April 2012

Prisoners, mustangs and a dude ranch?

The real West is still alive and kicking at Vista Verde!  But, it’s alive in a much more civilized fashion these days.  Terry and Reid just returned from a trip to the Front Range to check out some new horses for the ranch herd.  The guys had been put in touch with the man who heads up the Wild Horse Inmate Program at Canon City, Colorado.  With this program, inmates are given the job of training and gentling wild mustangs.  Throw away your preconceived notions of wild men and wild horses.  This program teaches the inmates great skills in learning how to gentle a horse, work with and communicate with a 1,000 lb animal.  You can only imagine what that does for a person who has struggled in life, and the confidence and relationship skills it can teach them.  So, Terry and Reid decided to check it out to see if there were any prospects for the ranch.  And, they found some.

Caddy (as in Cadillac)  is a 4 year old stout bay gelding came from the Wells Creek Herd Management area in Wyoming as a two year old.  I think to have a Cadillac horse at a luxury dude ranch is kind of fitting.

Cuatro is an adorable 3 year old gelding who also came from the Wells Creek Herd Management area in Wyoming as a yearling.  He is as sweet as they get, and apparently Charlie already has a bit of a crush on him, so you may see Charlie in the saddle a bit more this summer playing with this little guy.

Cheyenne is a 6 year old pinto mare who came from the South Steen herd management area in Oregon as a 3 year old.  She was described as “easy on the eyes” and that is quite true.

We have had great luck with a mustang in our herd already, as those of you who know and love Crow are aware that he is a mustang as well.  They are hardy horses, with courage and great heart.  All of that makes a great horses for a Colorado dude ranch.  With a little polishing, we are hoping these three will be ready for our guests by next summer, if not sometime this summer.

While the guys were down on the Front Range, they also picked up two other horses, and some saddles to add to our collection.

Skip is a 9 year old paint gelding and Mo is a tall sorrel gelding.

We’re excited to get to know these new horses, and work them into the herd as they get more comfortable in their new home!

Mending the Fence

It’s that time of year.  The mud is oozing around as the snow melts, and the ranch has a quiet hush as there are no guests and very few staff.  As much as we are all people orientated folks who work here, it is nice to have some down time to get projects done, regroup and then prepare for the upcoming summer dude ranch season.
One of the projects that falls into the regroup category is going through all the Mending the Fence sheets from the previous season.  Mending the Fence is our version of a comment sheet, as one of the tasks ranchers have to do to keep up their ranch is to mend the fences.  Last week, Emily undertook the Herculean task of organizing and typing up all the comments so we could look at them by department.  Most seasons we get great feedback- from suggestions on ways to improve our programs, facilities, food and more, to comments like, “Don’t change a thing”, or special thanks to certain staff.  Some of them make us laugh, some make us pause and think about how we can tweak things to make the ranch vacation experience better.

However, this winter there was one suggestion that just keeps me laughing, and I can’t get out of my head.

“Can you please change the physics so water boils at a higher temperature enabling tear to brew properly”

We’ll get right to work on that!

Thanks to all our guests who shared their observations, whether serious or in jest, with us this past winter ranch resort season.  We do take it seriously, and are always working on making things better at Vista Verde!