Hail and snow have pounded many of the Rocky Mountains during opening weekend. The Dude Ranchers’ Association certainly fields lots of questions about operations and animals during hectic weather. However, it’s not just weather that brings out the wacky questions. Here are some of the most insane questions guests have asked wranglers about weather, horses, landscapes and obscurity?
A Foal Laughing at the Vista Verde Ranch
Rawah Ranch is located close to the Wyoming / Colorado border in the Laramie River Valley and offers up plenty of opportunities to spot big wildlife such as moose, elk, deer amongst dozens of other creatures. Primetime is especially in June before the valley warms from the summer heat and new offspring accompany their mothers into meadows and riverbeds. It might have been this scene that prompted the question, “At what elevation does a deer turn into an elk?” The wrangler’s response, at 10,000 feet; but, you know what happens at 12,000 feet? “No!” It turns into a moose!
Moose at the Rawah Ranch
Cherokee Park Ranch has been in operation for decades, it was actually an original stagecoach stop between Colorado and Wyoming. That definitive border really had one guest rethinking the Continental Divide. The 300-acre ranch touches 900,000 acres of Roosevelt National Forest and offers spectacular views of the Continental Divide. Upon approach to an overlook, a wrangler pointed out the divide to a horseback group. One guest asked, what is the Continental Divide, another answered, “You know, if the country goes to war again, this is where we divide the country so we know who will fight who…”
QUEUE THE WILDLIFE
Rainbow Trout Ranch is a spectacular spread on 600 acres in the high-altitude mountains, outside of Antonito, Colorado. With 1.5 miles of private banks along the Conejos River, many animals congregate in the area, especially in early summer to feed on lush grasses. The rides cross a river into a large valley after crossing the bridge. One guest looks at a wrangler and says, “I’m now comfortable on my horse, can you please queue the wildlife, I’d like to see an elk herd!” Would you know it . . . the wrangler delivered and an elk herd did appear on that ride!
DOES A HORSE DRINK BEER?
In another southern corner of Colorado is Majestic Dude Ranch, known for classic dude ranch culture, a baseball diamond and fire-engine red cabins. People must connect with the movie Field of Dreams and feel right at home, as here, some of the most bizarre questions are hurled at wranglers. “Can I pee from my horse without getting off?” Sure, responds the wrangler, but don’t! “Can horses sit like dogs?” They can! “Do horses drink beer?” Yes. “When can I gallop?” You’ve never ridden before. “I’m going to need a bigger horse.” No, you’re not. “Do horses get altitude sick?” Probably, Majestic does give their horses a few days to acclimate after winter pasture at lower elevations.
Photo Credit: Laramie River Ranch
WHY DOES A HORSE PEE OUT OF THAT HOLE?
It must be something about the altitude, or a trail ride in majestic scenery such as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that provokes potty talk amongst guests. Lost Creek Ranch & Spa is located between Grant Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest, making for steep rides and careful footing amongst horses, who often lighten their load on the mountain treks. The ranch has been in the Halpin Family for 50 years, yet, it’s one strange question that wranglers get every season. “Why is that horse peeing out of its butt?” Again, no answer needed, it’s not!
WHAT IS INSIDE THE ROCK?
For many, a visit to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas, is a virgin experience into the woods, and especially the deep woods of the Ozarks. This prompts many questions about geography, geology, and basic, second-grade knowledge. The ranch typically offers two rides a day, a morning and an afternoon ride, through meadows, hardwoods, and past massive sandstone rock formations and bluffs. It was here that one guest asked the wrangler, “What’s inside the rock.” No answer. Another guest asked the same wrangler, “Is that the sun or the moon rising in the sky?” This has happened on multiple occasions.