Horseback riding lessons are strongly recommended for riders of all experience levels.  Beginners will focus on the fundamentals of horse riding. Intermediate riders will explore principles for riding at a more paced gait and further develop their riding skills. For the advanced rider, loping instruction is a refresher course enabling the rider to enjoy his/her rides at The Ranch to the fullest.

Basic Lesson

Offering hands-on horse work skills, the Basic Lesson will provide you with everything the novice horse rider needs. Your horseback riding instructor will teach the fundamentals, including proper mounting and dismounting, correct posture while in the saddle, turning and stopping, and walking in a safe manner. This lesson prepares you to enjoy the walk rides with the knowledge of basic horsemanship.

Horsemanship “FUNdamentals”

This lesson builds on the riding skills learned in the Basic Lesson. This course will help you to continue to develop confidence through balance and a proper posture. Expanding on reining, movement, and overall control of your horse, this fundamentals class will help you to ride with self-assurance. We strongly recommend that you complete this lesson before you saddle up for Intermediate Horsemanship.

Intermediate Horsemanship

Learn to guide your horse around barrels and cones at a walk, trot, and lope. Typically, this class starts with a review of Western-style riding. You then quickly move into controlling your horse in a synchronized manner under the watchful eye of your instructor.

Finally, you end with a progression into independent control, where riders can break from the group and lope around the corral. Wranglers are available to provide feedback and correct any inconsistencies in style, as well as assist with posture and control.

This class will expand on reining and control of the horse through all gaits. Ultimately, it provides access to all of the tools needed to pass your lope check – when you feel ready. Participation in this class is at your discretion and you may ride at your own comfort level. Your horseback riding instructor retains complete control of the class at all times, and ensures a safe and enjoyable riding experience for all.


The Lope-Check is the highest level of horsemanship offered at Tanque Verde Ranch. The purpose of this check is to assess the riders skill for safety. It is expected that riders be at an advanced level of horsemanship or have completed Horsemanship “FUNdamentals" and Intermediate Horsemanship prior to taking this course.  

Riders will be monitored for their ability to safely ride at a lope. Passing this check is a requirement to participate in a lope ride. Safety and control are of the utmost value. In this check, riders will be asked to ride at a lope with little or no prompting. Individual assessments will be offered as needed to assist the rider in making appropriate adjustments in order to pass the lope check and participate safely in our loping Sonoran trail rides.