Heads up! If you are looking for a quality horseback riding adventure near Fort Collins or Loveland, you may find the experience is not that easy to find.
A few weeks ago we received a call from our good friend Jeff Anderson at Tip Top Ranch in Bellvue letting us know that they have closed their riding operation and guest facilities. Now, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch remains the sole riding stable in the area. In this article you will learn how to choose a quality riding stable.
When choosing a riding facility here are some things to look for:
Dillon came to Sylvan Dale from Lazy U 2 Ranch in 2002. He’s a sorrel gelding with a distinctive roman nose, a large star that blends into a stripe, and a left hind sock. He also has an old scar on his left hip and a lazy U2 brand on his left shoulder.
Dillon is one of Lonnie’s favorite horses! You might see him jingling the horses down to the barn, leading rides, or being the pack horse for a breakfast ride. Being that he proves to be such a solid mount, he is suitable for any rider. As he gets older, he will be used mainly by children and light riders for shorter length rides only.
In the herd, you will often find Dillon hanging out alone. He does tend to be at the low end of the pecking order. While mounted, he does not like horses behind him for fear that they might bite at him! To respect Dillon’s wishes, we place him towards the back of a ride. Unless of course he’s being the wranglers’ horse in which case he feels so special that he can be quite the gentleman. ;)
The ecology of Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is remarkably diverse. Its 3200 acres are ideally situated to include a huge sample of Colorado’s native wildlife. For example, over 60% of the mammalian species of Colorado occur on the Ranch. In fact, Sylvan Dale has more species of native mammals than does the entire state of Iowa.
Maybe the rabbits tell it best. In the grazing lands and hayfields of the Big Valley, a mile east of the Main Ranch, the Big Thompson becomes a lazy, prairie stream and the well-developed riparian vegetation shelters eastern cottontails. The native and tame pastures on the Main Ranch support desert cottontails. The west end of the Ranch, on Palisade Mountain, is habitat for mountain cottontails. Our three species of cottontails demonstrate that Sylvan Dale is a microcosm, a "cross-roads" for species that, combined, range nearly from coast-to-coast—from Washington DC to Washington State, and from Alberta to Costa Rica.
A recent study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association and conducted by Oxford Economics, explored the return on investment for business travel. The study looked at companies that cut back on business travel during the recession versus those that didn’t.
The findings, which might seem counter-intuitive, were that "businesses that continued to send employees on the road during the recession were more profitable than those that cut back on business travel.”
There is also evidence for similar growth for business meetings and group events. Although initially projected at only 5.2%, “group spending is expected to increase 6% this year to $115.9 billion.” (usatoday.com)
While we’re normally satisfied with a few kind words or a hearty warm hug from our guests, it’s always nice when the travel industry experts recognize us as well, especially when it’s a heavyweight like TripAdvisor.com.
Best of all is the fact that TripAdvisor’s ratings are based on the comments from the good folks we serve, our guests, and if they’re happy, then we’ve done our job well. And frankly, we’re delighted — Thanks!
“Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Susan Jessup, Partner owner and General Manager at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. “We want to express our appreciation to the fine folks who have communicated their Sylvan Dale experience on TripAdvisor. Our team is passionate about sharing the beauty of our ranch with others and this certificate of excellence will help us continue doing what we love.”
Check out the Press Release for full details…feel free to share with your friends and family too.
To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. — TripAdvisor.com
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, west of Loveland, Colorado, encompasses about 3200 acres, 5 square miles of foothills beauty, a naturalist’s paradise.
This is "up-and-down country." Elevations range from 5140 ft. along the Big Thompson River in the Big Valley to 7340 ft. on the north slope of Palisade Mountain above Cedar Park. That is some 2200 feet of elevational range, a greater range than in 15 of the 50 states!
Last night brought a steady rain that continued into early afternoon. The result of all this spring, Colorado precipitation is a delightfully green, and wet, landscape.
I hope you enjoy these fresh photos taken around the ranch this afternoon—no need to get green with envy—we’re happy to share the views! If you think you know where some of the ‘less obvious’ shots were taken, post your answers below.
And, speaking of “green,” do you know about Sylvan Dale’s green practices? Since 1946, “green” practices have been integral to the Ranch.
Our Sustainability Mission:
“To apply practices in our daily work routine that support a sustainable operation in harmony with the natural environment through the principles of ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’.”
One of my favorite spring rituals at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is the first trip to Cow Camp—to make sure facilities are guest-ready. Until April we had about the driest winter on record, so the trail would have been passable about any time. When snow finally arrived—in what was officially spring!—we got a typical foothills winter’s worth of moisture in a couple of weeks. So the 4-wheel drive trail has been muddy and impassable. This is the first week I could get in without tearing up the trail or burying my pickup!
Loveland Visitors Center
This past Saturday was a gorgeous Loveland kind of day…ideal for kicking off another Summer of fun things to do in Loveland. Sylvan Dale showed off our Western hospitality with free Pony Rides and Horse Drawn Wagon rides.
We’re thankful to all the nice folks who came out and had fun.
How often are we only partially present, not completely aware of all that is happening around us? More importantly, how often do we fail to connect with the people right next to us, to give the gift of investing ourselves in active, conscientious participation?
A powerful reminder about the importance of “being there.”
It is so easy to be distracted, to allow our focus to really become no focus at all. What we miss is the moment, and it will never return. ‘Now’ is the only time we own, so let’s be sure to show up. To truly connect with others we need to be ‘there.’
To do this you and I must be fully present, and it can be hard to do when we live our lives in environments that are conducive to distraction.
Sometimes we just need to get away from the familiar so we can notice what has been right in front of us all along.
There is one thing we can do, and the happiest people are those who do it to the limit of their ability. We can be completely present. We can be all here. We can… give all our attention to the opportunity before us. — Mark van Doren
There is No Substitute
Discover an environment especially crafted for being there, and creating memorable moments; give a Dude Ranch Vacation a try.
Apache was purchased from the weekend head wrangler, Lonnie Salyer, in 2008. He is a buckskin paint gelding.
Apache used to be one of Lonnie’s roping horses, but since he didn’t have a need for speed, he just did not thrive at the sport.
This honest gelding has settled in very well at Sylvan Dale though. He loves working with the cows and taking our guests on trail rides! And his colorful markings make him very easy to spot in the herd.
Apache has also become very popular with the equine ladies and will usually hang out with Colorado and a small harem.
In the modern times we live, it seems everything and everyone is ‘connected.’ But, as indicated by Marilyn vos Savant, electric communication is absent the orderly benefit of a shared environment. Although there are a wealth of benefits to electronic connectedness, there are also drawbacks. Perhaps like me, you have noticed the following:
– Interacting via social media has commonly replaced what used to be a meeting, face-to-face…
– “Let’s chat” has a new meaning…
– Texting has replaced the whisper, and is becoming a modern addiction (I’ve seen people texting each other when they were sitting together!)
Being ‘connected’ can enhance our communication, and it has the potential to greatly increase the frequency of our communication (much like the telephone did) — this is good. However, it is wise to consider the quality and effectiveness of our modern communication.
Members of the Warrior Transition Unit of Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, many still active-duty, and other American Heroes from the Cheyenne/Fort Collins Veterans Administration, enjoyed two days of fly fishing on our private waters this past weekend.
One trooper told me, “Ma’am, this is the most relaxed I’ve been in three years. Thank the cooks, the guides, the owners, the donors and everybody behind the scenes for helping us have a much-needed break from our norm.” You are most welcome, Sergeant Nathan!
These smiles are almost as big as the fish that were caught! Photo by Suzette McIntyre ~ www.PhotographyBySuzette.com ⇱