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Colorado High Country Riding

Listed under Horse Riding in Colorado, United States.

  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
  • Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
Photo of Colorado High Country Riding
Photo by flickr user Ken Lund
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The American western landscape varies so greatly that you can never tire of landing in a different state and trying out the riding experience to come away with something completely different than what you encountered just an hours flight away. In Colorado, however, you do not even have to travel out of the state to find that variation when you saddle up: the state straddles the Rockies -- or more properly put, is straddled by the Rockies -- and you can be at an elevation closer to sea level when you land in Denver and then over 10,000 feet above in just a few hours drive into the mountains.

One long favored establishment by those who maintain a tradition of equestrian focused travel in the region is C Lazy U Ranch, which sits at a little over 8,000 feet in often rugged mountain terrain. The air may be a little thin when you first reach the elevation here, but you quickly acclimate to it.

Families have been coming here for three generations and more to spend holidays on horseback amongst the pine covered slopes. While horses go on being part of everyday life on this working ranch and premier mountain resort, every effort is made to make every level of guest riding experience the best and safest possible.

Newly arrived visitors get an orientation meeting before ever mounting a horse: these sessions are intended to demonstrate and discuss some of the essential skills for the area's trails -- be it directing, slowing down or just bringing your horse to a halt. Expert wranglers here will then match up the rider with the best mount for the intended future days of his or her outings on horseback. The Ranch is also very careful to tailor its rides to specific levels of prior experience, or non-experience, from first-time rider, to medium rider (canter), to more advanced rider. Along with that, they provide basic instruction, and more controlled walk rides.

Having been matched up with a horse best suited to you physically and at your experience level, you can choose from outings, beginning at a three-hour ride (you do get to stretch your legs along the way) to an all-day ride that takes you out along the same trail but much further into the spectacular National Forest. Along the way, you traverse some level ground but also some easy ridges, and you can also expect occasional sightings of deer and elk enroute and more rarely bear and moose. The horses are seasoned appaloosa and paint horses that are more than familiar with what seems a vast and challenging landscape. For those who simply cannot get enough of the original true West experience in the saddle, there are also cattle rides for more advanced riders.

The ranch is open in both spring, summer and winter seasons, so the trails taken will vary somewhat between summer and winter, and of course what you need to wear will vary even more.

Written by  Hal Peat.

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