Saturday, July 28, 2012

Western Boots

©Kelly Collins

The Western Cowboy Boot

  Nothing says “The American West” like the Cowboy Boot, but why was it popular among cowboys?  Surely there was more comfortable footwear at the time, and where did the style originate? The answers might surprise you.  Riding Boots were designed with the stirrup in mind.  The “Stirrup” is what you place your foot in when riding a horse and it is attached to the Saddle.  The stirrup aids in getting on the horse from the ground, and increase the riders ability to stay in the saddle. The ball of the foot rides on the stirrup and the heels of the boot are down (see photo). Keeping the heel down prevents the boot from slipping through the stirrup in the event that the rider falls from the horse, and the boot heel is designed to catch on the stirrup further preventing this occurrence.  If the rider were to fall and his foot got stuck in the stirrup, there is a good chance he would get drug by the horse. It’s not very likely that this would occur while trail riding since commercial trail rides don't come close to the rigors of cattle work, Out on the range, however, there are a large number of things that might cause a fall, and it was important that if a cowboy did come out of the saddle, his foot would not get caught in the stirrup. This is also the reason why cowboy boots do not lace since the weight of a fallen cowboy will pull the boot off thus freeing the rider. The pointy toes on the Cowboy Boot were designed to help the rider get his foot into the stirrup, although, roper style boots have a more rounded toe.

  Most people trace the origins of the Cowboy Boot to Texas, but Vaqueros brought the design over from Mexico, and the Mexicans in turn got the design from Spain, but if you go back farther, the Western Boot got its origins from Mongolia where stirrups made their debut. Just like the Tin Can led to the design of the Can Opener, the Stirrup led to the Riding Boot.  Traditional Mongolian boots did not have a heel, but they did have the pointy toe which was necessary since the first stirrup was only a strap.  
Mongolian Boot

Friday, July 27, 2012


Chaps (pronounced shaps) is a shortened form of the word cha·pa·ra·jos (pronounced shap-uh-rey-ohs) which in turn is a combination of the Spanish word chaparral (pronounced shap-uh-ral): a type of scrub brush that grows in California and aparejos (ah-pa-rey-ohs): the Spanish word for Aparrel.  Mexicans who worked cattle on the California landscape needed protection from the tough and often thorny brush they would encounter.  Chaps consist of a belt and leggings made of leather, but have no seat and are not joined at the crotch.  There are two designs: Shotgun and Batwing.  Shotgun Chaps enclose the entire leg, while Batwing Chaps only attach at the thigh providing easier leg movement for active riding.

Shotgun Chaps

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Importance of the Trail Ride

  In America, the 1800’s saw the rise of the automobile and the decline of the horse since machinery could be made to go faster and produce more work than the horse. Machinery was rated in “Horsepower” so one could know how many horses that machine could replace, it’s a rude brush off to an animal that has served us so well for thousands of years.  If not for the horse, humans wouldn't be as advanced as we are now, in fact, we may not have been around as a species. Horses helped us pull the plow; bring produce to market, traverse longer distances traveling faster than we could have on foot.  The horse also helped us hunt for food and aid us in times of war, and entertained us with racing or other equitation sports.

  The future of the horse is uncertain.  As urban sprawl spreads across the United States, there are less and less areas that horses are accepted in.  People in general are not opposed to horses, just as long as they don’t have to live next to one.  Areas that once had horses for sale or rent have had housing developments encroach upon them.  Once the homes appear it’s not long before the horses are forced out by complaints from homeowners who find the smell offensive, which begs the question, why move next to a horse farm or stable?  Other reasons are monetary: horse stables aren’t exactly money makers; at least those that cater to those without deep pockets
  The modern day horse has survived purely as a pleasure animal (at least in the United States).  There are people who use horses to compete in events such as Dressage and Jumping events, or more Western events such as team roping, and there are those who just want a horse for a quiet trail ride.  Another niche that the horse has filled in recent years is therapy.  For children with special needs, and adults that are injured or disabled, the horse has been key in improving their quality of life.  Better balance, coordination, and muscle development are all benefits from riding a horse, and for those who are incredulous about the muscle development have never ridden a horse: five minutes cantering on a horse will leave you winded if you’re not accustom to riding.
Neapolitan Horse (extinct)

  Will there always be horses?  It seems doubtful that horses could become extinct, but there are species of horse that are no longer with us such as the Galloway pony, Mazury and the Yorkshire Coach Horse as well as many more.  The Shire is a draft horse developed in Europe and is at risk due to lack of breeders, and there are some that are even worse off with only 100 breeding pair left making them akin to the Giant Panda.

