Colorado Dude Ranch

Horseback Riding Program

A horseback riding vacation at The Home Ranch will, without a doubt, be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. Our wranglers at The Home Ranch are well versed in Natural Horsemanship and love sharing their passion for horseback riding with guests of all different experience levels. From our typical 2-hour trail ride to our all-day rides, you are bound to never tire from the stunning Routt National Forest, which totals over 1.1 million acres. If trail riding is not quite your calling, we have the answer for that as well. We proudly offer a multitude of lessons, workshops and clinics back at the ranch, from working cattle and roping to colt starting and horsemanship workshops. If the kids also want something more out of their horse experience, they can join our junior wrangler program. Whether it is or isn't your first rodeo, our horse program is set up to please a multitude of interests and experience levels.

Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch

Experience Horse Yoga Retreat with Tammy Pate

Horseback Riding - Our Wranglers

Our wranglers at The Home Ranch are well versed in the techniques of Natural Horsemanship and love sharing their passion for horseback riding with you. Wherever you are in your riding, whether you are a seasoned equestrian or an absolute beginner, we believe we offer a horseback riding experience that will greatly surpass your expectations.
 
Upon arriving at The Home Ranch, there will be a time when everyone sits down to his or her first dinner. This is when the Head Wrangler comes to greet you and talk briefly about your riding experience. From there we are prepared to match you up with the horse that will help in making it the best horseback riding experience you have ever imagined.

Home Ranch Horsemanship

No matter how much or how little experience you may have, all riders go through a brief orientation before getting on their horse. This helps bring horses back into our minds, and allows us to begin our journey to becoming better riders. One of the most important aspects of horseback riding at The Home Ranch is woven throughout our entire horse program, Natural Horsemanship. Although the term itself is often overused and misunderstood, we relate this closely with what we consider our own variation, Home Ranch Horsemanship. What this means to the guest is that the experience is bound to go far beyond that of a typical head-to-tail ride. Your understanding of communication between yourself and your horse is what will be not only discovered, but also advanced and understood. It is again one way that we are able to take your horseback riding experience from ordinary to extraordinary.

Horseback Riding Activities Beyond Trail Riding:

Working Cattle

There is one activity that is widely known by many if not all of our returning guests, and that is the Friday morning Cattle Competition. Although many dude ranches do some type of cattle work or team penning, working cattle at The Home Ranch is different. You may be able to consider the actual cattle competition a type of team penning, which it is, but it is not your normal team penning. Just like our riding program, we like to take a little different light to moving cattle. We like to call it Home Ranch Stockmanship.
 
What this means is that instead of running the cattle around the arena and making fools of ourselves, we like to better understand how to move cattle efficiently. We practice this not only in the cattle competition, but sometimes we practice it out in the pasture or big meadow. We like to remember that we cannot communicate our goals directly to the cattle unless we are effectively communicating with our horse.
 
Once you see this done, you will be amazed. It is a form of stockmanship that is largely overlooked, and widely misunderstood. Many would think that the faster you can move on horseback, the better. The truth is, the faster you go on horseback, the less predictable the cattle become. Just like with horsemanship, it is one of the 'Less is more' situations, and still sure to thrill you just as much as any other type of 'Ranch Rodeo'.
 

Roping

What better way to truly understand what it takes to be a cowboy than to learn the art that is western roping. Although many seasoned cowboys may make roping look like an easy skill to execute, it is only because they have been doing it their entire life. Once we hand you a rope and delve into the basics of what it takes to actually spin the rope above your head, you will soon begin to understand how much effort and practice it truly requires. The roping we do here at The Home Ranch is entirely from the ground, and rarely from horseback. We find that there is enough to be learned about riding a horse alone, as well as with roping from the ground. Mixing the two of them together is something that takes much more than a brief weeks practice.
Every once in a while, the wranglers enjoy getting together after a hard days work and throwing some loops. Occasionally they even get to try their skills out on live cattle, a sight to be seen to say the least. If you find an interest in roping, you are more than welcome to watch them during one of their evening ropings, should one be taking place while you are here.
 

Natural Horsemanship Training

We take pride in the fact that we can lay claim to having one of the best herds of horses in the dude ranch industry. This is not something that comes easily or often, but a large portion of this claim is due to the way we operate our entire horse program. As mentioned within the Natural Horsemanship tab under "Horseback Riding":[Horseback Riding], we have developed a type of Natural horsemanship that we like to call Home Ranch Horsemanship. It is within this type of training that our horses as well as our riders are asked far beyond what your typical head to tail ride would ever be able to do.
 
Although we consider this type of training to constantly be taking place on the trail, we also like to help our guests understand what it is that we are after in implementing such techniques. If you should so desire, we would be more than happy to put on a preview called "What Home Ranch Horsemanship Means to Us." This would walk you through a variety of different training techniques we like to use both from the ground as well as out on the trail. Many people tend to think that the horse is the only one being trained in this type of situation. If you have a minute, we would love to help you understand how the horse is not the only one getting an education out of our training techniques.
 

Private Lessons

Although we often receive recognition for the personal attention given on all of our trail rides, some people would prefer a more one-on-one type lesson. We would be more than happy to make this happen. Whether it be time in the indoor or outdoor arena that you are after, or even personal time out on the trail, we are confident that with a private lesson we can see to it that you are more comfortable in the saddle in no time. The only special thing that we ask in return is advance notice, and the recognition that private lessons are subject to postponement depending on wrangler availability.
 

