Often times when I tell people we are closed for the off-season, they ask me what I’m going to do with all my free time. Well, even though we’re not open for guests to come stay at the ranch, it doesn’t mean we’re not busy. In fact, for certain folks at the ranch this is the busiest time of the year. Bill, who oversees all our buildings, vehicles and water system has a list so long he barely found time to take off for a little vacation. Down at the barn, the wranglers are working busily, trying to get as many colts started as possible and working on the 2 and 3 year olds to get them polished up with their training. In the office, we are still busy booking reservations, getting all the logistics of the winter season in place and have just finished hiring the last of the winter staff.
I took a little walk around the ranch just now so I could catch up with what everyone is doing and how things are coming along. For those of you who have been following the progression of the season, you may be shocked to know that almost all that snow we had last week has melted. So, now it’s a bit of a muddy mess. That’s the story this time of year: snow comes and then it melts, then it comes in again, then it melts. Hence, why we close down. Last week I was skiing, and this week I brought my running shoes back out.
On my little walkabout, I first ran into Charlie and Brandon. They spent last week demo’ing the deteriorating deck of the Adventure Center in a blizzard. This week they’ve been enjoying the sunshine as they rebuild the decking. They had the music playing in between the noise of the saws, drills, hammers, etc…
Next up was a stop by the bunkhouse, where Bill and Bubba are preparing for a remodel. Right now they are just hauling out furniture to empty the place out. In the coming weeks they will be re-doing the layout of the downstairs and adding a set of stairs to get up to the bunks. We will all miss the days of climbing up the ladder to go to bed…..well, maybe someone will miss those days, or not.
After the bunkhouse, I headed down to the indoor arena. I didn’t stop by the housekeeping area to say hi to Devyn, as I had just seen her earlier. She is back here between trips and catching up on some of her to-do list. The machine shed was pretty quiet as Carson is off for a bit, and Nathan and KP were up at the barn doing some cleaning.
Once in the indoor arena, I saw John and Annie riding Cali and Reyna. Both of those fillies are coming along really well and look great. John and Annie shared that they have really enjoyed spending some time this off-season hauling a few horses to a local horse trainer friend of ours to ride with him. They’ve picked up a ton of new ideas and had fun getting a different perspective from his training philosophy. As much as we all know Terry is loaded with knowledge, it is great to get a different point of view in horse training.
As I headed back down to the Lodge, I saw the carpet cleaners making their way down cabin row. This week they are cleaning all the carpets so we can go into the winter season with everything spic and span! Back at the Lodge Melissa and Malori were busy in the office, working on their many projects. Melissa has been fielding phone calls all day long about our winter season. People are definitely thinking winter right now and are asking a lot of questions about what we do and when they can come to the ranch.
And Ben? Well, he’s just sitting around by the pool eating bon-bons. Actually, I suspect he would be thrilled to take a break from budgets and insurance policies to sit by a freezing cold pool right now.
So, yes, there is definitely still activity going on here at Vista Verde during the off-season. It may be a little more quiet around here right now, but once the snow sticks and we have our winter wonderland in place for all of you we’ll be ready!