Archive for the ‘Arkansas Dude Ranch’ Category

Sunday, March 11th, 2012


Last year we got some mini pigs from our good friends Sky & Debora Shivers.  Now from time to time we make more piglets.  These little guys and gals were born the first part of March.  We think they are among some of the cutest baby animals, right up there with puppies.  It always amazes me at how mobile they are right from the start.  They get up and run around almost from day one.  I guess that comes from survival of the fittest.  We have enjoyed having this new addition.


Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Every year, sometime in January, the Dude Ranch Association holds a convention for all of us fellow dude ranchers.  This year is was held in the Cody Wyoming, home of COLONEL WILLIAM F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody.  So we packed up the family and took the 22 hour/1252 miles West to Cody.

After many miles of sage brush and mostly flat land mountains finally appear.


We were worried about snow but instead Barry had to hold the van on the road when gusts of 50 to 60 mph winds would come across the highway.


Traveling is so much more fun now that our youngest is 8.


There is always a lot of sleeping on such a long drive.


The start of the Boysen State Park.

We drove through Boysen State Park in Wyoming where the Wind River runs along side the road.  During this part of the drive we always make the kids turn off their electronic devices because of how interesting and beautiful the pass is.

The truck in front of us gives you and idea of the size of things.

At the convention we get renewed and refreshed with new ideas and it always gets us excited and ready for the next season.   We love seeing all of our friends we have made over the years from coming to this event and we always seem to make new ones.  It is half vacation half business I guess you could say.

Walking the streets of Cody, WY.

Lunch at the La Comida

Cody found his dream “climber” wagon while we were there.

Cody is located just outside the West entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  If you drive up the canyon towards the West entrance this time of the year(which is closed in the winter) you can see all kinds of wildlife due to them moving to lower grounds for food.  Our favorite are the big horn sheep.  They are much harder to spot in the summer when they are up running around in the rock.

Heading up the canyon.


Can you see the big ram? You will need to click on the photo to enlarge it to find him.


They are literally right on the side of the road.


Another ram.


Mule Deer Does: We saw a lot of mule deer. They are so much bigger than the white tail. Notice their big ears, it’s how they got their name, they have ears like a mule. 


A big herd of elk.

People ice fishing. The weather was pretty mild, around 40 and 50 degrees. Usually it is a lot colder and the ice fishermen will be more out on the lake.

When we came back we stopped at Cowtown Candy Company.  April from Three Bars Guest Ranch had gone there earlier and said they had this most magical white chocolate covered stuff  and we should get some.  Okay, maybe she didn’t call it “magical stuff” but after we ate some we did!  Cowtown’s truffles were good but this white chocolate covered “puff” stuff was the best.  If you ever go to Cody you have to go in there and try some, actually don’t even worry about trying it, just buy a bag it’s worth it.

Huge jawbreaker.


Old fashion rock candy.


Cameron was sad because he ate all of his candy.


All dressed up for the Educational Trust   banquet and fundraiser.

After lots of good meetings and classes it was time to pack back up and head South.  It was a short trip but well worth it.

Nebraska Sunset: There is beauty in every part of this country if we just look. It’s a little blurry but there is no stopping on I-80. 🙂


Another early start to driving home, day two.


Kansas Sunrise

Home Sweet Home!

Growing up in Utah there is just something about the West that will always have a piece of my heart.  If you haven’t done it you really need to visit Yellowstone National Park.  All of the Yellowstone entrances are unique and different.  If you decided to go through Cody and the West entrance there are a several things you should take a moment and see/do:

1. Visit the Dude Rancher Association Heritage Center  building right in downtown Cody.  Make sure you tell Colleen and her staff “hello” from Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.
2. Visit The Irma: “A place in history”.  Buffalo Bill named the hotel after his daughter.
3. Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  You will need plenty of time to explore and see all the center has to offer.  Very interesting and informative.



Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Febuary 11, 2012 – 6:00 p.m.

Dinner, Cowboy Stories and Music!
Cost: FREE
You must call and reserve to attend.

Cabins are available to rent. 


 Awarded “1997 & 1999 Storyteller of the Year” – by the Academy of Western Artist
Awarded “2006 Best Storyteller” – by the American Cowboy Culture Association

A “Doctorate” in Cow Lot Psychology, a Masters in Colorful Thinking and several “B.S.” degrees in Pert Near True Tale Telling is only part of the qualifications that make Sky Shivers one of America’s favorite Western Storyteller.

Sky started at an early age on the journey to attain these lofty degrees by hangin’ around cattle auctions, and attendin’ feed store gatherin’s on winter days after the locals had fed up the stock. 

Sky even apprenticed as a driver for several years with two highly successful but ethically challenged dealers of second hand mules and horses.

After years of tutelage from “ole men,” each of whom were legendary; Sky now shares his talents of making a true story even truer, puttin’ hair raisin’ excitement into past mediocre events, and creatin’ wondrous works of fiction from pick-up tailgates at gatherings and festivals where a well dressed story is valued.

JD Baker

JD Baker has written and performed cowboy poetry for over 15 years. He has performed all across the United States, from a chuck wagon camp in Oklahoma, to the University Club in St. Louis. From pack trips and hay rides, to western festivals and cowboy gatherings, JD takes pride in keeping the tradition of cowboy Poetry alive.

From a mere hand full of stories around a campfire to an entire evening of western entertainment, JD aims to please with something for everybody: Classic cowboy poetry, modern day poetry, Gut busting funny, or a good old tear jerker.


