My horse isn’t fazed by the grazing antelopes or the prairie dogs scurrying underfoot. It continues trotting across the open plain, passing through knee-deep streams and stopping to munch on wild grass.
There is no trail but I’m not worried about getting lost. My guide, Connor, is a bona fide cowboy who doesn’t speak much but knows how to handle a bronc.
When I close my eyes I imagine being back at Wyoming’s Vee Bar Ranch, the perfect place for a city slicker like me to experience the American West.
Honeymoon on horseback
During our honeymoon last summer, Jake and I spent a day horseback riding, tubing and hiking at Vee Bar Ranch. At night, we retreated to the property’s John Wayne Saloon for beers and a friendly game of pool.
Our stay at the ranch was arranged and sponsored by Wyoming Tourism following my press trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days. I hadn’t heard of Vee Bar Ranch before, and wasn’t planning to stop near Laramie on our way to Yellowstone National Park. As it turns out, the detour was well worth it!
Discovering my inner cowgirl
It had been about 20 years since I last mounted a horse (in Girl Scouts), but my jitters faded when I arrived at the barn.
The friendly wranglers didn’t judge as I struggled to mount my steed, or when I consistently lagged behind the rest of our group. We rode with a friendly Colorado family, who told us they come back to Vee Bar every summer on vacation.
I prefer to meander slowly on a horse rather than trot since it allows more time for photo taking. It was easy to get great shots, even while perched on top of a horse. The scenery was breathtaking.
I felt like a pioneer as I trotted in the shadow of the Snowy Range Mountains. We came across a variety of animals, including prairie dogs, deer and distant cows.
Although we were a mostly-beginner group, we didn’t stick to a marked trail. We crossed a creek, rode through tall grass and made our way across a wide open plain. It felt like a real Western adventure!
Quality time with a cowboy
Our guide, Connor, was a classic cowboy: polite, quiet and confident on a horse. He gamely answered a barrage of questions about animal husbandry, the rodeo and life in Wyoming (99% of them asked by me).
Besides communing with nature, the highlight of my trip was having an excuse to dress in cowgirl chic. I purchased a prairie-style shirt, wore the cowboy hat I picked up at Cheyenne Frontier Days, and found a funky pair of knee-high boots at the Vee Bar barn.
I got some double-takes from the cowboys, since the boots were supposed to be for men, but they were a perfect match for my skinny jeans!
Located just 2.5 hours from Denver, Vee Bar attracts repeat visitors from across the United States. The ranch is a popular summer destination for families, since it offers horseback riding and river tubing.
Most guests opt for a 3 or 6 night package, which includes meals and riding instruction on your own horse. Day rates are also available and include breakfast.
Horseback riding lessons are available from May through October, but winter visitors can snowmobile and ski.
Vee Bar Ranch
38 Vee Bar Ranch Road
Laramie, Wyoming 82070