  This brings us to the importance of rental horses and riding stables.  For most of the public, rental stables are the only way to experience trail riding without buying a horse.  In the good-old-days stables would give you a horse, help you into the saddle, and you were on your own, and unless you were a little horse savvy, you may have had a good ride or a harrowing experience depending on the horse.  Most modern horseback riding stables use guides to make the experience more enjoyable and to provide safety during the ride in case of unforeseen events.  For all, the experience leaves a lasting impression, and for some it may lead to horse ownership, which promotes the horse industry, for without horse owners the horse in all its varieties would fade forever.  One horse trainer said that the horse it a mirror to the soul.  Having owned one myself I can tell you it’s that and much much more, but you’ll never know unless you come out and ride the trail.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Public Comments

Oh how riding a horse here fulfilled some of my past childhood dreams!  Do not tell me you have never seen a dog or other animal and wished to have ridden the animal.  The cartoons you may have watched are true: riding an animal, a horse, really is fun!

We came on a great temporary deal, $35 for 2, for an hour ride.  The ranch is inconveniently hidden, so make sure you map it beforehand!  The entrance is a driveway that slopes a little downwards and leans right.  After the slope, go past the little cabin and you should be able to see the shed  for this place.  

Service was really friendly and timely.  We all got a few laughs and reassurances from the employees.  My lovely horse was named Carbon and was the only "big" horse that was available for the day.  It was a little disconcerting mounting the horse (a huge horse named Carbon does not evoke a kind of happy demeanor) and going downhill, but all was better after a few more minutes of seeing how surprisingly easy it is to steer these horses.  The hour was satisfying and long enough for the buttocks and other unmentionables to feel uncomfortable, but it was an amazing experience.  It is relaxing riding horses!  Just do not expect to gallop these horses because riding the horses here is utilized in a safe, slow way.  The various hills and turns on the trail makes sure that there is no monotony at least.  I am glad I had this experience, I can now check off one of my 5 year old self's goals.

5 of 5 stars
Sep 3, 2012

Amazing place to be! A ranch which reminds you of old California. Beautiful open land that is serene and rustic. The staff are so nice and the horses are so loving and gentle. It is such a fun and warm atmosphere. It feels like you just escape the city and find a calm that is priceless! Beautiful horse spirits, wide-open land, and friendly staff make for a perfect time!

5 of 5 stars
Sep 2, 2012
by anonymous

Amazing place to be! A ranch which reminds you of old California. Beautiful open land that is serene and rustic. The staff are so nice and the horses are so loving and gentle. It is such a fun and warm atmosphere. It feels like you just escape the city and find a calm that is priceless! Beautiful horse spirits, wide-open land, and friendly staff make for a perfect 

West Covina, CA

I got two deals on groupon for this, one for me and my cousin that I'm surprising her with and one for my parents for Christmas. When I got the deals the expiration said expirations very so after I paid for it it popped up and said December 26th and I was like oh crud! Well I called and I talked to the woman in charge and she was extremely flexible with me! She gave me a close date to surprise my cousin for Christmas and she helped me work out a future date for my parents since my father’s schedule is hard to work with. She was so nice and helpful. I also talked to her about the groupon and the quick expirations and she apologized and was just very kind. I cannot wait until I take my cousin and I will post again after our visit!