Safety Policy

The Home Ranch safety policy is pretty simple. We encourage all participants to read the sign posted at the barn, which reads: Under Colorado Law, an equine professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in equine activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, pursuant to section 13-21-119, Colorado Revised Statutes. There is however another aspect to our safety policy, and it has to do with helmets. We do not provide or require any helmets when riding. If you would like to wear a helmet, that is fine and we respect that decision. We do ask that you either bring your own, or find a place in Steamboat that has one you can purchase.
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Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch
Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch

Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch

Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch
Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch

Trail Riding - Our 2-Hour Trail Ride

 

When embarking on your next horseback riding vacation, the last thing you need to worry about is if we are going to have the right mount picked out for you when you get here. Quite frankly; this is our job. Upon arriving at The Home Ranch, there will be a time when everyone sits down to their first dinner. This is when the Head Wrangler comes to greet you and talk briefly about your riding experience. After doing this, we can than make an informed decision about which horse would suit your needs or wants for the week.
 
In terms of actually teaching the first time rider, that too is a large aspect of our job, and something that we are very comfortable doing. The first ride will be set up according to riding ability. From then on, it is up to you to decide who you would like to ride with. If the skill levels vary throughout the group you may be with later in the week, the wrangler and other riders will meet you where you are, and not progress until you are comfortable.
 
No matter how much or little experience you may have, all riders go through a brief orientation before getting on their horse. This helps bring horses back into our minds, and allows us to begin our week long journey to becoming better riders. Whether it has been one week since you have ridden, or thirty years, our program is meant to adapt to your needs and meet you at your level. Being comfortable on horseback is something we take very seriously, and the only way to get there is by truly understanding where you currently are, and where you would like to go from there.

Half Day Ride

Our half-day rides allow you to get a little further off the ranch and into the vast Routt National Forest than our 2-hour rides. A half-day ride consists of a total of about 4 hours in the saddle with a lunch break somewhere in between. Most of these rides depart from the barn at 9 A.M. and return around 2 P.M. With the myriad of trails, there is a number of ways that such rides can be pieced together. As for difficulty, they too can be adaptable, but usually involve steeper grades and narrower trails. If you ever find that the 2-hour ride is not enough time in the saddle, feel free to try a half-day, a little effort for a whole lot of reward.

All Day Ride

Our all-day rides are the longest rides that we offer. These compute to around 6 hours in the saddle, and are guaranteed to leave you speechless. The views and wildlife alone are completely awe-inspiring. Add that to the things you would like to learn about horses, and you can see the rocky mountains like many others can only dream of. The difficulty of these rides is moderate. There is nothing easy about being in the saddle for 6 hours when you are not used to it, but that can be remedied with the hot-tub back at your cabin. There are often steeper trails and sometimes very faint trails on these trips, so if you have an overwhelming sense of adventure that our other options cannot satiate just let us know, we would be glad to help.

Western Riding or English Riding

One of the most common situations we encounter here at The Home Ranch has to do with our "style" of riding, Western riding. Nearly every week, we encounter guests who have riding experience solely within the English riding discipline. They often are curious as to how our program addresses this type of situation. Being the progressive and integrative program that we are, there is nothing to fear if this situation is one you relate to. One of our goals within our horse program is to be extremely open-minded and facilitating of every rider's needs. The way that we go about this- when it comes to someone with only English riding experience- is three-fold.
 
First, we always make it a point to have wranglers who are savvy in a multitude of different disciplines, English included. This allows our staff to better understand your background and how you were taught to ride. Knowing this will allow them to better facilitate one of our other goals: meeting you where you are at when it comes to your experience level.
 
Understanding more about what our guests know- in terms of English riding- makes it easy for us to progress your riding skills throughout the week. Although we ride primarily western, we are more than happy to further certain skills from the English riding discipline as well. This leads into our third goal: getting you to where you want to be as a rider.
 
Whether you would like to better post a trot (as with English) or better sit the trot (as with Western), we are more than happy to set these goals, and help you get there. There are many similarities between the two disciplines, and just as many differences.
 
Overall, although there are differences, The Home Ranch horse program is the right fit for any aspiring rider. No matter what your experience may be, we make it a point to help you become a better rider by the time you leave. We also hope that you have an abundance of fond memories of what it takes to get there, and how good it feels to better understand horses, as well as yourself.

Teaching the Novice Rider

When embarking on your next horseback riding vacation, the last thing you need to worry about is if we are going to have the right mount picked out for you when you get here. Quite frankly; this is our job. Upon arriving at The Home Ranch, there will be a time when everyone sits down to their first dinner. This is when the Head Wrangler comes to greet you and talk briefly about your riding experience. After doing this we can than make an informed decision about which horse would suit your needs or wants for the week.
 
In terms of actually teaching the first time rider, that too is a large aspect of our job, and something that we are very comfortable doing. The first ride will be set up according to riding ability. From then on, it is up to you to decide who you would like to ride with. If the skill levels vary throughout the group you may be with later in the week, the wrangler and other riders will meet you where you are, and not progress until you are comfortable.
 
No matter how much or little experience you may have, all riders go through a brief orientation before getting on their horse. This helps bring horses back into our minds, and allows us to begin our week long journey to becoming better riders. Whether it has been one week since you have ridden, or thirty years, our program is meant to adapt to your needs and meet you at your level. Being comfortable on horseback is something we take very seriously, and the only way to get there is by truly understanding where you currently are, and where you would like to go from there.
Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch
Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch
Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch
Horseback Riding Vacations at Colorado Dude Ranch