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Bison & Cattle Ranch

Themed Weeks


2020 Themed Weeks

Women, Horses, and the West
June 14 - 21, 2020
For the sixth year, Dr. Bonney MacDonald (Ph.D. Yale/Prof of English, West Texas A&M Univ) will lead a workshop focusing on horses, conservation, and Western lands. This year's title, “Mountain Scriptures: ‘Thinking Like a Mountain,’” is from Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac and heads straight into the heart of The Nature Conservancy’s mission. Each morning we'll ride the pastures, dunes and mountains; and each afternoon, in seminar, we'll look at exploration literature and mountain writings -- from Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, Thoreau, Isabella Bird, John Muir, Mary Austin, Clarence King, Aldo Leopold, and contemporary nature writers. We'll look at art from Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Frederick Church, and Ansel Adams; examine what Edmund Burke called the "mountain Sublime"; and explore the cultural history of America’s mountain landscapes. Come ride and read the High Country this June!
Cost: $2,995 pp includes all meals, activities, lodging and taxes

Bird and Nature Study with Ted Floyd
June 30 - July 7, 2019
Join renowned birder and author Ted Floyd for an unforgettable week of bird study in Colorado’s stunning San Luis Valley. Based at The Nature Conservancy’s Ranch, home to everything from Long-eared Owls to Lewis’s Woodpeckers. Day trips will take us to alpine meadows, “bridal veil” falls, lush riparian groves, teeming wetlands, and austere and beautiful deserts. We will take time to really understand and appreciate the birds in their environment, and we will detour for a bit of butterflying, photography, and celebration of the rich human history of the valley.
Cost: $2,995 pp includes meals, instructions, excursions, lodging and taxes

Branding Week 
June 21 - 28, 2020
Take part in ranching’s oldest tradition and learn to wrestle a calf, vaccinate, ear tag and gather. This is a hands-on, team- oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action with our cattle herd. Through the week explore the ranch and the Great Sand Dunes National Park on horseback, help check fence, water and herd health while moving and gathering cattle, and end the week with a traditional branding. Also available are interpretive hikes with a naturalist, roping and leather working sessions. At an additional cost, massage, rock climbing, rafting and fly fishing are available.
Cost: $3,150 pp includes all meals, activities, lodging and taxes

Hiking and Nature in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Beyond
August 23 - 30, 2020
Our Ranch sits in one of the most unique landscapes and ecosystems in North America. A hiker's paradise, you have access to hundreds of miles of backcountry trails. Join Ranchlands team member Emily Paxson on this light to mildly challenging and exploratory hiking week. The week will include guided hiking to pristine high alpine lakes and meadows, exploring the Great Sand Dunes wilderness and wilderness preserves. Sit back and relax between excursions in the lodge nestled in a historic cottonwood grove and enjoy home cooked meals made from scratch, a massage, a horseback ride or a soak in nearby hot springs. Emily is an experienced hiker and mountain biker and will share her knowledge of the history, flora and fauna and the diverse ecology that you'll be surrounded by. This is a true back to nature experience.
Cost: $2,865 includes meals, activities, lodging and taxes

Cam Schryver Horsemanship Clinic
September 13 - 20, 2020
Join us for our annual weeklong natural horsemanship experience with 27-year director of the Thacher Riding School, Cameron Schryver. Cam is invited to clinics around the country on horsemanship and is a two-time World Champion Extreme Cowboy. By applying working ranch horsemanship and riding by feel, you will leave the week feeling a deeper connection to the horse and will better understand how to communicate with them, developing a better handle. Days are spent with one-on-one horsemanship instruction, educational demonstrations, rides throughout the surrounding meadows and sand dunes as well as opportunities to work cattle and ride through the conservation bison herd. This week typically sells out very fast with return participants, so please book early.
Cost: $3,150 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction, lodging and taxes

Fall Colors Photo Workshop
October 11 - 16, 2020
Enjoy the breathtaking colors and wildlife of fall at the Ranch with a unique photo workshop led by nature photographer Stephen Weaver. Experience the ranch like never before against the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains while scouting for wildlife among the gold and auburn’s of the Aspen and Cottonwood trees. Head out for early morning shoots, and return to the lodge for midday editing, critique sessions and technical advice plus afternoon and sunset shoots. The ranch is home to bison, elk, antelope and many bird species that you’ll find among the autumn colors.
Cost: $2,995 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction, lodging and taxes

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2021 Themed Weeks

Sandhill Crane Photography Workshop
March 7 - 12
Join staff photographer Madeline Jorden for a photo workshop to document the spectacular spring migration of over 30,000 Sandhill Cranes across the ranch and San Luis Valley. In addition to capturing the cranes, spend time on the ranch documenting the resident bison herd, historic ranch structures and our daily way of life.
Cost: $2,600 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction, lodging and taxes.

