Horseback Riding at Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado
The Vista Verde Riding Program offers fun-filled, informative clinics mixed in with adventurous trail rides that accommodate all riding levels. We own the entire remuda of over 90 horses, and we match each guest’s personality with the perfect “horse-onality” to get you off on the right hoof, ‘er foot. Our riding program is about much more than beautiful trail rides. Even those who have ridden all their lives have been known to learn or experience something new while at VVR.
Quality horses and in-depth instruction
The Vista Verde riding program has helped our guests far exceed their expectations in regards to how much they can learn in a week. From both demonstrating what our trainers are teaching our young horses, to helping you learn how to better communicate with your own horse during one of our many clinics, you might find that you never want to leave the arena because you’re having too much fun!
To ensure that we are bringing in the next generation of fabulous horses for our guests we have invested in a breeding and training program. We breed some of our well-pedigreed mares each year to our own stallion and are enjoying the wonderful foals as they grow up at the ranch. As a guest, you can enjoy seeing these foals as they are born and begin the training process. Often times our training staff are working the young horses while they are teaching you to work with and train your own horse. It’s just amazing how much there is to learn about horses, and our team is here to share that knowledge with you.
Our training staff have developed a variety of different clinics to explore the different aspects of horsemanship, and are suitable to all riding levels. From basic horsemanship clinics to more focused cattle work clinics as well as some that are just focused on bringing it all together through fun games, you can expand your horsemanship knowledge dramatically through the week.
While teens may be a bit more of a fickle breed, our teen wranglers are about as cool and savvy to drawing them out as you can get. Just like the kid wranglers, these folks are the kind of people you want your teen to look to as role models, and what an important age to have great role models!
While the kids are off on their own adventures, the teens are drawn into a program that mimics many of the adult activities, but tailored more to a teen’s mindset. In addition, there are several events that are teen specific, such as the teen overnight camp out, that are designed to develop the friendships that form among the teens and the teen wranglers. Always under the watchful eye of the teen wranglers, the teens get to explore their Western vacation without technology following them every step of the way. And, they find out that it’s ok to be unplugged!
Fall Cattle Round-up
Come September, we head out onto over 16,000 acres of forested land to find and round up the cattle before the snow flies. The first part of the week is spent in the arena, honing each rider’s skills on working cattle. Once everyone is ready to go, we head out into the National Forest to search out, round up and drive in the cattle. These weeks are for those interested in an intensive riding experience and a lot of time in the saddle. Please click here to contact us for more information on dates.
Kids & Teens
Just like the adults, the Buckaroos ride the same horse all week, developing a loving, trusting relationship. Our Kid’s Wranglers get the youngsters started in the arena, but soon move out on the trail. Kid’s rides are available daily. However, family rides are a popular option. In addition to riding, kids have the opportunity to learn how to groom and care for their horses.
The teens have exclusive teen rides as well as the option of riding with adults. Not only do we offer adventurous and exciting trails for these young adults, we provide an excuse for them to get away from their parents! The teen program provides ample instruction for those who really want to “get into” the horse thing while at Vista Verde.
All of us at the ranch consider safety as one of our most important responsibilities to our guest, staff, and animals. As a general rule, horses can safely carry loads of up to 20% of their body weight including rider, saddle and tack. Given that, we pay attention to the rider’s weight when it comes to horseback riding and we do have a 250 pound weight limit for horseback riding at Vista Verde. Having said that our wranglers consider several factors in determining whether or not an individual is too heavy or too big to ride, including: rider’s physical fitness, riding experience and ability, size of the horse, type of terrain, speed of ride, and other factors. We will exercise discretion when addressing these issues and reserve the right to prohibit riding or restrict riding to level terrain, or walk-only rides. Please do not hesitate to contact us to privately discuss specific circumstances.
Also, in order to ride you must be able to mount and dismount independently. We do provide mounting blocks to help our guests and the horses for a more graceful and pleasant mounting experience!
As you can probably tell, we really care about our horses. They are part of our staff and family! We try to give them a wonderful life when they are at the ranch, and when the time comes that dude ranch life is too much for them, or if we have one that isn’t a fit for the kind of work we do here, then we do our best to find a good home for them. With that in mind, we have a wonderful partnership with Drifters Hearts of Hope Horse Rescue in Franktown, Colorado. Drifters Hearts of Hope (DHOH) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to rescuing horses and working with special needs children. Horses that are ready to retire from dude ranch life and that we believe are healthy enough for a second home are taken to DHOH, where they are evaluated and adopted out to their new home.
Drifters Hearts of Hope created the Annie Project in 2017, with the intention of partnering with all of the Colorado dude ranches in order to provide ranches a safe option for retiring their horses. Because of dude ranch horses’s extensive training and experience DHOH is able to adopt horses out quickly. In return, the rescue receives a donation toward their cause for each horse, making it a win for both the ranches and DHOH. We are proud to be partners in this endeavor.