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So far Diana has created 19 blog entries.

Horsemanship Clinic with Carlos Tabernaberri

My friend (and horse-sharer at home) Charley and I have been coming to Circle Z for 13 years now, and always enjoy the varied trail rides with such spectacular scenery.
But this year our annual trip turned out to be even more special than usual as we participated in the Horsemanship Clinic given by Australian clinician Carlos Tabernaberri.
The title of Carlos’s book — “Through the Eyes of the Horse” — (and yes, I am now the proud owner of an autographed copy) tells it all. His training methods are all based on understanding how a horse in a herd thinks and communicates, and then using that understanding to become the human leader that your horse wants you to be.
Carlos’s motto is CCKL = TOR: a human who provides Confident, Consistent, Kind Leadership will obtain Trust, Obedience and Respect from their horse. In Carlos’s world, you never kick your horse in the ribs to get him to go nor pull on the reins to get him to stop. Cues are much more subtle, and much more acceptable to the horse as they never involve pain. The watchwords are softness, lightness, and class (as in classy).
And the most fascinating thing about it? It works!
The 10 Circle Z guests who rode in the clinic each took a Circle Z horse – all of them kind, responsible trail horses used to fearlessly navigating the narrow trails and rocky hillsides of the south Arizona desert. But none of them had any experience working in an arena, learning to move each leg independently in response to a rider’s cues, or working with other horses in a group rather than in a line on a trail.
Yet after five days with Carlos instructing the riders and the riders instructing the horses, all were able to perform such maneuvers as turns on the forehand, turns on the haunches and rollbacks, and all were learning to carry themselves in a classical dressage frame.
I can hardly wait to begin trying out some of the same techniques on my horse here at home!

Written by Barb McLintock

By |February 1st, 2018|Horse Talk|0 Comments

Horseback Riding Covered Arena

This past summer, the owners of the Circle Z Ranch decided to build a covered riding arena on our large field located between the day and night pasture. This is a full size arena, measuring 150 feet X 250 feet. Being in the planning and hoping stages for several years, the final push for building this arena was our move into offering more horsemanship clinics, ensuring there a nice working space that was protected from the elements. We did not anticipate how much its’ popularity would go beyond these clinics, and our guests have responded very positively to this addition to our riding program.

Every Monday morning, our new guests are taken into the riding arena for their riding orientation. Wanting to make sure that each of our guests are clear about our riding hints for the trails, our wranglers cover all of the horse and trail riding safety tips. For those riders who are beginners, we further offer a quick horsemanship lesson on the basics on turning, stopping, self carriage, and how best to ride our horses based on western riding horsemanship.

On Tuesday mornings before the scheduled trail ride we are offering riding lessons to any guest that would like to learn more about riding, from trotting, to loping and anything in between! And guests are welcome to ask for lessons on any day they are at the ranch. This has been a huge success, and we have probably given more lessons since the start of the season than we have in the last 10 years! On any given day, guests have been in the arena learning and growing in their comfort with riding, and as a huge bonus we are including these lessons with our all-inclusive ranch pricing. This is such a testament to how important it is to have a designated space where guests feel comfortable and safe, and the footing is perfect for the horses.

Here are some of the comments we have received: “I wish this had been here when I first started riding here years ago, just in the two days of lessons before the trail ride my level of riding has improved so much”, “I am an experienced rider, but had not ridden this horse before, so it was extremely helpful to be able to try him at a lope inside the arena before going out on the trails”. You get the gist, this has been an amazing addition to our riding program as we continue to be fully committed to offering the best horseback riding program of any guest ranch.

In the future, perhaps even this summer, we will offer the arena for large gatherings during the guest off-season as well as a place for different horse related trainings. If you have a use in mind please let us know!

By |January 10th, 2018|Horse Talk|0 Comments

Lucia Nash, owner of the Circle Z Ranch

We are all very sad to announce the recent passing of Lucia Nash, owner of the Circle Z Ranch since 1975. Her legacy of conservation and her years of dedication to the ranch will continue on through her family, Rick, Diana and Preston Nash, as well as the Lorta family. A memorial and dedication is being planned the Fall of 2018 at the Circle Z Ranch. Following is her obituary.

