Guest post by Merry Ann Moore, Sisters, OR
In one of the horseback riding vacation capitals of the Pacific Northwest, horsing around for the holidays has several meanings.
I live in Sisters, Oregon, a quaint western town at the intersection of high desert and the snowy Cascade Mountains, surrounded by Pacific Northwest national forestland. It’s both a mecca for outdoor recreation and a traditional Western town with a history rooted in ranching. People here still do actual cattle drives in spring and fall. It’s true horse country.
Maybe it’s hokey, but here the holidays are known as Cowboy Christmas. Horseback riding vacationers can enjoy several equine-related events, complete with sleigh bells and the crunch of snow under hooves.
Bring Your Horse or Stay at a Dude Ranch
Black Butte Ranch is offering holiday carriage rides in a rig pulled by two stout Belgians, Dec. 23 – Jan. 1. Rides leave from the Lodge and cost $9 per person, including a hot drink. Call for schedule, reservations required: 541.595.1510.
While horseback riding conditions are dicey in winter and depend on snow levels, a great place for horseback riding vacation boarding is Eagle Bear Ranch Horse Motel. Trails right from the ranch wind around Black Butte, a dramatic cinder cone. If you’re not bringing your own horse, get a fix at Long Hollow Ranch, an historic working cattle outfit with full-service guest amenities for an ideal horseback riding vacation.
There are also ample equine photography opportunities for horse-lovers. Don’t miss the running horse sculpture at the Lazy Z just east of town on Highway 20. It’s often surrounded by the resident herd of Canadian Versatile Horses, the offspring of mares used in the production of estrogen treatment medications. Take a horse home—they’re all for sale!
For more horseback riding vacation opportunities in Central Oregon, visit the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce Web site and subscribe to The Sisters Country online newsletter for upcoming events. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credit: Belgian drafts by Kate Thomas Keown