Type of horses:
American Quarter Horses and Paint Horses, as well as some heavier breeds.
Nature of horses:
Wide range of characters to suit your individual tastes and all are well mannered and well trained.
Height of horses:
14.2hh - 17hh
These ranching holidays are based on a genuine working cattle ranch, where you are able to join in with the ranch work, as well as learning about the things cowboys like to do for fun. The Colorado Cattle ranch was set up by a farmer named Leonard Briggs, as a homestead in the 1880s. He soon realised the land was no good for farming crops and invested in cattle instead - this was cattle country after all! By the end of the century he had set up a business welcoming guests and trading in horses, food and water, with travellers on the great stagecoach route to Chicago - the Stagecoach Bunkhouse is still known as such to this day.
The ranch welcomes cowboys of all kinds - from timid beginners to fearless veteran cattle-hands - with a range of horses to suit your skill and comfort level. All the instructors are cowboys by profession, regularly competing in rodeo and cutting competitions, as well as being members of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and the NCHA (National Cutting Horse Association) amongst others. They have years of knowledge and experience and are happy to be able to share all of this with you. Once the day's cattle work is done and before dinner is served, you will be offered the opportunity to further your riding education with lessons at the "Cowboy School". Follow a bespoke programme, invented, developed and refined by the staff at the cattle ranch which they say will see any guest go from "never having tried", to successfully "roping off a horse" in one week.
So head out to the wild west and experience life on a real working cattle ranch. Saddle up and ride with the cowboys on an adventure of a lifetime; there is no "nose-to-tail" riding here. Explore the varying terrain from the back of a responsive and well trained quarter horse, assisting in drives and cattle sorting, as well as checking water sources, mending fences and rounding up the strays. Alternatively, you can take it easy and enjoy the peace and restful quiet of this little corner of the Old American west.
NB// The 1991 western/comedy film 'City Slickers", starring Billy Crystal, Jack Palance and Daniel Stern, was recently re-released as a collectors edition, featuring a short extra entitled "The Real City Slickers". The piece documents a day in the life of guests staying at the Colorado Cattle Ranch!
The main lodge is the very heart of the ranch, acting as the meeting point for all meals and social events, as well as housing the laundry facilities, indoor pool, hot tub, gift shop, as well as the bar, serving hot and cold drinks, and snacks.
Guests are accommodated in either the deluxe stagecoach bunkhouse, or one of the charming log cabins on the site. The original bunkhouse was built in 1897 and was home to the cattle ranching family, as well as an important overnight stop for stagecoach travellers passing through Colorado state. Now, the house has been renovated and modernised, with five private bedrooms, each featuring en-suite bathrooms, queen sized double beds and a private entrance way. Here you find the superior rooms.
The newly constructed cabins have been designed to cater for single travellers and groups of friends and house the standard rooms. Each room features two comfortably sized single beds, as well as private bathrooms. All feature well appointed entrance porches, which are a favourite spot to enjoy your morning coffee or socialise with neighbours and friends.
Both the bunkhouse and cabins are close to the main lodge and offer excellent views across the horse meadows, from where the rising sun will greet you each morning. All the rooms feature a mini coffee bar, with coffee maker and all the provisions needed for making tea and coffee, as well as a small refrigerator. In the summer the rooms are air-conditioned and they are heated in the winter, for comfort at any time of year. Unlimited hot water is available to soak away any soreness or stiffness after a long day in the saddle and fluffy down duvet offer a comfortable and cosy nights sleep.
Bed linen and towels are provided in each room; including bathrobes and flip flops. Baskets of goodies and fizzy drinks are available in the main lodge, for your snacking needs.
There is also a campsite which is ready to receive guests who would like to experience a true ranch campout with an open fire for cooking on!
Make sure you pack a healthy appetite! Guests at the Cattle ranch will not have to go hungry. You will be served three home cooked traditional ranch meals every day, as well as being able to choose snacks and drinks, as desired, in order to keep you full and energised during your stay. Breakfast includes a choice of eggs, bacon and sausages (or the traditional "Biscuits and Gravy"), hot and cold cereal, fresh fruit and yogurt. On a Saturday, the boss cooks her speciality of homemade pancakes! Lunch is normally served in the dining room - unless you are out on the trail, or visiting a neighbour's ranch for the day. Typically you will be served hearty soups with sandwiches, fresh fruit, bread and salad. A packed lunch of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and pudding will be prepared for you, to take away, during days on the trail.
Each night, the evening meal will be served in the dining room following happy hour - typically around 6-7pm. Meals are always filling and may be BBQ ribs, chicken, buffalo, beef or pork, served with a variety of appropriate side dishes, bread, salad and delicious desserts. Tuesday night is Margarita night, with "all you can drink" Margarita on the house.
Specific dietary requirements can be catered for, with prior notification.
Those looking for a little more relaxation will find an indoor swimming pool, sauna and hot tub, try out cowboy games in the horse pit, or a game of badminton or volleyball on the on site court, as well as the opportunities to buy some souvenirs from the gift shop.
Or, why not sit back on your wonderful private porch, grab a good book and a cup of your favourite warming drink and immerse yourself in a world that is simple and fulfilling. Sit back and listen to the sounds of the 800 head of cattle and the cowboys who look after them, far away from the bustle and stress of everyday city life.
