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Bison & Cattle Ranch

Themed Weeks

2024 Special Events and Workshops:

Journey of the Sandhill Crane: March 13 - 15 & March 15 - 17
True West Horsemanship with Ben Longwell: April 21 - 28
Foundations of Horse Anatomy with Jill Soukup: May 5 - 10
Spring Restorative Retreat: May 26 - June 2
Women, Horses, and the West with Bonney MacDonald : June 9 - 16
Writing Workshop with Pam Houston: July 7 - 14
Foundations of Horsemanship with Cam Schryver: August 11 - 18
Intermediate Horsemanship with Cam Schryver: August 18 - 25
Food as a Doorway to Memory with Molly Wizenberg: August 25 - 30
Harvest Weekend: August 30 - September 1
Advanced Painting Horses with Jill Soukup : September 15 - 20
Harvest Weekend: September 20 - 22
Fall Restorative Retreat: October 2 - 6
Equine Gestalt and Herbal Wisdom with Kelly Dukarski: October 9 - 13
Writing Workshop with Pam Houston : October 13 - 20

Sandhill Crane Photography Workshop
$1095 for a two-night stay for two people. Rates include lodging, meals, a guided tour of the nearby Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, and a guided tour of the Medano side of the ranch.

Spend 2 nights at the ranch exploring the San Luis Valley during the spectacular migration of Sandhill Cranes. Package includes a guided tour of the nearby wildlife refuge with birding experts, Ted and Hannah Floyd, and a bison tour of the Medano side of the ranch, where you may see cranes mingling amongst a conservation bison herd. The breathtaking sight of these two species together brings to mind a pre-human era when both of these animals would have roamed North America together.

Sandhill Cranes:
One of the oldest species of birds still living, the Sandhill Crane undertakes an epic migration every spring and fall between their wintering grounds in Mexico and the American Southwest and breeding grounds throughout the Rocky Mountains, Canada, Alaska, and even across the sea to Siberia. With an unmistakable call that can be heard from miles away, the Rocky Mountain population of these beautiful birds converges every March in Colorado’s San Luis Valley for several weeks. Enormous groups of cranes, numbering in the tens of thousands, create one of the most remarkable wildlife spectacles in North America.

Ted & Hannah love our ranch and can’t wait to share their deep knowledge of this magical place with you. Ted has been leading trips here annually for more than 20 years, and Hannah has been a regular visitor here her whole life –and, more recently, a tour leader.

True West Horsemanship Clinic with Ben Longwell
$4340 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.

‘On The Trail’ Horsemanship. An in-depth study of equine communication and how to become an effective leader for your horse.
Participants will gain a thorough understanding of the progression from groundwork to ridden work, not only in the arena but in circumstances on the trail. There will be a focus on understanding the “why”, “when”, and “how” behind the “what” that is commonly taught in horsemanship clinics. Participants will be prepared with improved understanding and practice with the horse before facing a variety of practical, real-life scenarios. We will be addressing common situations riders face, working to improve communication on all levels with feel, understanding, trust and in an encouraging and fun environment.

About Ben Longwell:
Ben Longwell grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado, riding horses and working cattle. After finishing school, he spent much of his time doing day work for different ranches & outfits in the area, learning from the skills and experience of the ranchers. He also spent a year working as assistant trainer at a Quarter Horse breeder in Colorado learning the basics of colt starting and true horsemanship.

After spending much of the next six years in the colt starting & horse training business, his knowledge and experience continued to expand. During this time Ben worked on a 300,000 acre cattle & horse ranch in Wyoming, where he was also involved in conducting horsemanship clinics and demonstrations.

Ben has worked with some great horsemen in the West, adding to a lifetime of practical equine experience. He is influenced from the methods of such horseman as Tom & Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Richard Caldwell, Jeff Sanders, Martin Black, Buck Brannaman, Dave Weaver and others.

Horse Anatomy Bootcamp
$3420 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.

This course focuses on the anatomy of the horse. Activities include drawing and sculpting from live horses and studio time with in-depth studies on skeletal and muscle structure and horse movement. The course includes demonstrations, critiques, some riding time, and photo opportunities.

Spring Restorative Retreat
$4950 per person and includes all lodging, meals, and activities and one 60 minute massage. Tax included and gratuity excluded in rate.

Founded in 2021 by women for women, this week-long retreat is designed for reconnection to self, nature and others with a specific balance of rest and play.