Lucia S. Nash died peacefully at her home on December 20th, 2017. Born on August 29th, 1928, in Cleveland, OH to Kelvin and Eleanor Smith. She attended Hathaway Brown School and Smith College. After Smith College she worked for a brief time at White Motors.
Lucia met her future husband Richard Preston Nash, Jr at a White Elephant sale in Cleveland. After they married, the couple moved to her grandparents’ Crosscavan farm in Novelty OH, where she lived for the rest of her life. There she pursued her passion as a horse woman, a champion of nature and her philanthropic work.
Traveling to Arizona in the 1930’s with her family, she fell for the West. With her feet planted firmly in her Cleveland roots, her heart soared in the mountains of the Southwest. She reacquainted herself with the Circle Z Ranch after a thirty year absence, introducing her family to the splendor of Southern Arizona. When the opportunity of owning the ranch arose in the 1970’s, she jumped on it. She bought adjoining lands as they became available, and today nearly the same amount of land is protected and unspoiled as when the ranch began as a dude ranch in the mid 1920’s.
Her acquired love of nature handed down from her parents inspired her to volunteer tirelessly for the Nature Conservancy of Arizona and Ohio. Many conservation success stories exist today because of her dogged efforts. She also humbly worked to better organizations, such as Rainbow Children’s Hospital, The Garden Center (as it was once known), HB School, Severance Hall Restoration efforts, The Natural History Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Case Western University and others.
Lucia was also a passionate gardener, antique book collector, train buff and music lover. She was also a great story teller, weaving tales of her fairy tale life and her myriad of interests.
She is survived by her daughter Audrey Knight (Steve Ells), her son Richard P Nash of Montana (Diana M.), and her grandson Preston Nash. She leaves behind many close friends and family in the Cleveland area. A memorial service and reception will be held at the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, 7620 Old Mill Rd., Gates Mills, OH 44040 on Friday. January 5th at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial gifts to Hospice of the Western Reserve, 17876 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44110.

By |December 25th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Training with our young colts

Apollo is a rising 2 year old ranch bred horse.

Introducing young horses into the riding herd at the Circle Z Ranch is a process that takes several years and starts with the foundation of trust, which is the basis for all future training. Their first year of life is spent out in the mare pasture with their moms, growing and maturing, learning to navigate the terrain with mom in the lead. Our 2 yearlings Cocoa and Apollo, born in the Spring of 2015, were separated from their mares this past spring and spent the summer passing away the hours at the Bar Z Ranch. They are now ready to start learning how to be around humans and to be a part of the herd.

We first had Cocoa and Apollo in a pen adjacent to the main herd’s day pasture so they could all get acquainted over the fence. It was amazing to watch how many horses came to greet them, to touch noses, and how it thrilled these young ones. When they were ready to be turned out with the herd during the day, the process was seamless. Now, they are part of the herd, learning who the leaders are, how to behave in the group, and who to stay away from! The two are inseparable from each other for now, and are often seen running and kicking up their heels, moving in unison, all while being tolerated by the older horses. They still spend nights and Sundays in our corrals rather than being turned out to the night pasture, as they are still too young to protect themselves.

I have been working with these two for several weeks now and have seen great things from both. The most important thing is for them to trust me, to see me as a confident and consistent leader, and for me to show them kindness and patience. This means lots of head scratches, touching them all over, and to always show them respect while they are learning. At this young age I am focusing on the basic tenants for the rest of their learning; good ground manners and to be relaxed around humans. This means, in part, to walk confidently on a lead and to follow my feet; to stand calmly while I am at their side; to accept my hands touching them; to stop when I stop and not walk over the top of me; and to not nip at me or use me as a scratching post. This is a time of setting boundaries for acceptable behavior, just as the herd dictates on a daily basis. Interestingly, each took to these things with different levels of ease, revealing their insecurities and curiosities. It is so important during this process not to judge or label their behavior, but to work softly and patiently while they are learning to accept me as a human who means them no harm. It is also imperative to introduce things in a non-threatening way.