·    Susan B.
      Covina, CA
Awesome Ride! you get to ride in the beautiful hills of Southern California on a working cattle ranch. Super friendly staff, great well cared for horses and a great atmosphere, I would recommend it to anyone looking for something new to try

Doreen G.
  • Doreen G.
  • Indio, CA
  • 24 friends
  • 1 review
5.0 star rating
I had an excellent experience from start to finish!
I bought an amazing package deal from Zozi on 11/16/2013.. it was a 2hour horseback ride with lunch included, 2 people for $120 wow !
The price was too good to pass up. After reading so many negative reviews on here, I was worried, but thought let me try it out. I am glad we did!
My daughter and I had an amazing time!
I called early on Sunday 11/17/2013 and left a message.
I got a callback the next day on Monday. The woman was nice and professional, especially since I was unprepared without my confirmation number!
I had no trouble at all being booked for a WEEKEND ride. We went today, Sunday 11/23/2013.
The property itself is large and beautiful, exactly what you would expect in a ranch!
Our horses were beautiful, healthy and friendly!
Our guide, Alyssa, was friendly, professional, helpful, and knowledgeable with lots of interesting topics to talk about.
Oh I forgot to mention, I brought my 10 year old daughter, even though the package deal is sold on Zozi as a date idea for couples   so we were accompanied by 2 other people, a man and a woman on their first date, but my daughter and I did not mind that at all. I expected there to be other people
The horse ride into the Corona hills was fun, relaxing and beautiful. I was blessed with a beautiful, clear, sunny California day!
We rode our horse up and down the hills into a canyon type area with beautiful views and had a great picnic lunch. They ask you ahead of time if you want turkey, ham, roast beef, or vegetarian sandwich. When you get there you also get your choice of chips, a variety of drinks to choose from, and they also provided cookies and Andes mints for lunch!
My daughter and I were pleasantly surprised by how yummy and cute the picnic lunch was! My daughter had turkey and I had ham. I was jealous, her turkey had yummy avocado on it, but my ham had yummy roasted peppers and provolone cheese on it!
The sublike sandwiches were so good, we asked if they were made by the staff. The sub-like sandwiches came from a local deli, and they were freshly made and very good.
We were given plenty of time to eat and explore the environment. The picnic area has a picnic table only, no restrooms. Not a problem for me, but a heads up to those who care about restrooms. I guess there are plenty of bushes around as an alternative!
Our arrival time was at 10:45 am, we started the horse ride by 11 am, and were back to the stable part after riding on horse to and from the lunch area by 1:45, almost 2:00 pm I believe.
The staff were friendly and helpful. My experience was great! My daughter also had a great time!
I will be going back at least once or twice a year!
I recommend this to anyone .. first dates, mother/daughter day, outing with a friend, date with hubby.. anything!
I was on a beautiful blonde colored horse named Vanilla, and my daughter rode a reddish brown horse named Chili.
Thank you Alyssa, Vanilla, Chili and all the staff at Star Ranch for a great experience!

  • Denise P.
  • Chino, CA
  • 0 friends
  • 2 reviews
4.0 star rating
Sounds like alot of these people putting in reviews have 1) never ridden a horse before and 2) never tried to book a Groupon that is ready to expire.  Yes, most stables that you go to these days require you to ride in a straight line, one behind the other.  It stinks but unfortunately that is just the way it is.  It isn't like when I was a kid and you could guide yourself and do what you wanted.  Also, you will be sore after the ride unless you are a frequent rider.  That is why the expression "saddle sore" exists.   Second, from my experiences with Groupon and Living Social deals, the closer it gets to expiration time, the harder it is to find open availability.  And forget trying to book a weekend at the last minute because EVERYBODY books those first!  Next time book MUCH sooner and you shouldn't have problems.  Again it stinks but I usually just blame myself for waiting so long to book.  (when we were there, the phone was ringing off the hook and she was grabbing the calls as fast as she could.  Luckily her employees were able to handle the riders there without her help)

That being said I waited til 2 weeks before my Groupon expired and was still able to book an afternoon ride mid week.  I left a message on the machine and when I didn't get a call back from them, I again called, got through, and booked it.  Our ride started off later than expected due to the group before us getting a late start.  Our horses were good and my husband and I rode with a family of 4, who had never ridden before, and had also booked using their Groupon.  Nice ride up and down hills ( we usually ride flatter terrain)  Overcast day but beautiful green hills everywhere.  Scenery much better than we were used to on rides  although in the summer the hills would be pretty dry I am sure.  Our guide was great and kept checking on the newbies in our group.

When we returned to the stables there was another group, with Groupons, just leaving.  We thought the stable folks did a good job and they were personable to everyone that was there when we were.   We are even thinking of returning with a large group of friends and family to celebrate our anniversary in the spring with a longer ride.

