You’ve heard about it in songs and perhaps you’ve seen it in a movie or commercials, but did you know that you can do it right here in Colorado? Several places around Colorado offer horse and sleigh rides, and earlier this winter we got to experience an outing at Snow Mountain Ranch, a beautiful YMCA of the Rockies property in Grand County, Colorado.
We arrived at Sombrero Stables a little before our scheduled excursion. All the draft horse teams were lined up, waiting to be hitched to their sleighs for multiple afternoon outings, so we walked down the line giving head scratches and taking photos.
I fell in love with draft horses while writing a series of articles about Norwegian Fjords for a Colorado newspaper. Draft horses are called “gentle giants” for a reason; their demeanor is calm and they are unlike any other horse I’ve been around. I love their chill personalities.
Our sleigh was pulled by Rufio, a reddish horse of mysterious origins. He came to the ranch without a story, a bit unusual, but they quickly learned that he was a great cart horse and put him to work pulling one-horse open sleighs.
Our wrangler was Natalie from Wisconsin. She was a wealth of knowledge and told us lots of stories as our sleigh glided through the snowy world of Snow Mountain Ranch. I learned that draft horses teams are usually composed of the same two horse every time they pull and these two horses grow very close, hanging out together in their off time too. Longtime teams are often inseparable.
After Ryan and I were tucked into the sleigh Rufio made his way through a sun dappled forest. We eventually found ourselves in a little clearing where a fire was burning. On a nearby picnic table we discovered all the accouterments for roasting marshmallows. We climbed out of the sleigh, drank hot cider and I burned a marshmallow (I have no patience for roasting the perfect marshmallow).
The sleigh ride was relaxing and the scenery was stunning. This excursion would make a great Colorado Valentine’s Day experience with your sweetheart.
There are other sleigh rides available at Sombrero Stables at Snow Mountain Ranch including hot cocoa sleigh rides with a group and private outings like the one we experienced. If you’d rather get on a horse and go on a trail ride, that’s available too – even in the winter. Go to Sombrero.com for details on the various activities the stables offer.
Thank you to Snow Mountain Ranch for hosting us on this trip and a special thank you to Sombrero Stables, Natalie and Rufio.