Boyd Ranch: ‘A gem in the middle of the desert’

By Cathy Loupy

Sun Correspondent

What if there was a 160-acre, semi-modern ranch about 10 miles out of town that you could rent for youth programs, educational workshops, fundraisers, concerts, reunions, weddings and roping events, trail ride gatherings, hiking group explorations and stargazing sleepovers?

There is and it’s called Boyd Ranch.

Wickenburg residents Alex and Jane Boyd purchased and donated the land in 2004 because they wanted to preserve it for the Wickenburg community. Alex is quoted on boydranch.org calling the property “a gem in the middle of the desert.” The Desert Caballeros Western Museum was the benefactor of this generous gift and maintains operational management.

The Hassayampa River runs through the ranch and is surrounded by public lands. Scenic Loop Road that takes you there can be a bit challenging after a rain, but that’s part of the price you pay to access this golden nugget resource.

Last weekend, a few families made the trek to partake in “Giddy Up Go” – a family fun weekend hosted by Boyd Ranch offering gymkhana, trail rides, equine workshops and an introduction to North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC).

Workshops were $5 and dry camping was available for $20 a night.

Kim Johnson, Boyd Ranch caretaker, said, “It was nice to see the families learn as a group. We ended up serving about 20 people, which is a small turnout considering the ranch capacity is for 200.”

The instructor roster was phenomenal.

Bonnie Pollack, Boyd Ranch board member, spoke on the history of the ranch and its mission statement.

Bob Insko, Region 2 NATRC board member, introduced the mission statement of NATRC and its requirements.

Sherri Bray, NATRC member gave a talk about logistics – what to take on a ride, timing your ride and how to tie up your horse safely.

Catherin McCord spoke about trail etiquette.

Karen Barber, Boyd Ranch board member, instructed participants on how to haul your horse safely.

Jamie Dietrich, NATRC horsemanship judge, talked about competitive trail riding and what judges look for during the competition.

Lawrence Serrano, American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) endurance rider, spoke about conditioning your horse for long distance.

Maureen Serrano, Boyd Ranch board member, demonstrated how to take your horse’s pulse and respiration rate.

Kelli Johnson, Equine masseur, KT, NATRC member and AERC member, did a hands-on workshop showing stretching exercises for your horse and did an equitation demonstration.

Even saddle-maker, Sierra Stuart, offered the importance of a proper fitting saddle and equitation.

After all the workshops, participants tested their skills by going on a five-mile mock competitive ride.

And that completed Saturday.

When the sun rose on Sunday, opening ceremonies signaled a fun-filled day of gymkhana events, an obstacle course and ended with a leisurely trail ride down the Hassayampa riverbed. Of course, they rode into the sunset.

“The turnout was good enough that we plan on doing this again next year,” said Pollack. “It’s all about safely having fun with your horse and that’s what we aim for. Now, we have equine events every weekend from now into March.”

If reading about Boyd Ranch has awakened your giddy up, then go to boydranch.org for more information and mark the calendar in February 2021 for a family fun horsey weekend in the middle of the desert “Out Wickenburg Way.”

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