LAUGHLIN — Stuart Rice was visiting Laughlin from his home in Minnesota last week when he picked up a Pot A Gold Stables flyer and decided to go for a trail ride.
“It was great,” he said following two hours aboard Henry, exploring the hilltops and riverside paths of the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails. “Very scenic. We went up around the top, then down by the river.”
Pot A Gold Stables, owned by Jim and Sheila Peterman, has set up shop at the equestrian corrals at the Trails, near the base of Davis Dam. The facility is a pilot demonstration project at the park, envisioned since its opening in 2012.
“Concessions to support the trail recreation uses have always been a plan for the Heritage Greenway Trail,” Community Development Manager Deborah Murray told the Laughlin Nevada Times.
Clark County, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service are hoping to add bicycle rental and food operations to the mix.
“Pot A Gold’s successful operation from this location will demonstrate to other concessionaires that providing services to the recreationists in this area is good business,” Murray stated.
The Petermans are no strangers to working on public lands. Their Hitchin’ Post Stables in Flagstaff and Mountain Ranch Stables in Williams operate in the Kaibab and Coconino National Forests via permits with the U.S. Forest Service; and they’ve brought their horses to the Trails the last two years during the Wings & Wildlife and National Public Lands Day events.
Henry is one of 10 horses currently calling the large corral at the park home but the herd will grow over the next couple of weeks as things get settled.
All Pot A Gold horses are “rock solid dude string horses,” said Jim Peterman. “They’ve been proven. They ride, drive and pack.”
“The horse responded very well,” said Rice after his trail ride. “I had no problem whatsoever.”
“A lot of them we’ve raised from babies,” explained Peterman as he pointed to a Palomino in the corral. “That one, Trooper, is just four years old. I came out in the morning and his mama had him overnight. He was laying there and the blood was running out of him. I found his umbilical cord didn’t quite seal up when he was born, so I ran over and grabbed a piece of baler twine and I tied it shut. I had to milk the mother a little bit and I tube fed him because he was in pretty tough shape — he was just about gone — and I got a little milk in him. It was nip and tuck for the first couple of days but after that he popped right up, stood and kept going. So we named him Trooper.”
Pot A Gold will soon begin offering wagon rides at the Trails, as well.
“We do this other places,” explained Jim Peterman. “Say there’s grandpa and grandma and mom and dad and some grandkids. Maybe two of the grandkids are too young to ride. Two of the kids are old enough to ride, so they ride with mom and dad. Grandpa and grandma and the younger kids ride in the wagon while mom, dad and the kids are on horseback. We’ll meet down on the river for a soda pop or whatever.
“We’re looking at partnering up with a couple of different organizations to possibly do some cowboy cookouts down on the river,” he said. “There’s some permits yet that need to get done for the food part of it.”
Pot A Gold’s arrival could add another level to the tourism industry in Laughlin and the Tri-state.
“We are working with the Petermans to set up tours and also room packages to help promote this great new amenity to Laughlin,” said Sean Hammond, general manager of the Aquarius Casino Resort. “There are many horseback riding fans out there, and the trails and natural beauty of area will complement our guests’ visits to Laughlin.”
“I’d recommend it to anybody,” said Rice.