If you find yourself craving a break, wanting to be outside and better yet, outside with horses—this is your moment. The Spring Restorative Retreat retreat includes all the horseback riding and cuisine highlights our ranch has to offer as well as daily guided breathwork, therapeutic writing, and restorative movement, taught by licensed therapist Amy Morrison of True Core Health. Amy’s co-lead and professional portrait photographer, EB Combs, will capture the entire experience, sending you home with an incredible photo gallery from your retreat.

The Spring Retreat’s full week will be an incredible way to fully immerse yourself in the ranch. This itinerary will have more time in the saddle and more dedicated rest throughout your stay. The Spring Retreat is best suited for those with active lifestyles as the riding fatigue will be a higher load during the weeklong stay. Rest and rejuvenation will play a key in balancing exertion and enjoyment. We’ve created this new offering as our primary feedback has consistently been a desire for “even more time” - to rest, to ride, to just be at the ranch exploring connection.

Fall Restorative Retreat
$3500 per person and includes all lodging, meals, and activities. Tax included and gratuity exluded in rate.

The Fall Retreat is well suited for those with more limited availability to set aside for a personal retreat. This is the perfect way to gain access to the Restorative Retreat experience in a big way. This timeline has been our most frequent retreat offering in the past, so the itinerary will be incredibly dialed in, hitting all the highlights.

Women, Horses, and the West
$4235 per person includes all lodging, meals, and activities. Gratuity and tax not included.

Professor Dr. Bonney MacDonald will lead a literary workshop on the theme of Speaking of Horses: Essays, Fiction, and Film on Equine Partnerships.

Ranch with longtime Ranchlands partner, Dr. Bonney MacDonald. Ride through the Great Sand Dunes National park, explore the Medano property and conservation bison herd, discuss readings in the afternoon seminars, and enjoy good company around the bonfire at night. Bonney’s theme this year is: Speaking of Horses: Essays, Fiction, and Film on Equine Partnerships. All levels of riders welcome.

About Bonney MacDonald:
Bonney MacDonald is a Professor of Western Literature at West Texas A&M University. She holds an M.A. from Univ. of Nottingham, England, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and has conducted on-site ranch retreats and classes since 2004.
Her workshops combine the best things you remember about college seminars with great horses, friendship, and the wonderful Western outdoors.

Writing Workshop with Pam Houston
$4270 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.

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.

The Program
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 nonprofit 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.

We will ride horseback each day in varied landscapes exploring the Great Sand Dunes National park, Medano property amongst bison and historic homesteads, and the stunning grasslands with 360 degree views of the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges. All riding levels are welcome.

Horsemanship Workshop with Cam Schryver

Foundations of Horsemanship:
$4305 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.
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 develop their horsemanship skills with expert guidance.

$4305 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.
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.

Food as a Doorway to Memory with Molly Wizenberg
$3220 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.

In this generative writing workshop, you will explore how the sensory details of food can help us unlock our most fertile memories.

The Program
Food touches every aspect of life: people, places, the way we live, the blood and bones of who we are. Using food as an entry point to writing, we can return to past versions of ourselves: experiences we thought we’d forgotten, the thing our father said, the way a lover looked at us. During our week together at the ranch, we’ll be surrounded by inspiration from Ranchlands’ chefs, who will prepare gourmet meals using local produce and meats.

We’ll eat well, and we’ll write every day. We’ll also read and study short works by a variety of writers who’ve used food as a narrative tool, from M. F. K. Fisher to Diana Abu-Jaber, Francis Lam, and Kiese Laymon. And when we’re not writing, reading, or sharing artful meals, we’ll immerse ourselves in the physical world of the ranch with horseback riding and time outdoors.

This workshop is for creative nonfiction writers of all kinds: narrative food writers, sure, but also cookbook authors, memoirists, essayists, journal-keepers. There are no prerequisites, and all levels of skill and experience are welcome. Please come with pen and paper (and a laptop, if you like), a love of language and writing, and a willingness to explore the landscape on horseback and on foot. You’ll leave at the end of the week with the beginnings of several pieces of writing, and maybe one or two finished pieces. Together we’ll write the stories that only we can tell.

About Molly:
Molly Wizenberg is the New York Times-bestselling author of three memoirs: The Fixed Stars, A Homemade Life, and Delancey. She wrote the James Beard Award-winning blog Orangette from 2004 to 2019, and her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Washington Post, Bon Appetit, The Art of Eating, Cherry Bombe, and elsewhere. She is a co-host of the weekly food-and-comedy podcast Spilled Milk. Molly lives in Seattle and teaches workshops on memoir around the world

Harvest Weekend
$1300 includes lodging, meals, a vehicle bison tour, and guided hike for two nights for up to two people. $500 per additional guest in a shared room.