Cocoa and Apollo have much different personalities. A small black horse, Cocoa is the more daring and for sure the leader of the pair. He is curious about everything and likes to be at the center of the activity. Apollo is a stunning sorrel with a blaze, a little bit shier but so wanting to please. He would rather hide behind Cocoa, and does not like to be separated from him, and is slowly learning confidence through Cocoa’s examples. Both have very soft eyes, and both are very smart. The more time I spend with these two, their trust in me has risen dramatically. Both now come to me when they see me in the pasture. At first they were both a little resistant to haltering, but with patience on my part they are now very accepting of this. Both take a lead nicely and pass through gates without concern. Some of these things seem like such basics for a seasoned horse, but for a young one it is all new territory.

We are looking forward to starting their official ground work when Australian trainer Carlos Tabernaberri returns to the ranch this January. Stay tuned for more posts and photos as their training progresses!

By |December 17th, 2017|Horse Talk|0 Comments

Muffie’s Cheesecake Recipe

We are diligently working on assembling a Circle Z Ranch cookbook and boy are we finding some yummy recipes! Here is a sneak peak at one recipe from a long time guest who is quite the cook. This one is surprisingly simply and utterly delicious; it is a guest favorite. Hope you enjoy this Cheesecake recipe from Muffie’s kitchen.



Muffie’s Cheesecake

Make 1, 9 inch cheesecake

¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 ½ pound cream cheese, softened
¾ cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 cups sour cream
3 Cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust: Mix graham cracker crumb, butter, spices and sugar until combined. Press into bottom and partially up sides of 9 inch spring-form pan. Bake for 8minutes.

Filling: Blend cream cheese and sugar. Scrape down bowl and heat until there are absolutely no lumps. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla and pour over crust. Bake for 20 minutes or until set. Remove from oven.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Mix sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Carefully spread over cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes.

Allow cheesecake to cool completely and then chill.


By |October 2nd, 2017|Community|0 Comments

Circle Z Ranch Announces Winter Specials for 2017-2018 Season

p1020754Visiting a guest ranch in the Winter is honestly one of the best vacations you can gift to yourself and your family. An all-inclusive ranch vacation is not always an economical adventure, and at first glance the rates can look ominous. But time after time, old hands and new guests tell us they feel they get more value for the price they pay of visiting the Circle Z Ranch than with any other vacation. And that says a lot!

Just imagine being on vacation where your only decisions are should you take the morning and afternoon ride, or be more adventurous on the all-day ride? Should you watch your waistline at breakfast and eat oatmeal, or live a little with the fresh baked pastries, freshly prepared egg dishes and bacon? Would you sit on your porch and read that book that has been collecting dust for too long, or to join the other guests at cocktail hour? The beauty of a guest ranch is that it is like summer camp for kids, where everything is provided and you can be as active or as relaxed as you want. And we don’t nickel and dime you along the way. Your weekly rate covers everything: Meals, horseback riding, lodging, lessons, swimming pool, tennis courts, guided nature walks and astronomy nights, campfires and musical entertainment. And that, my friends, is the way to spend a vacation.

For those wanting to catch a break, we understand, so we offer 2 periods during our 6 month operating season where we reduce rates 10-15%.

Pre-Holiday Special, November 26th-December 15th, 2017

15%off our published rates!

Sunday to Sunday Stay: $1824

Sunday to Thursday Stay: $1216

Come and rejuvenate before the busyness of the holidays. Trail riding in the spectacular Arizona countryside will clear your head, while the homegrown Circle Z hospitality will ensure all your needs are met. Enjoy all the amenities of the Circle Z including riding on our countless trails, fabulous, fresh gourmet meals, lounging by the pool, and visiting with friends and family. We challenge you not to relax.

*Prices include tax and service charge.
*Prices per person for a standard room. Rates are different for cottages and suites.
*No other discounts apply.