  • Cathy M.
    • Cathy M.
    • Corona, CA
    • 0 friends
    • 4 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    Excellent experience.  For years we wondered, "What is that ranch?" - high up the south mountainside of the 91 Freeway in the Green River pass towards Corona.  The Star Ranch!   Great service from Susan and her staff. Alexis was our Trail Guide. She is very attentive, knowledgable, and nice. We rode Bella and Sargent. Two wonderful horses for novice riders.  The Talking Horse Riding Stables are focused on your safety and yet give you an exhilarating experience WAY up the mountainside - great views, challenging trail and wonderful slice of the old west.  Have fun!
  • Pamela S.
    • Pamela S.
    • Norco, CA
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    5.0 star rating
    We rode with Talking Horse Stables yesterday morning & had a WONDERFUL time !!!  I'd HIGHLY recommend it. We met Susan & rode with Alyssa.  They were both very professional, helpful & kind !  The horses were very healthy & happy ~ so easy to handle too.  We will tell all of our friends to ride with Talking Horse !!!  We also loved the little Mexican Village & all the fun & interesting buildings on the land.  Would suggest for everyone looking for a terrific & safe trail riding experience to book your ride now !!!!
  • Matthew N.
    • Matthew N.
    • Irvine, CA
    • 1 friend
    • 23 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    It's sad to see some negative reviews because I had a such a great time. Susan and Alyssa were both professional and genuinely pleasant individuals. The view was beautiful and the temperature was just right to make this experience all that fulfilling. I will definitely be coming back here in the future.
  • Veronica R.
    • Veronica R.
    • Moreno Valley, CA
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    5.0 star rating
    We had the best time. I purchased this deal thru amazon local and I am so glad I did. I called on Friday and found out the earliest we could schedule was the following weekend. But then the next day on Saturday I got a call that a party of four cancelled and they had an opening for next day on Sunday. Of course I took it and was so pleased with the experience. My family had a blast!! The staff was so friendly and very knowledgable. Always kept us informed and the horses were so well tamed and beautiful. I rode "Tonka" he was great. My family was kept together during the ride and we would absolutely be returning again soon!! Thank you to the staff and horses for a great time.
  • Snow N.
    • Snow N.
    • Yorba Linda, CA
    • 0 friends
    • 22 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    My roommate and I went here for the trail ride. It's 35 a person, so for me thats a deal.
    My roommate put in the addy wrong, and ended up going to a different ranch, so we called and we were uber late, but they were sweet and took us anyway. We had danielle as the trail leader, she was real sweet and talkative.

    Overall it was a great experience.
  • Amber B.
    • Amber B.
    • Yorba Linda, CA
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    5.0 star rating
    Me and my 3 kids went horseback riding today and we all had a great time! We had a living social coupon and since they were booked out so far they extended the expiration date for us. My kids were a little scared before going, but the staff there were great with them and they helped them relax and have fun before we even got on the trail. The ride was so peaceful and we saw some animals along the trail. Our guide, Danielle was a great guide and my kids had a lot of fun talking to her ( Don't forget to tip!) I would  recommend this ranch for a fun day of horseback riding.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Teara C.
    5.0 star rating
    I took 4 ten-year old girls and 1 seven-year old on the trail to the top. It was the first time the girls and I had rode a horse. They are still talking about their amazing day and they want to go to horse camp now. The ranch is the perfect setting to explore and go riding. I'm so happy we chose Talking Horse Riding Stables for our first time riding. The pace was perfect for kids and the views are breathtaking!

    I would like to give a shout out to Susan and Larissa for their superb customer service. Larissa was our lead guide and she was so patient and responsive with the girls and myself. She did a great job making us all comfortable and she clearly explained what to do and why. She also shared some interesting information about the history of the ranch. I recommend this place to everyone.

    I'm going to take my hubby on the two-hour lunch trail soon!                        
    • Talking Horse Riding Stables - Great day at Talking Horse Riding Stables - Corona, CA, United States
      Great day at Talking Horse Riding Stables                                                                                                              Trina G.
      5.0 star rating
      We had an amazing time my 2 grandchildren my daughter and close friend and her daughter went... we had a wonderful time great trail the weather was great Susan and her crew are amazing... The horses are very trained and friendly :-) :-) :-)
      • Talking Horse Riding Stables - All the way on top of the trail - Corona, CA, United States