Join us for a weekend of fine dining, highlighting the summer harvest of farmers and ranchers in the surrounding San Luis Valley.
The dining experience at the ranch is second-to-none. Using local produce and meats, including bison from the ranch’s herd, our chefs craft an unforgettable and uncommon take on traditional comfort foods with a modern twist. With dishes like bison tenderloin, wild caught trout from the Arkansas River just a few miles away, and herb roasted carrots from local farmers cooked over wood grown on the property, our kitchen provides an organic encounter to cuisine seldom displayed elsewhere.

This special weekend provides a deeper experience of the ranch's remarkable food program. Learn more about the local production of fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meat–including the conservation bison raised on the ranch–that will be served at each meal on the Lodge lawn. In addition to a guided hike on Saturday, you can explore the ranch, the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and the surrounding area at your leisure.

The majority of produce featured on the ranch's menu is supplied by Valley Roots Food Hub, a non-profit, grassroots program headquartered in Mosca, Colorado. Over 65 independent, regenerative-soil farmers contribute their harvests to the program, with offerings including microgreens, fruit, goat cheese, Amish-raised eggs, pork, beans, quinoa, corn, polenta, elk, yak, beef, and sunflower and safflower oil.

Advanced Painting Horses With Jill Soukup
$3420 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.

Join renowned artist Jill Soukup for the ninth year of her workshop focusing on drawing and painting horses.
Draw, sculpt, and paint the horses of the ranch with the guidance of Jill Soukup, the acclaimed Western artist who specializes in equine paintings. 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.

Equine Gestalt and Herbal Wisdom with Kelly Dukarski
$2660 per person includes all lodging, meals, and activities. Tax and gratuities not included.

Nourish your Soul & Awaken your Spirit.

This retreat you will explore the somatic experience of Equine Gestalt which offers transformational healing and awareness in addition to deepening your connection to nature, horses and community.

The Program
Gestalt brings us into the present moment to explore how we show up in the world. Horses are the intuitive guides that help us to gain the awareness and clarity needed to free ourselves from the feeling of being stuck, stressed out or unable to reach our true potential. This experience allows us to step into the life we were meant to live.

Herbal Wisdom is the exploration of nature based rituals that offer us a renewed approach to connecting with our bodies while awakening an ancient wisdom that lives inside all of us. The creation and use of herbal teas, smudge bundles, balms and elixirs resets the nervous system and enlivens the senses. These earthbound rituals help us to live life in honor of the season and tap into our deepest memories of self care.

Joining together Equine Gestalt and Herbal Wisdom is a beautiful way to honor our mind, body & spirit. Time spent with horses encourages us to become more connected to our bodies, the world around us and to nature itself. By fostering these relationships we learn to live in sync with the rhythm of nature and to trust our wild instincts, intuition and resourcefulness.

About Kelly Dukarski:
Founder: A Wild Omen

As an Equine Gestaltist, Kelly believes that the horse-human connection is a vital way of living, as well as healing. She is a lifelong horsewoman, practicing herbalist and dedicated horticulturist, with a deep understanding of how nature is a reflection of our innermost yearning to connect.

Steeped in knowledge gained from over three decades of practicing natural horsemanship, Kelly combines her connection with horses together with the healing power of Equine Gestalt and the restorative beauty of plant medicine, to deepen your connection to all things Wild and Wise. Through this connection you are able to gain clarity around your values, heal from past wounds and re-discover the beauty of who you are.She is dedicated to shining a light on the healing capacity of horses and helping others to embrace the wild beauty of life

The retreat includes:
-Morning meditation practice & Equine Gestalt Circle with horses in round pen
-Amazing chef inspired meals
-Daily horseback riding at the ranch, the Medano, and the Great Sand Dunes National Park
-Reflective and grounding work with the horses
-Exploration of energy and re-balancing the nervous system
-Restorative herbal self care practices created from wild foraged plants and reflected in teas, smudges, flower essence & elixirs.
-Earthbound rituals to deepen your connection to nature
-Evening Bonfire under the stars

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Bison and Cattle Working Ranch in Colorado
Tour Code: WRCO01
8 days / 7 nights ~$4,200.00
Dates: March-October, custom dates possible with 3+ nights

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Themed Weeks
Airport: San Luis Valley Regional Airport (ALS)
Hiking, bird watching, photography, whitewater rafting, massages, fly fishing, rock climbing

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