Christmas Getaway Package, 4 days and 4 nights at $1000!
December 17-21, 2017 (Sunday to Thursday)

Take a breather before Christmas with this Sunday to Thursday package at rock bottom pricing! Included in this package are all meals, horseback riding, lodging and use of all facilities.

*Prices include tax and service charge.
*Prices per person for a standard room. Rates are different for cottages and suites.
*No other discounts apply.

Adults Only Special, January 14th-February 11th, 2018

10%off our published rates!

Sunday to Sunday Stay: $1931

Sunday to Thursday Stay: $1287

Pack your finest western wear and join us for a special time where we celebrate our grown-up guests. This adults only special is ideal for guests traveling solo, with friends, or as couples. We guarantee a  quiet and relaxing time. We plan your week, you plan your wardrobe!

*Prices include tax and service charge.
*Prices per person for a standard room. Rates are different for cottages and suites.
*No other discounts apply.

By |August 30th, 2017|Specials|0 Comments

An authentic dude ranch experience

An authentic dude ranch is not a resort, nor is it a place for a typical “vacation”. An authentic dude ranch offers true life experiences, where guests not just take a break from reality, but leap into a reality of a different nature. So what makes a dude ranch authentic? Living the history of the ranching lifestyle is the key to the real experience a dude ranch offers.

In the early days of dude ranching, city folks were drawn to the idea of living on the frontier, but without the danger of trying to fend for themselves in the hostile environments. Ranchers would often team up with hunting guides who were looking for safe, cozy places for their charges to stay, and to experience what life on the frontier was like. Also, the unspoiled landscapes, and deep mystery of the wilderness, drew the wealthy to seek out places of leisure where they could experience the wilderness without the work. Taking on dudes was a great way for ranchers to help supplement their operations, while providing once in a life-time experiences for the city folks.

Ranches opened their homes and hearths, providing meals and beds, but most importantly, the opportunity to live vicariously the life of the cowboy. Branding cattle, riding horses, exploring untamed wilderness, all in the safety and careful hospitality of these frontier cowboys. These dudes, as they were called, would return year after year, and they felt a part of the family, of something bigger than themselves, experiencing a change of pace from the cities.

Ranchers still open their homes and hearths to guests who come from all walks of life, seeking the intangibles of a reality that is quite different from a resort. We as owners and managers share our meals, we educate our guests about the horses and the wilderness we call our homes, sharing stories around the fireplace as our fore-fathers did. And we cherish every morsel, each spoken word, and the intangibles that our lives bring to our guests. It is not just about providing the best vacation of a lifetime, but the opportunity to experience life on a ranch.

By |June 30th, 2017|Community|0 Comments

Horsemanship with Carlos Tabernaberri

carlos 2

Working with a large herd of horses requires endless amounts of  patience, plus knowledge of how horses see things in their hierarchical world. Patience can be learned through conscious effort and practice. How horses see the world is often more elusive. Working with a horse trainer and clinician who has spent their lives training horses and studying horse behavior is key to keeping consistency in how we treat our horses.

Carlos Tabernaberri is such a person. I first met Carlos at the Apache Springs Ranch, located at the base of the Santa Rita Mountains. With my wranglers and several young horses in tow, we participated in a three day horsemanship clinic under Carlos’s guidance. What I admired so much about Carlos was his philosophy, which is not a bunch of steps, but a bunch of well thought out ways of how to treat horses, and how to create a relationship that puts the horse first always. That with consistency, confidence, kindness and leadership we can achieve the trust, obedience and respect of our horses. By the end of the clinic, and after I brought my little Mexican horse Chispas back to the ranch, I realized that my relationship had been changed with this horse, and his life had been changed as well. Once untrusting and reactive, Chispas is now a joy to ride and a trusting partner.

