhood memories of swimming with my horses in local ponds. With water splashing everywhere and riders laughing in pure enjoyment, we continued to ride down the bank.

During the trail ride, the views of the natural panorama were spectacular and breathtaking. The experience was enjoyable for all levels of riders and is a wonderful way to spend the day.  It was definitely a birthday I will never forget.

fort MCD.jpgDiva Tolosa is a current Master’s student attending Arizona State University originally from California. She enjoys horseback riding and the outdoors—especially in Arizona.