Thursday, January 5th, 2012

This is the time of year when the guest ranch part of the ranch is closed and we start on projects.  Right now the lodge is getting the walls and floors refinished  and  the little old shooting shack (which it is truly a little shack) is being torn down and a new one put in it’s place.  These are the normal types of things that happen over the winter but this time around we have added a new project that we haven’t done in a long time, young unbroken horses.

Back when we first started the guest ranch and didn’t have as many horses as we did today we decided it would be “fun” to buy some young quality stock, that normally would cost quite a bit older and broke, and start them ourselves with the hopes that they would work out for our trail string around the age of  4 1/2 – 5.  Max and Slingblade are couple of those that have been here for many years.  This past year we decided since we had Cowboy Cody and Tember, who have both started colts and are very capable of training a horse, why not get a couple “projects” with the intent to either resell to pay for an older broke horse or keep him around and turn him into a trail horse for the string in the future.  So off I went to last September  Lolli Brothers Special Horse Sale in Macon, MO to pick out a couple long yearlings (these would be two in the year 2012). And I did just that, except I came home with one extra…oops.  🙂

Here are the colts I purchased at the sale, they have yet to get their nicknames:

Zebs Dunn Parr - born May 21, 2010 Registered Quarter Horse

BQH Buckshot Burney - born June 7, 2010 Registered Quarter Horse

Sheer Golden - born June 1, 2010 Registered Quarter Horse

 This guy is the “extra” horse… guess you would call him the third wheel since I was only supposed to come home with two.

Then we remembered we needed to add Thistle to the “project” list.  She was born and raised here.



Thistle - born April 2010 Sire: Quarter Horse Dam: Flower (Spotted Draft)

In December Barry and I decided to go  the Tulsa Horse Sale in Tulsa Oklahoma to see if we could pick up a riding horse or two for less than we would pay in the spring.   During the sale a coming three year old bay roan gelding was led in, not broke of course.  His price was so cheap that now he has been added to our “project” list.

Belles Sixcess - born May 31, 2009 Registered Quarter Horse

Now that we have our “projects” it’s time to get started with them.  The 2010 “kids” will only need to be worked with in the round pen with saddling and bridling, very minimal stuff, until they get a bit older this summer.  The 2009 gelding is old enough to do it all.  We have only run into one problem with our plan, Cowboy Cody left us to work on a 650 head cattle ranch in Oklahoma but we still have Tember.  🙂

We are looking forward to watching these guys (and girl) grown and develop into reliable and fun trail horses.


Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

What is going on?  We were just in the mid 60’s and we blink for one second and what do we have? Snow!  It seems a bit early to be getting snow.  I wonder if this is a sign letting us know we are going to get more than usual this year.






Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

One of our highlights of the year is when the LA Center for the Blind come to horseback ride & rock climb in the fall. Thanks Morgan for putting together this video of their experience.

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

The 2011 season is over for the most part (there is still one more chance to book a ranch vacation this year – the week of Thanksgiving!) and we decided a staff trail ride on the Buffalo National River  would be fun.

All loaded up and ready to go.

When I said we "all" thought it would be fun, well Morgan (climbing guide) might not have thought it would be fun. But he was a good sport and came. Cody Johnson, also might not have thought it would be fun but trail riding meant missing school.

The plan was for everyone to go to the other side of the river and take a group photo. If you notice the wet pant legs on Cody and Barry... the rest decided not to follow.

Just imagine 6 other riders on that rock bank and how cool it would have looked. 🙂

Time to come back. The water wasn't too bad but the weather was not exactly swimming temps.

Oops, found an even deeper spot.

The Peanut Gallery.

Barry's turn to make his way back across.

Getting ready to get his legs wet, again.

We stopped at a place that is called The Suck Hole to eat snacks, and for some of us, dry off. This location got it's name because there is place under the bluff where the water is "sucked" under the rock and comes out further down the river on the other side.

Morgan climbing. He almost was the third person to get wet in the river when he couldn't find any holds to climb back up. Fortunately he finally found his way.

Missing two family members. Creed is a little two young for this length of a ride and Cameron is a responsible child and didn't want to miss school due to homework load.

Jason getting some R & R before we finish out last two miles.

Thank you to our 2011 staff for such a great year!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

All the yummy food and none of the cooking and cleaning!

We will be open the week of Thanksgiving for guest ranch packages – Thanksgiving dinner included!

Just give our reservation office a call at 1-800-480-9635 to book your spot today. 

We also provide a traditional "kids" table.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Front gate at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Fall is one of our favorite seasons.  To us it means cooler weather, beautiful leaves, apple cider, pumpkins, and a time for family and friends to reunite.  What more could you ask for?

This year in the Dallas Morning News were listed as one of the 5 best places to see “autumn’s glory” in the U.S. . We were a little concerned with the extra hot weather and the lack of rain that all the leaves might just dry up, turn brown and fall off.  Fortunately this was not the case. Usually the best time to see the leaves at peak is the end of October. There is still some good color after that but then they start to fall off.


Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

For us, August means the end of our summer guest ranch season, school starts and the county fair.   We really enjoy fair week.  There is a parade, horse show, livestock show, exhibits, rides (kids favorites) and the rodeo.  Last year the Newton County Fair brought in a Little Britches Rodeo.  If you think rodeos are just okay you should try watching a Little Britches competition.  The rodeo consists of competitors that are 19 and younger.  They do everything from mutton bust’n to bull riding (smaller version of the big guys).  There is just something about watching “the youth” competing that makes it a worth while and  entertaining event.  I have great respect for the little guys who get out there and try.



Steer riding


13 year old team roper.