OK, forgive the bad pun in the title. But if you're looking for an authentic but accommodating ranch experience in Colorado, this is the one.
It takes a bit of a ride to get there (a couple of hours from the Denver airport), but from the moment you step out into the grounds you'll know the trip was worth it. Darcy is a warm, organized and thorough host, providing easy access to everything you'll want to experience. The rooms are warm and quaint, with plenty of room to stretch out and enough modern equipment to make you feel comfortable (yes, there is excellent wifi...just don't get distracted by it). Thomas and Janet will introduce you to your horses, who are extremely well-trained and fun to ride (ask for Amigo if you prefer a big horse with a little bit of attitude). The rides out into the ranch property are stunning and worth the hours you can spend on them. The meals provided are comfort food at their finest, with plenty of options...they clearly also accommodate special food needs if you have them. Campfires at night under the stars end a spectacular day (not to mention the pool and hot tub to soothe that aching back...did I mention Amigo has a little attitude, in the best possible way?).
From beginning to end, my entire crew loved our experience there. I may not be a cowboy now, but I did manage to step into it just enough to give me an entirely new worldview. Can't wait to get back to the ranch someday.
This was my third visit to a ranch in Colorado.Definitely, this was the best one. Amazing horses, excellent team, you will never ride through the same place during the week.The room was very comfortable and the food was great.
We stayed from a Sun afternoon to Thursday noontime (we left early because of other vacation plans). Our room in the bunkhouse was great - perfect for me and my husband. We sat out on the deck in the evening, watching the horses & visiting with our neighbor who was there on holiday from England.
Food was very good - Sheila and the kitchen staff certainly make sure you have enough to eat!
The wranglers - Tom & Janet - were wonderful, and made certain that you were matched with a great horse. The riding took us through lots of wide open pastures, checking on cattle and fences. A word of caution to the fair skinned - wear sunscreen and/or long sleeved shirts! I do wish that there was more trotting and/or loping, but most of the other guests were beginner riders, so I understood. On our last morning (Thursday) at the ranch, we did some sorting and games with the cattle, so the riding was a bit faster then.
We also went fishing and shooting in the evenings - both very enjoyable.
The best part about the week was the other guests - it was great fun getting to know the others (from Georgia, the UK, Germany, and Holland).
First the basics. We stayed in the black rock room converted from a 1910 bunk house. The room was dark, no window, basic, clean. Queen bed with a double size top sheet, two reading lamps and a well lit bath with plenty of hot water. Rooms are not sound proof. It would have been nice to have a screen on the door but no, therefore we could not open the door because of flies.
The food was good enough, basic burgers, ham, pork ribs, good salad makings and nice fresh fruit. Nothing memorable but solid. All served buffet style. Wine list is pathetic, sold buy the bottle each $30 including Barefoot rose!.
The stock was really good. Well trained and healthy. Obviously well cared for. Tack was first rate.
The riding program was the big disappointment. You will spend long rides walking to distant pastures checking on cattle. You wont be trotting or cantering. We did one canter in 4 days. This ranch is best suited for beginning riders who can benefit from lots of time on horseback getting comfortable. If your looking to upgrade your skills or get some practice at advanced gaits look elsewhere.
My husband an I enjoyed a week at the CO Cattle Company in late June. We had such a memorable week! We will definitely not forget the adventures we had. Thank you, Tom and Darcy, for creating such a special place!
As an experienced rider, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the wranglers really listened to you when you spoke of your experience level with horses so that they could provide the right match. I LOVED my horse and was very sad to say good-bye to her at the end of the week. I wanted to take her home. My husband, a beginner, rode two horses through the week and he got a lot out of both experiences. They were a great match for him.
We rode a lot each day. You can ride as much or as little as you want but it is certainly a riding vacation! The prairie flowers were beautiful and it was fun to learn the landmarks from the wranglers. The wranglers really focused on safety, which I very much appreciated. It is what's best for the guests AND for the horses. The horses are very well taken care of. They are all in good weight and their feet also look really good. It was nice that the wranglers impressed the care of the animals. Each guest was responsible for caring for their own animal.
My husband and I want to thank ALL of the wranglers (Thomas, Janet, Richard and Marsella) for their patience, sense of humor, and instruction. They really made the trip fun. As we progressed through the week and started to learn about cattle and roping, their knowledge was very helpful. Working with the cows was, by far, my favorite part. Now I want to find a cutting horse of my very own! Such a blast!
Our accommodations were very nice. We had a great view looking straight out over the pastures. A beautiful view to wake up to every morning. The room and bathroom were very well appointed and we were very comfortable. We were so tired when we went to bed each night that we slept like rocks.
We were lucky to have chosen the same week as a very international crowd. There were people from Scotland, England, Australia and Finland! We loved the group we were with and laughed a lot. It was wonderful meeting such nice people.
I have to point out the food... It is AMAZING. Sheila and Maya are OUTSTANDING cooks. You will never go hungry and you will look forward to each meal. Sheila is great at convincing you that you need to eat a little more and she takes great care of everyone. The food is really a special part of the trip.
In the afternoon, after riding, people had the option of shooting guns, fishing, swimming in the pool, preparing for an overnight camping trip, etc. You are never short of things to do but you are also free to relax as you wish. The property is fun to roam around and there are lots of animals to visit with. Salvador and Enrique help keep the afternoon/evening activities fun.
Our week at the ranch was a really great experience and we hope to return at some point. It's just so nice to slow down and enjoy a different way of life! I had to actually create time to read work emails because I was so busy that I rarely thought about my "real life."
Advice: No need to pack a ton- they will do laundry there. Bring lots of sunblock and sun shirts. I rode in tech fabric riding shirts (brand names: Kastel of Denmark or Tailored Sportsman) and my husband wore typical western shirts or fishing shirts. Light material that breathes and long sleeves will help you stay cool and burn-free. If you get sunburned early on, you won't enjoy the rides as much.