That’s right! Sundance Trail is joining the digital age!
Are you considering visiting us for the first time and want to see what we’re all about? Maybe you’ve visited us in the past and just miss the ranch. Whatever the reason, we invite you to take advantage of our new virtual tour and take a walk around the ranch!
Clicking here will take you inside our main lodge and from there you can simply click and drag to navigate around the room. Want to move into the dining room? No problem. Simply move your cursor and click to move into the different rooms or even outside! Just keep clicking to take your own, self guided tour of Sundance Trail.
Tired of clicking and want to jump to a specific area? No problem.
Last summer, Justin rescued a very skinny and remarkably ugly little gray mare named Jazzy.
Under his skillful watch, Jazzy blossomed into a fat and loving all-around children’s horse – a favorite!
In March, Jazzy started looking “funny.” You know, this big bulgy
tummy started sticking out. Not worms, not
melanoma, not too much beer. The obstetrical experts (Justin and Ellen) examined her to find…. a kick! ANOTHER kick! A BABY!
Little nameless filly was born April 12th. Then it snowed, and snowed and its still snowing! So the tractor shed was renovated into the mom and baby nursery, where they are both doing quite nicely, thank you!
Baby is now old enough that she will approach us and allow us to hold her head and pet and generally love on her.
Justin: Best Wishes on your New Dude Ranch Adventure!
Sad for us, a
Great and Joyful Adventure for You!
Although he told us: “I have a dream that when I grow up I will be the CEO of Wal-Mart or NASCAR,” it came as no surprise when Justin told us that he is buying his own dude ranch.
He’s a cowboy through and through, and it will be heart warming to watch his dreams grow and unfold.
On the secret staff Page, Justin introduced himself to his staff with these words:
Hello there my future minions… So Justin Ripley here (Believe It Or Not) I am your Barn Manager but I do anything and everything needed on the ranch. I have a dream that when I grow up I will be the CEO of Wal-Mart or NASCAR until then I am just playing..
I am from Indiana, a Vet Tech, horse trainer, and former Military. I needed a break from the real world so I moved to Colorado a few years ago to follow my childhood dream of working on a dude ranch for a summer. Ends up I refused to leave so I took over managing the ranch for awhile. Then I was off to AZ to play with the rattle snakes and cactus at another ranch. I would not recommend taking up Rattle Snake Charming anytime soon.
Dan and Ellen decided to rescue me from a horrible death from snake bite.. I have been at Sundance since Nov 2010 and have fallen under its spell.
And now the spell of his own place! Yee-haw! Here are his websites:
Justin is now working on fleshing out his Business Plan, Balance Sheets, PPM Offer and all that other fun stuff.
Not sure if Ellen’s “town job” gives us enough income to invest, but we sure do plan on being customers. We can’t wait for the opportunity to visit. Yes, dude ranchers tend to vacation at dude ranches! And summer in Montana is beautiful; both weeks!
Happy trails, Justin. We welcome you into the neighborhood of dude ranchers and wish you all the happiness in the world.
Flat Stanley is a pal of our friend Julian Byrnes from New York. He loves to travel and Julian suggested that he might enjoy experiencing a Colorado Dude Ranch vacation. Flat Stanley arrived and immediately threw himself into the excitement of winter in the Rocky Mountains.
He had to be a little careful on his first few days because it was very windy and blustery up here and he doesn’t have a whole lot of body mass. He was afraid he might blow away!
He braved the wind in the afternoon though to help me feed the horses.
Flat Stanley also helped me feed the chickens.
Finally the wind died down enough for Stanley to go riding with me. He was very excited when he learned that we had a horse named Stanley on the ranch. So here is Flat Stanley riding Little Stanley. We went up into the woods so that Flat Stanley could look out at the Mummy Range of the Rocky Mountains and check out some Aspens and Ponderosa Pine trees.
After a long day on horseback, kicking back in the hot tub is the perfect way to relax.
And even better if it’s followed by an evening in front of a roaring wood fire.
Just before he had to leave, Stanley was lucky enough to meet another ranch friend. Madam Moose stopped by to check on us.
Unfortunately, Flat Stanley had to be on his way. We’ll miss him but we’re sure he’s having a great time in South Carolina with Ellen and Dan. I’m sure there will be more stories of his adventures upon their return. From the staff at Sundance Trail, we hope you had a fabulous winter and have exciting plans for the coming summer. Maybe we’ll see ya up on the mountain!
A very BIG special thanks to Ms. Marian, who was Stanley’s wrangler!
Come join us and relax over a long Holiday weekend. Let us cook and clean! A Christmas Eve Seven Course Dinner, a Family Style Christmas Dinner of Turkey carved at the table; a Champagne Breakfast on Boxing Day: family fun, including for mom!.
Some typical Morning Activities:
Trail Riding, maybe in the snow! With lessons available.
And available Afternoon Activities:
Trap and rifle shooting
Trail Riding, maybe in the snow!