Women, Horses and the West
May 30 - June 6
For the sixth year, Dr. Bonney MacDonald (Professor of Western Literature, West Texas A&M Univ.; Ph.D. Yale Univ.) will lead a literary workshop focusing on horses, conservation, and Western lands. This year’s seminar, “Girls on the Road: New Lands, New Lives,” features non-fiction and historical readings on why the West encouraged and even needed a population on the move in the 19th and 20th centuries.
From wagon trains to Kerouac’s On the Road, just why were so many road songs, stories, and films set west of the 100th meridian? The seminar will also feature a memorable Barbara Kingsolver novel about a young woman’s western road trip, and will close with a showing and in-depth discussion of Ridley Scott’s classic film, Thelma and Louise. Guests ride ranch and mountain trails each morning and enjoy a seminar every afternoon.
Cost: $2,995 pp includes all meals, activities, lodging, and taxes.

Ted Floyd Birding Workshop
June 13 - 20
Hone your birding skills with expert birder Ted Floyd. You’ll explore bird habitats including western sagebrush steppe, pinyon juniper woodland, lush cottonwood riparian, grasslands and wetlands, and pine forest. In addition to the ranch, locations include several nearby wildlife and wilderness areas such as John James Canyon, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Blanca Wetlands, Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Zapata Falls.
Cost: $3,995 pp includes all meals, activities, lodging and taxes.

Ranch + Branding Week
June 20 - 27
This is a hands on, team-oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action with Zapata’s cattle herd. Through the week explore the ranch, ride through our 2,000 head bison herd and the Great Sand Dunes National Park on horseback and end the week with a cattle gather and traditional branding. Also available are interpretive hikes with a naturalist, roping and leather working sessions. At an additional cost, massage, rafting and fly fishing are available.
Cost: $3,150 pp includes all meals, activities, lodging and taxes.


Horsemanship Workshop with Cam Schryver

August 29 – Sept 6 : Beginner
This workshop is meant for beginner to advanced beginner riders who are comfortable on a horse, have some basic horsemanship skills, are comfortable at three paces, and are looking to further further develop their horsemanship skills with expert guidance.

September 6 - 12: Advanced
This workshop is for intermediate to advanced riders who ride regularly, are very comfortable on a horse, have good balance, are very comfortable at three paces, and are capable of long trots and more technical movements.
Cam is two-time World Champion Extreme Cowboy and all those that have had the pleasure of riding with him know that his teaching methods are clear, practical, and above all, fun. By applying working ranch horsemanship and riding by feel, you will leave the week feeling a deeper connection to the horse and will better understand how to communicate, developing a better handle. The days are spent with one-on-one horsemanship instruction, educational demonstrations and using the landscape as your arena. Spend the evenings around the dinner table discussing the day’s experiences or head to bed after an accomplished day. This is our seventh
year doing this workshop and it’s one of our most popular weeks.
Cost: $3,150 per person per week, includes all meals, accommodation and instruction.


Advanced Painting Horses With Jill Soukup
September 12 - 17
Join renowned artist Jill Soukup for the seventh year of her painting workshop focusing on drawing and painting horses. Long time friend, Jill, among other accolades, was the Featured Artist at Coors Western Art Sale and Best of Show for Cowgirl Up!, Caballeros Western Museum 2017. Discussions and exercises will cover the importance of understanding equine anatomy, what makes a good drawing, composition and color. Activities will include photo opportunities of horses running, horses working under saddle, cowboys and cowgirls riding and studying corralled horses, demonstrations and critiques. Space is limited to 12. Intermediate to advanced skill level is suggested.
Cost: $3,150pp includes all meals, accommodation and instruction.

Writing Workshop with Pam Houston
October 3 – 10
Join the renowned author of “Cowboys Are My Weakness” and “Deep Creek” for a week of writing inspired by the creatures and setting of the Ranch. Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In
The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton.
She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary non-profit Writing By Writers. This workshop will be generative, with participants writing new work inspired by the surrounding ranch and using this physical world to help access our emotional world. Pam will guide you in discussing elements of craft and accessing the ranch and all its creatures and components as metaphor.
Cost: $3,150 pp includes all meals, activities, lodging and taxes.
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Bison and Cattle Working Ranch in Colorado
Tour Code: WRCO01
8 days / 7 nights ~$2,765.00
Dates: March-October, custom dates possible with 3+ nights

Difficulty : Riding Level (Click for legend) Lodging: Standard
Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Accomodation
Themed Weeks
Tack: Western
Horses: Quarter, Paint
Pace: All paces, riding from 4 to 10 hours a...
Walk, Trot, Canter,
Airport: San Luis Valley Regional Airport (ALS)
Location on Google Map
Image Gallery
Image Slide Show
Customer Trip Rating
Climate
What To Bring


Riding Level Explained
A Beginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
B Novice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
C Intermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
E Advanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handling a spirited horse in open country.
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