Western Riders Program
For the horse lover! This program offers the chance to “just get out and ride.” Western Riders develop riding skills while connecting with horses from the ground and from the riding perspective.
Rising 6th - 12th Graders
Designed for those who love horses and riding!
NOTE: Please read our Important Prerequisites.
5-day weeks: Monday - Friday, June 5 - August 11, 2023
(Except the week of the 4th of July.)
4-day weeks-ONLY THESE 2 WEEKS:
Week 1) Tuesday - Friday, May 30 - June 3, 2023
Week 6) Monday, July 3rd | Tuesday, NO CAMP | Wednesday, July 5 - Friday, July 7, 2023
(No Camp the day of 4th of July.)
HOW TO GET TO CAMP
Transportation provided to and from the Ranch from our
Morning Drop Off: 8:00 - 8:15am
Afternoon Pick Up: 4:45 - 5:00pm
MOUNTAIN LOCALS AT-CAMP TIME
Morning Drop Off: 9:00am
Afternoon Pick Up: 4:00pm
$857 Weekly Tuition for 5-day week
$686 Weekly Tuition for 4-day (ONLY May 30 - June 2 & July 3 & 5-7)
Includes transportation to and from our bus stop in Boulder, all activities, supervision, instruction, and about 10 hours of horseback riding per week, and even more "horse time."
See our full Payment & Refund Policy Here
Western Riders spend most of their time at the Barn and with the horses. This is the horse lover's dream. They get to enjoy two-hour ride times which include learning, helping with tacking and untacking either in the morning or afternoon four or five days a week. The day is filled with other horse experiences and learning more about horses, building relationships with them, and all the other animals. They learn how to care for them and their living spaces. They work with horses from the ground up.
Western Riders are organized into groups based on grade level along with friends, if indicated. To get the most out of this program, riders should respect and appreciate horses, have previous riding experience on their own, and be comfortable in a western saddle at a walk and trot. Riders need to be open to loose-rein partnering with their horse and not afraid to lope or canter.
Riding is casual and comfortable for riders who then find that treating the horses gently readies them for partnership. Ride time consists of group and individualized instruction and usually includes a walking and trotting "open-range free ride" off trails through the meadows and forests of the Ranch premises, with loping or cantering at the end of rides. Expect coaching on individual skill development, games on horses, obstacle courses, trail rides, and practice riding at various gates and speeds.
For Western Riders, horse and barn times are generally 1/2 day, four or five days a week. When riders are scheduled for a Western Rider group, those campers do not participate in the daily morning or afternoon gatherings for flag-raising, songs, and sharing. Instead, they head on over to the Barn in the morning and stay out longer for their afternoon ride.
RIDE LIKE THE WIND!
Riders gain confidence with riding each gate progressively, starting with the walk, then the trot, then the lope or canter. Each rider lopes or canters his or her horse on a designated stretch of trail or road one at a time for safety and to receive individualized pointers.
ANIMAL CARE & GROUNDWORK
First, Western Riders get comfortable with horses from the ground, exploring personal fears and respect for all the animals – the riding horses, our draft mule Tommy, our mini horse Tina, and nanny goats with kids. Groundwork includes relating with all the animals, hands-on grooming, tacking and untacking, routine health care, feeding, watering, mucking, and daily maintenance of the animals and their corrals. They become competent in catching, leading, bridling, and saddling horses.
WESTERN ART & ROPING
Learn to draw and paint horses and how to spin and throw the rope to catch "cattle" (horse troughs with horns) with names like Bertha and Tofu.
(Means "Horse" in Latin) Sit around at the barn area and share interesting facts about horses. Learn about breeds, colors, conformation, and the history of horses, as well as various riding styles and events.
When there is time for other camp activities, the Western riders will get a chance to try some of the favorites.
THE CMR HORSES
The Colorado Mountain Ranch horses are well-trained and treated with kindness. Therefore, they generally have good dispositions and a liking for people. They are strong and steady, come in all colors and sizes, and are kept shod for our rocky terrain. Our horses belong to us, so each horse is like family. They are old friends with us and the campers year after year. The local mountain country is wide open for exploring the pine and aspen forests and wildflower meadows in "Old West" style. At the Colorado Mountain Ranch, folks can still just "get out and ride" with excellent wranglers to supervise the experience.
GENTLE APPROACH AND MIKE WALKER, DIRECTOR
Mike has directed the Western Riding programs at The Colorado Mountain Ranch for over 40 years. His gentle, natural approach emphasizes communication, respect, trust, balance, and enjoyment for both horse and human. Mike has developed his own eclectic "horse-whisperer" approach to training and riding, through practice and study with famous trainers beginning with originals Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. He builds a partnership rather than dominates, works with horses rather than breaks them, and fosters unity of mind, body, and spirit with the horse. His ways with horses are similar to those popularized by the "natural horsemanship" approach of Pat Parelli and Buck Branaman. Many horse people today refer to Mike as "the best horseman" they know. One of Mike's special gifts is sharing his horsemanship knowledge and abilities with others, especially children.
THE ROUND PEN
Western Riders may get a chance to observe Mike working in the round pen with a horse that is just starting out or could use a "tune-up." Mike's often humorous ongoing commentary introduces the Riders to Mike's and CMR's way of respectfully communicating with horses and people of all ages, children included, of course!
THE WRANGLERS AND WESTERN RIDING INSTRUCTORS
2023 boasts a high returnee rate among our riding staff who are familiar and practiced in Mike's way with horses. All wranglers arrive early for special training and to get the horses ready for campers after their winter vacation.
Western Riders may be the only program of its kind in the Boulder area. Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. Register early as sessions do fill up!
Please see our FAQ update for instructions on what to bring every day.
THE SAFETY OF THE CHILDREN AND THE HORSES IS THE HIGHEST PRIORITY
Must read before registering!
“Some horses will test you, some will teach you, and some will bring out the best in you!”
“Miller, in his 4th year at CMR and the first time in House Focus, declared, ‘it just keeps getting better and better!’ Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful and safe space for our children to have an authentic and real camp experience. We love you all!”
- Brooke Davison, Parents of Miller & Chase