Look yonder up the hill. We are located 1 mile NE of the Vail Village in Vail, CO. It’s nearly on Spraddle Creek Road, which heads east out of the north side round-a-bout at the Main Vail Exit #176 off I-70. Here’s a map.
Most days we are ready to receive guests by 8:30am. Then around 4pm, we start to button things up. 7 days a week starting around May 18th if the weather is good. Come September 30 we are debating on the accuracy of the forecast. We might stay open longer, it just depends.
Absolutely. The limit for horseback riding is 225lbs unless you are a tall drink of water, then it’s 245lbs. For knife-building class it’s 545lbs.
Each activity has an age limit or an appropriate age range. You will find that information on each activity listing and on the booking section.
Kids must be a very mature 5 years old, (like 15 yr-olds are), to ride. They ride their own horse, however, the guide leads the horse of 5 and 6 yr olds from the top of their horse, not on foot! Seven year-olds can control the reins by themselves, as long as they are doing well.
Kids must be 5 years old to ride, not 4 and 3/4, or 4 yrs and 11 months. Remember, they have to be very, very mature, like a 16 yr-old. This is an insurance requirement!
If you plan on fibbing about your child’s age, causing your child and their siblings to also fib, (you should see the kids stammer, spit, sputter and turn red, as they attempt to maintain the lie) the insurance company will inform you that YOU can cover the cost of any unforseen incident that could happen at the ranch.
We will say the same thing.
None of the stables in the Vail Valley allow doubledouble ridingriding. Having said that, we are the ONLY stable that has supervised childcare for your lil’ dogies while you enjoy your ride.
Add on Pony Camp in the morning or afternoon for $85. This option ensures fun and enjoyment for everyone in your group. You can add on these camp options, at the time you book your horseback ride.
The last option is a pony ride led by mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, auntie or cousin other trusted adult.
Horseback Rides and Classes – Please do not book a ride on your travel day. Travel dilemmas are not an exception to the cancellation policy. We hate to be the additional jerk that upholds the policy, on the day you have a travel problem.
A full 48 hours and 5 minutes notice required to cancel, change, alter, subtract people, change your mind, get sick, stub your toe, eat too much, develop bad gas, find something better to do, have a brooding teenager, double-book yourself, have your plane delayed, etc., to avoid a cancellation fee equaling the entire ride price. No joking.
You are guaranteeing your arrival, and usage of the horse blocked out of the schedule, with your credit card. Think $$$$ lost when we charge it, or a lot of shoveling. And, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the greatest adventure Colorado has to offer the flatlander.
Camps – New for 2017!! You may now cancel 7 days and 5 minutes prior to the camp start time, to receive a 100% refund.
Any time within 7 days and 4 minutes, there are No Cancellations, no makeup days, no sick days, no switching days, NO EXCEPTIONS, ever. Any attempt to cancel camp days you have booked will be completely, and pitifully ignored. There just aren’t any exceptions. Not a one.
If you know this ahead of time, maybe we won’t seem like jerks when we uphold the policy. And, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the greatest adventure Colorado has to offer the flatlander kiddo.
We have yellow slickers, Colorado Style. We do ride in the rain! Many guests have returned from a ride, beaming with satisfaction, claiming the ride was the best of their life. The forest sparkles and sings in the rain. Your ride may be delayed as long as 60 minutes to allow major storms to pass. Rides in progress may be cut short due to major lightning, and will not be refunded, nor issued rainchecks. No exceptions. We sit in the banana belt of Vail and normally do not have any problems with the weather.
Summer 2016. The weather forecast was WRONG every day!
Don’t ask Trevor. His answer is always “clothes”.
Folks, we have seen everything from mini skirts and high heels, to parkas and leather pants, and the horses didn’t seem to mind!
We recommend; a fleece jacket, long pants, (jeans leggings, khaki’s, capris, etc.) (because chapped thighs are worse than chapped lips), t-shirt, sturdy shoes (tennis shoes, hiking boots, Keen’s, etc.) and a hat.
We do provide slickers and helmets FREE of charge. And we recommend that everyone wear a helmet. They don’t call them the Rocky Mountains because they are giant sand hills. Parents, it is up to you if your 14-17 yr old wears a helmet or not. If you can’t bring yourself to argue with your teenager, just wink at the person behind the counter, repeatedly, until they figure out the code for “Be the bad guy for me”. We will force one onto their head.
We do not recommend flip flops or Crocs.
It depends on what you want us to find on the trail next year.
Lost keys, phones and wallets are swallowed up by the forest floor. There are horn bags on the front of the saddles for your belongings. We’ll hold your keys if you trust us enough.