Other offsite activities are available, including excursions to a local golf course.
Health requirements: You must be fit and active in order to take part in the cattle work - depending on the time of year, you may spend up to 50 hours in the saddle during the week.
Age limit: 18 and over
Tuition: Yes - in cutting, roping and other practical cattle work skills.
Included: Six days all inclusive accommodation, cattle work on the ranch each day, as well as lesson at "Cowboy School" in the afternoons. Colorado state taxes at 2.9% are also included.
Not included: Purchases from the gift shop, alcoholic drinks, staff gratuities, travel insurance, airport transfers and flights.
Check in at the ranch is after 3:30pm on arrival day.
We can arrange transfers for you, between Denver airport (or surrounding hotels) and the ranch. Transfers run twice daily, once in the morning (departing the ranch at 9am) and once in the afternoon (departing the ranch at 3:30pm), at an additional cost of $175 per person.
Many major car hire firms are also available at Denver International airport and maps, with driving directions, can be provided.
Airport: Denver International Airport
Cattle work is the core of a rancher's life, it encompasses his livelihood as well as his recreation. During this week long stay, you will ride the range, helping with any ranch work that needs to be done, as well as working with and handling the cattle. Small groups of guests ensures that you will have lots of time in the saddle and be given the opportunity to actively participate in the daily routine of the ranch, from grooming and saddling to sorting the cattle.
A standard week here is six nights.
A typical day will follow the itinerary set out below - please note that this is a flexible stay and you are welcome to take part in as much or as little as you would like;
Time to rise with the sun and help to catch, feed, groom and saddle the horses ready for the day of work ahead.
Usually served between 8:30am and 9:00am at the lodge, unless you're doing a big gather or cattle drive, in which case it will be much earlier and most likely on the run.
Typically, you will join the cowboys out on the ranch and help to get the morning cattle work done. You will leave the corral as soon as you have finished breakfast and will most likely not get return here until midday - unless you are on a full day drive, or work takes you too far from the ranch to get back in time for lunch.
Lunch is served at the homestead between 1:00pm and 2:00pm. If you are out all day on a drive, or helping out on a neighbours ranch, then sandwiches and snacks will be provided for you.
For those who wish, Cowboy School runs most afternoons and is a great place to practice some of your roping, penning, cattle handling, cutting and horsemanship skills. Some days, the morning work will continue through to the afternoon and you may not get back until dinner time. Be aware that if you should choose to take part in cattle work, it is likely be a very long day! On these long days Cowboy School may not run, but for those who do not want to take part in the cattle drives, there is always the option to take a lovely scenic ride during the afternoon.
Happy hour at the bar begins as soon as the horses are fed and put to bed for the night (usually around 6:00pm), on the patio outside the lodge. A hearty and fulfilling dinner is served soon afterwards.
The cattle work schedule will be discussed with you at the beginning of each day. This is the perfect opportunity to decide which activities you would like to take participate in. Horses will be assigned to you according to your ability and what activity you choose to do. You may find that you have the chance to ride several during the week, should you wish to. The activities during your stay will range depending on what time of year you arrive;
Guests staying in the Spring (May and June) will be able to watch or even take part in cattle branding, as well as gathering, sorting and moving the groups to their summer pastures. All the old fences surrounding the pastures will need to be checked and fixed if necessary. Day long mounted drives will take place each week, until all the cattle are settled in their new summer grazing. However, spring activities are hard to predict; this is the time of year for new calves to be born. The weather, sickness, calving and feeding will all play a part in the daily work routine.
If you should choose to arrive in the Summer (July, August and early September), then be prepared to help gather up the bulls, check the cattle's water and mineral supplies, as well as ensuring that there are no gaps or holes in broken fences. Whilst out patrolling, keep an eye out for fence jumpers or strays - these will need to be driven back to where they belong. As a working cattle ranch, the livestock will need to be moved to new grazing each week and drives may take up the best part of your day!
During the Fall or Autumnal season (Late September and October) the work doesn't stop. Now it's time for the spring calves to be weaned and sorted and all the cattle will need their yearly vaccinations and medications. During a typical week, you will be able to take part in a number of short cattle drives, as all the livestock need to be moved to their winter yards.
|Minimum group size:||1|
|Maximum group size:||26|
|Ability description:||Beginner to Advanced. Previous western riding experience is not essential. Riders should be happy to control a forward going, well trained horse independently in open country.|
|Type of ride:||Cattle Ranching.|
|Total riding time:||Dependent on the amount of work to do and how much you want to take part. Riding times can be anything up to 50+ hours in the saddle during a week stay.|
|Departure dates:||2017: Sunday departures to suit between May and October (inclusively). Trips ends on Saturday, so is 6 nights in total. Shorter stays may be arranged if space permits; please contact the office for further information.|
Standard Rooms: £1854 per person.
Superior Rooms: £1933 per person.
Prices include 6 nights accommodation, all meals, drinks and snacks at the ranch (excluding alcoholic beverages), as well as all horse riding at the ranch (riding times and duration will depend on what work needs to be done on the day). Colorado state taxes of 2.9% have also been included in these prices.
Not included: alcoholic drinks, gift shop purchases, gratuities, airport transfers, travel insurance and flights.