Horse back riding lessons & coaching available
Make and decorate Holiday/Christmas cookies
Decorate the tree (help us find and bring home just the right tree)
Pool Table & Foosball Table
Evening Activities we are planning:
Square Dance (if we have sufficient number of guests)
Cowboy Christmas Music with Lars & Amy
Star-gazing with our family telescope
Evening soak in hot tub
Pool Table & Foosball Table
Hot chocolate & cookies
(Murder Mystery Possible!)
Wine, spirits and beer available at our liquor store.
Goodbye, Daphne Duck! Rest in Peace, High Park Fire. You are now just an Adventure Vacation chapter in our Colorado Dude Ranch History!
Joy and Gratitude!
So many folks have called or emailed – we are deeply moved by your friendship and concern. Thank You! Feel free to reply below.
The High Park fire is no longer news. More than half of the fire fighters (and TV vans) have all moved on to other parts of the state, with our prayers and gratitude.
The fire met the containment perimeter cut by fire fighters and stopped dead in its tracks, miles from here.
It stopped growing about three days ago.
And then a bit of rain cooled it off. Remaining fire fighters are mopping up.
Yesterday almost all of the evacuees went home.
Our ranch family is now smaller by five humans, five dogs, four cats, two horses, and a very awesome DUCK.
Gary, Carol, Jeanie, Penny & Ron, we are so glad to have gotten to know you better! You are no longer good neighbors, now you are dear dear friends.
For the dude ranch, very little changed.
Sundance Trail continued on with our guest ranch life, always watching closely and fully prepared with fuels mitigation, sprinkler and foam throwing systems (& a few miles of
hoses!), strengthening defensible space, staff training, evacuation plans, back-up vacations with neighbor ranches for guests, safe pasture for horses…. and, of course, groceries!
We have been preparing for this for more than 5 years, since long before the beetle kill adventure began.
Thanks Dave, for getting us started with those Colorado Forestry Service fuels mitigation grants so many years ago! And thanks to our friends and neighbors who were there for us; Dickie & Christine, Luann, Jim Beck, LeAndra, Patti & Dennis.
A HUGE big thanks to our Glacier View Fire Department and Greg and Andrea. You folks left your homes, livestock and businesses to lead the crews to protect our homes. We are grateful to you and will not soon forget your generosity and dedication.
Wow! So many emails and phone calls! Y’all make us feel very cared for.
The fire remains at least 25 miles south east of us and on the other side of the river ( a major big protective fire line).
Our prevailing winds continue to be from the west or northwest, pushing the fire away (and filling Fort Collins with smoke). A wind from the south will push the fire north, but still far west of us. A wind from the east will push the fire far south of us. Our concern is high winds from the south-east; pretty unusual. We are watching closely and we are prepared.
Staff fire training is complete. We own our own foam system to cover the lodge. We have set up impulse sprinkler systems around defenable buildings as a precaution. The last few beetle killed trees will come down today. All is well, we are prepared. Actually, thanks to Nick, Victor, James and a few others, we have been well prepared for a couple of years now. (We have been expecting this since we moved here – Smoky the bear has caused almost one hundred years of fuels to be left on the ground – Mother Nature is trying to balance out our arrogant foolishness.)
Neighbors closer to the fire are bringing their horses here. Thanks to Dicky and Christine’s loaning us their 10-horse trailer, we can move all of the horses to Luann’s corrals in Owl Canyon in less than three hours.
In other words, we are expecting the best, prepared for the worst, and watching closely.
Now join us in praying for rain.
And we are starting the summer dude ranch season. Yee-haw!
Sorry no pictures on this post – have been off buying horses! Have bought 6 new horses in the last two weeks – all are “honeys”! Pictures of Ralph, Dharma, Rio, Guss, Soda-Pop and Gene soon.
Answer: First, this is not a nose-to-tail riding program!. Our program is small enough to accommodate both proficient riders, and beginners. We are one of the smallest ranches in Colorado, and we enjoy being flexible in our programs and teaching.
Those who enjoy sight-seeing at a walk can; and those who want the faster jogs and lopes can too!
Our program uses a series of six steps to bring beginners from the ground up, starting with basic Dude Ranch Western Riding and ground manners. These steps are based on principles of Western Riding taught by the American Association of Horsemanship Safety and the Dude Ranchers Association Wrangler Safety programs. More details on our Riding and What Makes Us Different pages.
4. How often?
Answer: Every day but Sunday (Horses’ Sabbath)!
Monday both AM & PM
Tuesday AM (or Rock Climbing) and PM
Wednesday All day ride or two shorter rides AM & PM
Thursday white water rafting or AM ride for shorter stay folks
Friday All day ride or two shorter rides AM and PM
Saturday AM Gymkana (Ranch Rodeo!) and swim with horses in the pond.
5. Are there fast rides? Long rides? Family rides? Separate kids rides?