Other activities specify it in the booking confirmation.
Don’t forget it! Photo ops are plentiful.
It’s best if you bring a smaller camera that will fit in the horn bag. The strap around your neck is not the best idea. (worried mom) But it is done nearly every day without incident!!
The guides are always willing to stop on the trail to take pictures from varying angles. Because we care, we may suggest you suck in your gut.
We also have professional photographers ready for hire. Capture that incredible holiday card or family photo to put on canvas.
Sexy, unisex, vault-style, concrete facility, with a lockable door. Don’t forget to flush!
It’s cleaned every day. If you find it unacceptable, please don’t use the bushes. Someone will take your picture.
There are no restrooms located on the trail, so we suggest you visit the facility prior to mounting your horse.
We do sell frosty, cold bottled water and have a large supply of sunscreen on hand.
It is recommended you apply 30 minutes prior to ride time.
We also have that germ-killing gel that helps you combat germs to make you healthier (cough), or sick more often. According to Aunt Pat, you have to eat a bushel of dirt a year, to be healthy.
Link to Dirt Makes You Happy!
Book: Eat Dirt!
We have various snacks and chilled, beverages available in the office. We hope to have our own food truck, saloon and coffee cart this summer.
T-shirts in various styles and all sizes.
Old tack used by the horses at Vail Stables over the last 30 years too. Pick anything off of the wall with a price tag and it can be yours!
YES, the guides love to receive tips from you since we only pay them two-bits a day. If you do enjoy your ride, hug your horse, and tip your guide!
20% cat-herding, auto-gratuity added for groups of 6 or more, and for Premium Rides such as The Elk Springs Ride and Private Rides. It will be added at the time of booking so you know the total ahead of time.
Oh, and for those that try to beat the system by booking separately, yet carry on about riding together even if it messes up the whole day, we’ll tack on another 20% fer our troubles.
That is all we allow at the ranch.
If you are looking for a spirited, fast, horse, you’ll need to sign up for one of our Trotting Rides in which we will give the horses a swig of blueberry Red Bull.
We are not sure how it could be anything but nose-to-tail. The trail is only 12″ wide! The USFS would frown upon our treading on the area to the side of the trails. The fact that we climb 600 feet in elevation in the first 20 minutes, keeps most riders very occupied. After that, the Aspen trees are so close together, one could conceivably clunk their knee pretty hard if they went off trail.
There are the various horse personalities that are involved. Some do not like others to pass or invade their space. There is a heirarchy within every herd. The horses are lined up according to their friendships.
Scenic, mountainous terrain that goes up and down, up and down, much like the ski slopes. Heavily treed in some areas, wide open vistas in others. Mountain meadows, forested areas, bubbling creeks (on Half-Day Ride), immense Aspen glades. No cliffs or drop-offs to worry about. The horses stay on the trail in all of the important areas.
It’s a good question isn’t it?
Vail is one of the prettiest areas in the country and the wealthy like it, a lot. So there is a good chance you will see a celebrity. Why, President Ford and family were up here riding. Cal Ripkin and family rode here as well, but we didn’t know who he was until after they left. I personally spoke with Jerry Springer in the village. He wasn’t interested in riding.
Supply and demand:There isn’t a lot of private land available for regular working folks. And it’s not going to change any time soon.
Milk, gas, health insurance, clothing, housing, land, hay, taxes, sports, food, etc, is just plain expensive in this area of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
We love visiting the Midwest to experience the inexpensive milk, clothing, food, beer, real estate, and the people that are not stressed out by the demands of living in a pricey resort area. It’s simply a different world.
Discounts? Coupons? $5 discount when you book online AND pay in cash. No coupons in any of the guide books.
No discounts for groups (it’s like herding cats). Groups of 6 or more are charged a 20% auto gratuity.
I’m from Wisconsin so I know the lingo. And I know for a fact that there are coopons in the paper for 10% off caskets.
Most of the hotels in Vail will run you up in on of their shuttle and retrieve you after the ride. Otherwise, taxis can be reasonable if you work the sticker price.
Buses do not come our way.
Don’t let anyone (wink, wink, concierges) tell you we are close to town, and that you can just walk up the hill. A one mile, uphill walk doesn’t seem like a problem, until you are in the middle of the mile. Unless you are in the actual town of Vail, everything is up a hill.
But if you have a serious complaint, please submit in the following format:
THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY “THOMAS COOK VACATIONS” FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS:
1. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”
2. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”
3. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”
4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”
5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”
6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”
7. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallartato close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”
8. “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”
9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”
10. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”
12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”
13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”
14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort.’ We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”
15. “When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”
16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”
17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”
18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”
19. “My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”