If saddling up appeals to the adventurer within you, you may want to consider a visit to Montana's Lodge at Sun Ranch, where guests can roam the country's wide, open spaces via the back of a trusty steed.
“Horseback riding is a highlight of the ranch experience for many guests, and yet the typical program has the potential to disturb wildlife, erode trails and spread invasive weeds,” says Ryan Bell, assistant manager for the luxe eco-lodge. “Those negative aspects weren’t in keeping with our overall objectives, so we were inspired to figure out how to bring our equestrian program into the fold of the lodge’s eco-mission.”
And so he did. Over the past three years The Lodge at Sun Ranch has been building a horseback riding opportunity that doubles as an innovative green program.
Featuring a “leave no trace” approach to horsemanship means riders follow designated trails and pack everything in and out. Trails are carefully chosen under consultation with the ranch‘s wildlife biologist for sensitivity to such issues as riparian zones and wildlife migration, and are rotated to reduce impact.
In fact, the lodge has gone as far as to utilize "recycled" horses. You read that right - in 2007, a program was launched that adopted mustangs trained by inmates of the Wyoming state prison. Dubbed the "Honor Farm", the inmate-fueled program houses wild horses otherwise held in crowded federal holding facilities.
Once trained, the horses tour guests through the wildlife laden Madison River Valley country on adventures such as the "ride and fish" offer that offers up a gourmet lunch and fishing on a private alpine lake. If fishing isn't your game, you could always grab a cocktail and hop on a horse for a sunet wagon ride - clopping about with a naturalist guest speaker.
For the complete scoop on packages and rates, go to http://www.sunranchlodge.com/.
Image courtesy of Sun Ranch Lodge.