usa_colorado_15Some of you know that Stacey recently returned from riding at our two ranches in Colorado, but we wanted to take a few minutes to share (or gush) about the trip. Stacey and four other ladies spent the third week of June relaxing and riding at the Bar N I Ranch in Stonewall, CO – and it was beyond their expectations in every way.

The Bar N I Ranch is remarkable even before you step onto the property.  Unique in that it is privately owned by a family, it is not open to the general public – so your stay there is not filled with 150 strangers and dusty, boring nose to tail riding.  From the moment they drove onto the property, they were treated like family members – not one thing was any trouble at all.

Impressed by the well appointed and comfy rooms to begin, the first night in the dining room for the first of many delicious meals proved equally outstanding.  One of the group was lactose intolerant, But all were surprised and thrilled when the chefs had prepared a special batch of the coconut lime ice cream that was lactose free!  The first of many demonstrations of the “can do” attitude of the staff.

The days were filled with riding up steep inclines to explore ridge lines with majestic views for miles in all directions, as well as long canters through fields and high meadows of gently blowing grasslands.  Riders chose from two half day rides or a packed lunch full day ride – all of which were varied and still on the property of the ranch – with 36,000 acres it’s virtually impossible to ride only 5 days and “see it all” – but they really tried!

usa_colorado_09Three of the group decided to take one afternoon and forego a trail ride to try cattle sorting and to take a lesson with Ben, the lead wrangler and a student of Ray Hunt’s teaching philosophy.  The cattle sorting was a riot – for the “Eastern” gals, it was counter intuitive to just “ride into a group of cows” – yes – directly into them!  But the horses were totally unfazed and all had a great time learning how to sort.  The lesson with Ben not only helped them further appreciate his calm approach  but even more so how the horses relate to him, it left each person anxious to get home and try (or begin) using the techniques on their own horses.

They rode.  They laughed (a lot).  They jingled horses in on several mornings (helped bring them in from the far pasture).  We exchanged stories by the bonfire.  We hiked to see the petroglyphs.  They ate (and ate and ate).  They slept like babies.  And all were very sorry to leave.  Ben, Lance, Steve and the entire team had all become like family – they heard our group stories, shared their own, played with Ben’s two girls, roasted marshmallows around the bonfire, discovered elk sheds (an antler that’s been shed), marveled at bighorn sheep and elk, took in the sun and even some hail.

They arrived as guests.  They made new friends.  They left as family.

It was a perfect week.