I had been to other clinics, and had worked with others who were self proclaimed “horse whisperers”, yet I never felt completely comfortable with how they treated the horses. Snapping the horses on the nose with the reins to “get their energy up” or running them wildly ad liberty in a round pen so they would be “focused” when it was time to work under saddle. Or bumping them harshly on the nose with a knotted halter to get them to back, or to stop, or to behave while doing ground work. These things just seemed wrong, yet I could not explain why. Until I started working with Carlos.2016-12-11-09-58-03

I invited Carlos to come to the Circle Z Ranch the following winter, both to work with my staff as well as to run a week-long horsemanship clinic for our guests. Carlos is the best thing that could have happened for our ranch and for our horses, because he truly gets horses, and has a comprehensive way of explaining why the above techniques lead to behavioral problems, when the horses are labeled bad, or dangerous, or high headed, or head shy. These issues stem from their handling, and not the horses inherent “personalities”. I realized that we had unknowingly created problems, and how with patience and sensitivity to the horses needs we would be able to remedy these issues.

Now I do not mean to insinuate that our horses were mistreated in any way. But sometimes it is refreshing and empowering to hear others, and to take to heart their philosophies, in order to weave them into your own mentality, and your own way of being. For me it is all about the horse, and putting them first, so that what we do with them is merely helping them to understand why it is ok to do what we ask of them. That what we do is never unkind, and is never forceful, and is always in the moment, the way horses are in the moment.  So much of what we do is right on, yet there were some things that were just not working. And the beauty of all of this is that my staff took the teachings of Carlos to heart, and admired him not as a “clinician”, but as a good friend who has excellent advice, and has a way with horses that was quite honestly astonishing.

We can’t wait to have Carlos come back next year, and for our guests to be able to learn from this gentleman who is profound and charismatic and kind. For our staff, our guests, and above all our horses, life is good, we are all grateful for the presence of this man.

For more information, please consider reading “Through the Eyes of the Horse” by Carlos Tabernaberri, available on Amazon.



By |February 20th, 2017|Horse Talk|0 Comments

Caring for the ranch horses


New shade port for day pasture

The Circle Z Ranch owns one of the largest private horse herds in Arizona, and keeping our herd healthy, both physically and mentally, takes diligence and a concerted effort amongst our staff. Giving the highest levels of care is what good ranches do, and the rewards are reaped every day by our guests and our happy horses alike. So what all goes into the care of our family? I sat with Miko and Jennie to list all the things we do for our horses.

Here are some interesting numbers: We feed an average of 250 tons of alfalfa each year, give on average 200 influenza and tetanus injections, and deworm 200 times. The herd is supplemented with 750 pounds of psyllium each year to prevent sand colic. We also supplement their regular diet of alfalfa with grain, bran, and fodder.

Starting in the Spring, when we close the ranch to guests, we prepare our horses to be turned out onto their 3000 acre summer pasture, where the grazing is unlimited. We brand our 3 year old horses and the new horses that have passed Circle Z scrutiny. We use the freeze brand method which is a more humane method than burning on brands. We also vaccinate each horse with the Tetanus and influenza injections, as well as de-wormer. We allow their shoes to fall off naturally as they roam the property.

The horses’ summer pasture has 3 large stock ponds, access to the creek, as well as plenty of shade trees for those hot days. We check on the horses at least twice a week and sometimes more, especially after a big storm. The horses tend to stay in their small group of buddies, and hang out in the same areas, making it easier for our cowboys to keep track of them. Our staff carries along basic horse first aid for those rare injuries, and are able to provide most of the vet care needed. Only rarely do we have to bring a horse in for extra care. A few of the horses get tender footed, so they are kept shod, helping them  move about easily.

Spring is also our time for breeding our five brood mares. We are currently using a stud by the name of Shiny Sparks, who is an AQHRA registered horse. He is a stocky sorrel stallion with a white blaze. We pasture him with our mares at our Creek Ranch property for one month, and usually know by three to four months if the breeding “took”.

As the summer months’ wane, it is time to round up our herd. Some of the horses start heading back towards the corrals as their internal clocks wind down, but many like to hold out for the last minute. Once the horses are all in, we start getting them ready for the guests. During one season, there are over 900 horse shoes expertly placed on our horses by Miko and Tavo. Once shoed we give them another dose of influenza/tetanus, and de-worm them again.

