Trip of a Lifetime
Westcliffe Horse Ranch Retreat Adventure Review from Susie Halsey
I had the amazing opportunity, thanks to Bold Betties, to spend 4 incredible days at Music Meadows Ranch, a beautiful 3,800 acre cattle ranch in the Wet Mountain Valley at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It truly is God’s country.
The ranch is owned and operated by Elin Parker, an incredible rancher, horsewoman, business woman, and human. I am so appreciative of all the wisdom and stories she shared with us. I am amazed at how she, with her ranch manager (another tough as nails woman), do it all. From managing the livestock to mending fences, and everything in between, these are two of the toughest and most hardworking women I’ve ever met. I am so inspired by Elin. As our trip guide described her, she is definitely “woman goals.”
I spent my days with 5 other awesome women and Bold Betties from across the country – we came together from Charlotte, Chicago, Tulsa, Boise, and Fort Collins to share this unique and amazing experience. We shared our stories, shed tears both from laughing until we cried and being vulnerable, learned new things, pushed ourselves out of comfort zones, and made memories that will last a lifetime.
I got to ride every day with my partner for the week, Gavin, a beautiful Tennessee Walker. Gavin had his moments of testing me, but thanks to a lot of great horsemanship tips from Elin and my own years of riding experience, we worked through them and got along so well. We rode through meadows, aspen groves, and up into the mountains. Galloping together through open pastures and feeling that old familiar feeling of exhilaration and freedom that being on the back of a horse brings. The views on the ranch were absolutely breathtaking. On the last day, we moved 320+ head of cattle from one meadow to another. It was an incredible experience that required teamwork and problem solving with the horses, other riders, and cattle. A brand new thing for this dressage girl, but as I told the women on the trip, they might’ve just converted this English rider into a cowgirl.
I got to try fly fishing for the first time and (pardon the pun) I’m totally hooked. I caught and released a rainbow trout, and cleaned another that was caught that we ate the next day. Bold Betties aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty!
We had delicious meals prepared for us, and all of the beef was a product of the ranch. Y’all, this is THE BEST grass-fed and finished beef I’ve ever had. We had pastrami, pulled beef tacos, beef sausage, beef barbecue, and filet mignon. We even got to try Rocky Mountain oysters, and you know what? They were good! Like second and thirds helping good. I’m not sure I’d eat them anywhere else because the quality of beef just wouldn’t compare to what is raised at Music Meadows. Side note – you can totally order Sangres Best (the beef company owned by Elin) online.
This was a trip of a lifetime. I grew as a horsewoman and human, made new friends, tried new things, and fell in love with a gorgeous part of Colorado.