Cuadra San Francisco may be one of Los Cabo's least publicized gems, but the stables (Cuadra is Spanish for "stable.") are easy to find, particularly during the spring and summer months. Just look for the gorgeous stretch of bougainvillea flowering near Cabo Real Golf Course in the Tourist Corridor, which connects cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.
The stables are located just behind this seasonal explosion of color, and they house close to 50 horses that are available to locals and visitors alike for dressage, riding lessons, scenic trail rides and romantic canters along the beach, as well as special events like marriage ceremonies and movie shoots. (The stable residents' most notable appearance came in the Brad Pitt sword and sandal epic Troy.)
Los Cabos' only equestrian center offers scenic trail rides over a variety of terrains — Photo courtesy of Cuadra San Francisco
Cuadra San Francisco is the third equestrian center opened by Francisco Barrena–a master horseman who trained under the legendary Portuguese dressage expert Nuno Oliveira–and the first in Los Cabos. Francisco and his son Valente have maintained the school of equitation since 1994, accepting riders at all skill levels and virtually all ages for Alta Escuela (or "High School," the highest level of classical dressage).
The Barrenas' biggest tourist draws, however, are private individual and group trail rides led by bilingual guides and traditional Mexican horse-drawn carriages for marriage and renewal of vows ceremonies. The trail rides provide a remarkable introduction to the beauty and diversity of Los Cabos, and they range from romantic beachfront rides along the shores of the Sea of Cortez to explorations of hillside and even desert terrains, with wonderful views of the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range and the Great Thorn Forest.
Cuadra San Francisco offers riding lessons for kids ages six and older — Photo courtesy of Cuadra San Francisco
Don't be afraid to bring the kids. Cuadra San Francisco maintains pony-sized horses and saddles for children ages six and up, and the staff are happy to teach youngsters the basic foundational skills needed for a lifetime of horseback riding. They also offer classical dressage and archery lessons for kids, the latter being one of many age-old disciplines still taught by Francisco and Valente Barrena.
Falconry and polo lessons are available, and Western riding is something of a specialty. México has a proud tradition of horsemanship–cowboys and rodeos both originated south of the border–and Cuadra San Francisco is an excellent place to learn techniques like the reigning stop. Visitors may, however, want to draw the line at rejoneo, better known as the art of fighting bulls from horseback.