With phrases such as “we’re going to jingle” and “out to pasture,” we’re not talking about coins in your pockets or retirement days. Jingle means rounding up horses and “out to pasture” is where the horses go after providing horseback riding vacations to city slickers for a week at The High Lonesome Ranch in De Beque, Colorado.
At the High Lonesome Ranch, “we want to teach people to ride, not be a passenger,” notes Head Wrangler Ame Longwell. Thus, your western Colorado horseback riding vacation begins with an equestrian challenge course. “Every horse has a boogie man,” adds Longwell. Better to face his fears in a safe arena environment than experience a challenging situation out on the trail.
Longwell has designed an equestrian boot camp of sorts for horse lovers at The High Lonesome Ranch. She pairs horse to rider by experience level. By the end of the five day program it’s hard to tell who’s more excited by the rider’s progress, as wranglers have carefully watched guests bond with their mounts. No longer passengers, beginning riders in our group were clearly proud of their equestrian accomplishments by week’s end.
High Lonesome Ranch: Location
Situated at 5,000 feet elevation, The High Lonesome Ranch rests atop the Western slope of the Colorado Rockies. Comprised of nearly 300 miles of deeded and permitted land, The High Lonesome Ranch is surrounded by pinyon-juniper mountain forests, spring-fed creeks, grassy sage meadows and alpine mesas. Original homesteaders settled here at the turn of the century, and while guests are pampered with 20th century luxuries such as gourmet dining, massage treatments and high speed Internet access, the natural landscape and footprint of the ranch hasn’t changed much.
Activities: High Lonesome Ranch
Those interested in fly-fishing in the north Dry Fork Valley with its 22 spring-fed ponds, mountain biking through Aspen stands, communing with nature, or stretching your limbs in a yoga class will not be disappointed. However, I came to The High Lonesome Ranch for a horseback riding vacation. With miles of trails, covering a one hour ride or an all day ride, this is one place equestrians don’t have to worry about crossing busy roads or being on the lookout for cars.
If your timing is right, you may be able to join in on a cattle drive or branding activities and immerse yourself in a piece of Colorado’s Western heritage. Do you like maps or own a GPS? Have you tried your hand at geo-caching? I’ll bet you haven’t tried it from the back of a horse?
Some guests might have a chance to visit the Badlands of the Little Book Cliffs to get a glimpse of wild Mustangs and learn about them from Marty Felix, the Jane Goodall of wild horses.
Dining at The High Lonesome Ranch
With dinner plates the size of Clysdale horse hooves, Executive Chef Jordan Asher prepares cowboy-sized meals three times daily. Ranch specialties include yeast made Angel biscuits with homemade gravy, beef (raised on the property) and country fried chicken with fresh baked rolls, locally grown vegetables and fresh berry cobblers. Nothing tastes better than meals served in a grassy meadow after a horseback riding vacation.
Rates of High Lonesome Ranch
The $2,650 per person all inclusive rate includes six nights and five days of activities with 15 and under buckaroos charged $1,500 per person. Kids will love pizza night with movies and overnight with the wranglers, while adults will enjoy an evening of wine tasting.
The High Lonesome Ranch (970) 283-9420