The Zirkel Mountains, the big range that you see from the ranch, are covered in snow, but only a few patches are on the ground here today. We’ve had a couple of snowy systems come through dropping several inches, but warm weather keeps following. As I look out my office window, the dogs are basking on the porch in 50 degree, sunny weather. This may very well be the perfect Sunday.
We’ve had a great fall mixed with hunters, leaf peepers, hikers, and a few simply looking for a little R&R. In the off-season, our guests seem to really love going up to South Fork trail or Fish Creek Falls to hike, take a dip at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, and stroll around downtown Steamboat. Back at the ranch, we’ve had countless starry-night hot tub frequenters and fires in the wood stove.
Scott and I have settled back into fall life. He goes to work in town everyday and travels occasionally to sell, introduce, or train others on how to use his products for Assess2Perform. I’ve begun a new business on the side called Brown Maverick Equine Transport, and I’m enjoying taking trips to haul horses and have also begun to volunteer coach with the Steamboat Springs High School Girls’ basketball team. With taking care of ranch items and my other two new projects, I’m staying busy, to say the least. Tori (wrangler-summers ’16 and ’17) is staying with us through the winter, and she’s a big help around the ranch.
Scott and I took several trips down to Paonia, Colorado, to drop our horses off at their pasture for the winter. There’s a caretaker there, and a large green pasture where they graze, sleep, play and eat all day.
Speaking of horses, it’s always amazing how quickly the winter turns into spring and we begin readying the ranch once again for another wonderful summer. Whether you’ve never vacationed with us before or it’s been a few years, we’d love to have you! We are continuously striving to improve upon the experience and the property, and we’d love to share this beautiful place with you. So, if you have any questions about what that experience entails, don’t hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email. We can't wait to see you for the summer of 2018!
1) Organization, stimulation, and providing the opportunity to disengage. Studies seem to demonstrate that one of the greatest aspects of your vacation is the anticipation of it. In other words, by the time you've begun your trip, you've already experienced the best part.
That's not what we want for our guests. While we do want you to have a ball looking forward to vacationing with us, as do all guest ranches, we also want you to have an incredible time while you're here. Huffington Post shares from a research journal that "While all vacationers enjoyed pre-trip happiness, the study’s authors found that people only experienced a boost in happiness post-vacation if their trip was relaxing. If their vacation was deemed “stressful” or “neutral,” their post-trip happiness levels were comparable to those who hadn’t taken a vacation at all."
The take-a-way for ranches is that in order to be top-notch, we have to provide our guests with a stay that offers all the organization and stimulation they need to keep their family happy. But, the guests must also have the opportunity to disengage. The best guest ranches are able to provide your lodging, meals, and all your activities in a way where you don't have to worry about the details. You can just sit back, relax, and hang your boot heels over the porch railing.
Whether it's the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Routt National Forest, Seedhouse Road, or the little town of Clark, this area is ripe with interesting facts and tidbits. And while I have plenty more to learn about our area's history and culture, I thought I'd go ahead and share with you some of the most intriguing aspects I've discovered as of late.
I receive many questions on the trail, at the supper table, and on the phone from guests about our area, the geography, the history, etc., and a few of the details below may just answer a few of your questions. I hope you enjoy learning new facts about the area as much as I do!
"Harry believed that there was a way to get along with any horse."
We had a horse jump a fence once. She was getting picked on by one of the big geldings in our herd, and from practically a stand still she leapt over. That wasn't a normal occurrence among our group of trail horses, so we took note. She didn't even brush the fence. Maybe one day, we'll be able to see if she has a gift for jumping like Snowman.
Elizabeth Lett's writing style in The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation, is perfectly suited for anyone interested in an emotional story wrought with historical references. As a reader that needs a more forward-moving story line than what Letts offers, I would put the book down and then pick it up a week later in order to get through areas that didn't seem completely relevant except to give background to the world of horses and jumping. And yet, while I might be bored in one area, I'd be straining to hold back tears by the end of the chapter. I do believe this is a strong indication that the story, itself, of Snowman and his owner, Harry, is so powerful that any reader could pick up this book and find it enjoyable.
Harry de Leyer, a Dutch immigrant with big dreams and a hard start, bought an $80 Amish plow horse off a truck bound with a load of horses set for slaughter. Through a number of unpredictable circumstances, both the horse and rider found their calling and made history becoming the first horse in history to win the Professional Horseman's Association Championship and the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year awards along with numerous other national jumping awards.
"The big gray is long gone, but living on is the memory of the horse who was yoked to a plow yet wanted to soar. Snowman and Harry showed the world how extraordinary the most ordinary among us can be. Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us."