At Lori Bridwell's Arizona Cowboy College in Scottsdale, you'll learn not just the fundamentals of riding, roping, and fixing a fence line, but a little horse-whispering, too. ("Approach shoulder-to-shoulder as horses do, so you're respecting their space.") Cowboys-in-training get their bearings at the "in-town ranch" in Scottsdale, with short rides into the nearby desert, then head 15 miles north to a working ranch, where they sleep in bunkhouses or under the stars – literally. "Cowboys don't sleep in tents, else how would they escape a stampede?" Bridwell says. After 7 AM, you're in the saddle till late afternoon, when you brush and feed your horse. "It's a super-empowering experience," Bridwell says. "You're in charge of a 1,200-pound animal."
Go: Forty minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Cost: $2,250 for five days.
Bring: Knife for cutting hay bales.