Riders from Pusch Ridge Stables head out into the Santa Catalina foothills in 2001.


Pusch Ridge Stables has stopped offering horse trail rides at Catalina State Park, ending a 38-year run.

The business at 13700 N. Oracle Road will still provide horse boarding, training, lessons, and horse sales, said Frank Pitts, who co-owns the business with his wife, Vickie.

The decision by the company, which is located at Catalina State Park’s north end and was the park’s sole trail-riding concessionaire, leaves no other trail-riding service at the park proper, though horse owners can use the trails and facilities.

Pitts said a combination of factors led the couple to shutter the trail-riding business, including the inability to post a sign advertising the business that met Pima County’s approval, an injury claim that caused the company’s insurance rates to become unaffordable and the couple’s desire to take things a little easier.

“After you’ve been doing it for 38 years, sometimes it’s time to slow down a little,” said Pitts, who is 68 but has no immediate plans to retire.

The company is in the process of selling off its trail-riding horses, he added.

Though Catalina State Park has lost its trail-riding concession, a public equestrian area with water and corrals is still available, and the stables at the nearby El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort offer trail rides in the area.

Sarah Steele, operations director for Arizona State Parks, said the state isn’t planning to bid out a new trail-riding concession at Catalina, a roughly 5,500-acre park established in 1974.

But park officials are willing to listen to partnership ideas from qualified operators, Steele said.

Several boarding stables and riding schools are in the vicinity of Catalina State Park but none offers trail rides to the general public. Other stables offer trail rides in the Tucson Mountains near Marana and Oracle.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner