Every summer has a soundtrack -- the music that best accompanies long days spent in the sunshine and warm nights spent under the stars. It is the music that when you hear it weeks or even years later, brings you right back to the moment. For the summer of 2018, these memories will be made at the Sun Valley Pavilion and at River Run with more than 25 live concerts planned between June and September. No matter if your tastes run to classical, retro, or up-and-coming, Sun Valley is the place to be all summer long.
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While Sun Valley may be best known for the modern sports of skiing and mountain biking, it’s still an Old West town at heart.
That’s why the horse pastures along Sun Valley Road are so beloved, and why the ideal summer day for many visitors and locals alike has long included a horseback ride.
The original horse stables at Sun Valley opened about the same time the Lodge did in 1936, and have been offering horse, wagon and sleigh rides ever since.
“They started with the horses as soon as they opened, and they’ve kept it going pretty well ever since,” Calvin Chatfield, the manager of the Sun Valley Stables, said.
Calvin has the tough exterior, but easy-going attitude that you’d expect from a real cowboy—as well as the proper boots and hat. Originally from Richfield, he’s “been around horses all my life.” Calvin said the stables and rides haven’t changed much over the years, but he still fondly remembers the not too distant past.
“In the old days, you could ride on into town, hitch your horse up and grab some breakfast before heading out on your way,” he recalled.
Sun Valley has 34 dude or trail riding horses and another 16 draft horses for pulling wagons and carriages. Most of the quarter horses have gentle and kind dispositions, but just like the people who ride them, they’re all individuals.
“Horses are a lot like people,” Clint said. “Most of `em are fine. Some are pretty special, just darn good at what they do, and you want to be around `em. Some … well, you just don’t really enjoy being around. They can just be a beast of burden.”
While Clint’s staff handles the high-maintenance horses, the more talented steeds are even able take folks who are a little afraid of them on enjoyable trail rides.
“We get a lot of first timers from all over the country. It’s one of the things they want to do, come here and ride horses,” Clint said. “Some people are scared to death. Most folks just have a little bit of caution. But once we get `em out there most people really enjoy it. They look at the horses like they’re big pets.”
The Sun Valley trail rides last about an hour. “That’s about all most folks can handle,” Clint said. There are a couple different routes; both offering great vistas of Sun Valley, Ketchum and the surrounding mountains.
Trotting through the sagebrush of the Wood River Valley on a summer afternoon today isn’t all that different from the way it was when the first settlers came to the region in the 1860s, or the way the first movie stars to visit Sun Valley explored the area in the 1930s. The lost in time feel of a trail ride is a big part of its appeal
“Some people, who are now moms and dads or grandparents came here to ride when they were kids, and now they bring back their kids or grandkids to share in the same experience,” Clint said. “A lot of people who have been coming here forever really like it because it’s always the same. It hasn’t changed.”
The importance of horses to Sun Valley really hasn’t changed too much over the years either. Horses have always been a part of the fabric that makes up this magical place. Whether you like to ride them or just see them grazing in the fields, we’re all happy to have horses around.
“Everybody loves horses, whether they ride them or not,” Clint said.
When: Rides are offered daily departing from the Sun Valley Stables at 9 and 11am, 1, 2:30 and 4pm. Reservations are recommended but walk-ins are accepted when there’s space. Riders should arrive at least 15 minutes before departure.
Where: The Sun Valley Stables on Sun Valley Road, halfway between Sun Valley and Ketchum.
Ages: 8 and up.
Gear: All necessary riding gear is provided, but riders should wear good shoes, preferably cowboy or hiking boots. Long pants are also recommended. Kids under 18 must wear a helmet.
For more information, please call 208.622.2387
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