At age 13, a few years after relocating to the United States from her native Australia, Cheryl West unearthed a passion for horseback riding. Since then, she has become accomplished in both the competitive and educational arenas, including snagging a master certification in equestrian instruction, operating a program for special-needs riders, and ghostwriting a memoir for Mister Ed. At West Equestrian Ranch, Cheryl and her team of seasoned instructors bestow their expertise upon pupils during camps and group and private lessons. Both are anchored in the philosophy that building a sturdy seat lays the foundation for adept trotting—the lessons gravitate toward English, Western, jumping, dressage, or trail methods, while summer camps fold similar techniques into days of riding, games, and horse care.
Cheryl and her staff also serve the equine community, rescuing one or two horses each year, rebuilding their strength and confidence, and giving them spots on the ranch's competitive team. Meanwhile, they allow kids free rein of a playground and picnic tables, where the stables' gentlest steed whinnies happily as kids finger-paint him with rainbows or complex mathematical equations.
Just west of Tulsa along Keystone Lake lie the grassy hillsides of Keystone State Park. The year-round warm weather means that the premises’ popular outdoor activities, from fishing to water skiing and boating, never stop. Those with their own watercraft can access the lake via boat ramp, while others can rent a vessel and equipment from Pier 51 Marina, located inside the park. It also has a floating restaurant, fuel station, and grocery store.
A series of wooden one- and two-bedroom cabins loom on the shores, overlooking the lake and inviting guests to rent them. Each is fully furnished and treats visitors to many of the comforts of home, including a full kitchen and TV with cable.