As our staff clears the trails from the summer storms, they also start exercising and tuning up each horse. We try to get 2-3 rides per horse before the guests arrive, which helps to get them back into shape and get their minds back on work.

Once the guest season starts the end of October, our winter schedule of care begins. We feed 16 bales of alfalfa daily between the morning and evening meals. The horses are on a strict time schedule. They know that when the feed truck runs, and the gates open in the early morning and at the 4:30 pm bell, it is time to move to their day or night pasture. For the horses who are working any given day, we feed them prior to their ride with 1 ½ scoops of grain and ½ scoop of bran. We give each horse 1 cup of psyllium daily for seven consecutive days each month to prevent colic. Each horse is also rotated into the fodder feeding area at least once, and sometimes twice, per week for that extra boost of nutrients from the freshly sprouted barley.

For most injuries we are able to take care of our own vet care. Minor cuts, abscesses, and saddle sores are treated with stitches, medications, and rest. For cases of colic, which happens rarely, we administer Benamine and Dyperone, and call the vet for tubing only if not relieved with conservative treatments. We have found that the psyllium works very well for colic prevention.

To keep our paddocks and corrals clean, there is the daily scooping of manure, which seems endless! The large day pasture is cleaned out 4 times each season with the tractor. The seven water troughs around the property are drained and cleaned with bleach 4 times each season.

We provide dental care for our horses as needed, and with their time spent out foraging naturally is not required as frequently as if they were fed hay year-round. This year we will be trying a new method called Natural Balance Dentistry. Stay tuned for another article describing the process, and benefits, of this particular method.

Thanks to our hard working and knowledgeable staff at the corrals, we are able to accomplish all this work on top of providing individualized attention to our guests. We are 100 percent committed to the health of our horses throughout their lives.

By |October 16th, 2016|Horse Talk|0 Comments

Rodeo fun at the Circle Z Ranch

Circle Z Ranch recently celebrated it’s 90th year as Arizona’s oldest continually operating guest ranch, and what a week it was! From a rodeo to a 1920’s party, with the week culminating with a grand afternoon party complete with food, bands and 300 guests; the week was magical.

The highlight of the week for our guests was definitely the rodeo, hosted along with a lunch ride cook out barbeque at our new Z Bar property. In the distant past, the Circle Z Ranch hosted a 4th of July picnic and rodeo, where thousands would be invited from the surrounding communities and ranches. So we thought it would be a fitting throw back event to host another rodeo, just minus the thousands of guests! Here are some photos from the afternoon.

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It takes teamwork to run a Team Roping event. Here, Rick Nash sits atop the chute, waiting for the cowboys to say go. Johnny and George are in the back ground making sure the steers are in their slot.

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Miko Lorta and his roping partner Bo Simpson breaking out of their barrier.

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When they caught up with the steer, the crowd went wild!    Well, maybe not wild, but you get the point.2016-04-26 13.49.33-1


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And then there was our own waitress, Kayla, who is a barrel racing champion, and boy did she ever deliver!

2016-04-26 14.22.07Kayla and her horse Fancy impressed everyone, including the Team Roping Cowboys, with her obvious skill. So fun to watch!

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Wrangler Kelly also showed off her amazing horsewoman skills.

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Others participating in this exciting afternoon were our wranglers Davien and Tavo.

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At the end of the day, our young guest Daven from New York told his mom that he wanted to be a cowboy, too, and learn how to rope. So he got his dream, roping the practice steer at Los Corales with Miko’s guidance. Perhaps one day he will be featured in a Circle Z Rodeo!







Perfect ending to a magical day! Thanks to all who helped organize this rodeo, especially Miko and Tavo for building the arena, for George and Johnny who helped load up the equipment, and to Jennie and Diana, who had the idea for this fantastic day! And of course, our fabulous guests who were game for a new experience. With friends like these, anything is possible. Thanks to Vicki Nielson, Bradley Green, Vannesa Haughtlin, and Diana Nash for contributing the photos.

By |May 14th, 2016|Community|0 Comments