Ashleigh Hamill of Frontrange Equestrians, LLC, spent her childhood following her father across the country as he established himself as an authority on Arabian horses. Today, she carries on his legacy through affiliations with a broad spectrum of equestrian organizations, serving as Director of the Board for the Colorado Horse Council (COHCO) and Region 9 Director of the Certified Horsemanship Association – which nominated her for the “Instructor of the Year” award in 2011. When she’s not busy with these activities, Hamill is penning articles for Young Rider Magazine, Modern Arabian, and The Instructor.
Of course, Hamill wouldn’t be qualified for these roles if she didn’t lead a respected training program. Centered on the disciplines of Western, English, and rocking-horse riding, lessons are geared toward children and adult riders of all skill levels.
Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures.
Setting out from its base camp at Shadow Mountain Guest Ranch, the staff at High Country-Trails leads horseback riders through the mountain wilderness on excursions that range from trail rides of up to six hours to hunting trips of up to five days. On each trip, the crew leads riders to views of majestic peaks jutting high into the clouds and of crystal-clear streams rushing along forest paths. Trail rides depart the ranch and hoof it up to the top of the mountain for vistas of Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, and the clouds' Oreo cookie tops. On overnight pack trips, guides keep guests entertained by hauling camping gear through the Colorado backcountry and organizing activities for up to five days.
Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Gateway Park Fun Center combines the splendor of its natural backdrop with a variety of manmade attractions. Fresh mountain air courses through the 18-hole mini-golf course and whips the hair of go-kart racers on a track more than 2,100 feet long. Guests with unstable hairdos can retreat inside, where an arcade loaded with games such as skee-ball and NFL Throw—along with an inline hockey rink—make the park a year-round destination.
Colorado Adventure Park proudly proclaims itself to be one of Grand County's largest tubing hills. Every winter, this snowy dreamland offers kids of all ages an adrenaline-pumping adventure in the form of tubing, double-tubing, and renting Snow Scoots––pintsized snowmobiles designed for kids as young as six. Though Colorado Adventure Park is currently open only during the winter, the owners are making plans for summer activities as well.