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“Definately at your own risk!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sombrero Ranch

Sombrero Ranch
1895 Big Thompson Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517
970 586 4577
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Ranked #9 of 46 Activities in Estes Park
Type: Horseback Riding Stables, Ranchs, Sports
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Owner description: Attraction, Activity
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Definately at your own risk!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2010

We visited in the spring of 2009. My husband, son, and I took a 1 hour trail ride. My husband and son rode double as he is very young, and I had my own horse. We ofcourse were asked to sign a liability waiver and were offered helmets for our safety. My husband and I have limited riding experience, but we paid attention and followed our guides instructions closely. I felt very comfortable with our guide, she was great and an EMT which made me feel better. Our horses knew the trail very well and think they could have walked them in their sleep. However, there were some areas that made me nervous (keep in mind this is mountain terrain!) and my horse did brush me up against a tree on a narrow part of the trail. I was not hurt. This is definately an at your own risk activity. Many variables including which guide you get, rider experience, how closely you follow instructions, your horse, etc. I can see where people get hurt and some areas of dissatisfaction. Customer service could improve greatly! Thank goodness we lucked out with a great guide but could see how this would easily turn into a bad situation. Just keep in mind these are work animals and can be spooked, as any horse. Evaluate your risks! Will I return? Probally not. Would I recommend it? Yes, if you are willing to assume the risk involved. The scenery is breathtaking!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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482 reviews from our community

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English first
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Amazing scenery, good horses, great guide”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2009

A friend and I took a 3 hour ride with Sombrero whilst visiting Estes Park last week. I have nothing but praise for our guide, Levi, who was absolutely fantastic - fun but conscientious - neither I nor my friend were experienced riders, but with his guidance and encouragement, we had no problems with the ride despite snow and icy conditions in parts. The scenery was beautiful, and all seemed well organised at the ranch. I am surprised to hear about the previous experiences - whilst these may have made me reconsider, I am glad that we went ahead with the ride.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Collins, CO
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Horrible experience, unsafe horses”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2009

Our family went on a beginner one-hour trail ride at Sombrero Ranch in Estes Park. We told them we were beginners, and the ride was published as "gentle horses on an easy trail".

Within the first few minutes of the ride, all of the horses were spooked by a bird and took off running. My horse ran under a low tree branch which resulted in plastic surgery for my eye. My husband's horse threw him and he ended up in an intensive care unit with a minor brain injury. Another lady in our group was thrown from her horse and broke several vertebrae in her back.

We were transferred to the local hospital by an ambulance, and Sombrero never once called to ask about our condition.

We were later transferred to a hospital about 25 miles away. When I was admitted into the emergency room and told them I was injured while riding a horse, they guessed where I had been riding. I heard comments like "We get a lot of injuries from there" and "That place keeps us in business".

Sombrero did not refund our money for the ride. When I called them to ask for a refund, they didn't even remember which ride I was referring to. (This also makes me believe they send numerous people away in the ambulance) They have not refunded our money and were not apologetic whatsoever for our injuries.

Apparently these people are in business only for the money. Their ranch hands seem young and inexperienced. They definitely do not care if people get injured on their horses. Just because they are protected by a waiver should not mean they relinquish their responsibility to care and keep their customers safe.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
stablemanager, Manager at Sombrero Ranch, responded to this review, September 11, 2013
There was two accidents in 2009 that required medical care. (this was the only one that was not related to advanced dehydration) Anything horse related seems to be put onto Sombrero in any medical community. This was a major incident and the injuries described actually happened. Our thoughts and prayers were with this group although it is a policy not to invade there medical privacy with calls to the hospital for updates.

What happened: There was spooked horses right at the beginning of a ride. Those horses were as safe as a horse can be. The horses were reacting to a great horned owl that was nested in a fallen tree near the trail and was startled by the ride as it started out. You can imagine the horse's reaction when suddenly an owl with a 4 foot wing span comes to life basically under your feet. Something that big springing to life and taking flight just triggered the fight or flight reaction. We live in wild country that is what makes Sombrero so great. We live among these wonderful wild creatures and sometimes interactions with them result in injury.

Unfortunately the Great Horned Owl was as disappointed as our reviewer and moved to the back of the property away from the tourists.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago suburbs
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
34 attraction reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“Really fun ride, but be cautious with your kids”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2009

We really enjoyed the breakfast ride but the rider, overall, could be made much safer. They put young kids on their own horses when it would probably be better if they rode double with their parents. Our 6-yr old seemed really small on her own horse and had some problems with steering.

What I couldn't understand is why they did not cut down some of the dangerous over-hanging tree branches that were at head height. They had obviously done trail maintenance by cutting away some of the larger branches but they would occasionally leave some short spikey branches still sticking out. The guide had to constantly warn us to stear around them. You have to understand that we're talking a matter of inches here- there were many areas where there was barely enough room to stear the horse away from the branches-- and we're also beginners. Imagine having your 6-yr old try to stear her horse away from branches and bushes. So many of these spikey branches (widow makers) could have been cut down in one afternoon that I'm not sure why they don't do it.

Make no mistake about this trip- you do indeed have to have control of your horse. They generally follow each other but there are many areas where you have to steer your horse to go in one direction versus another.

The guide we had (Levi) was fantastic. He had a super friendly personality and was especially helpful with our kids. Our oldest daugther (12 yrs) was getting a little nervous after having been pulled through some bushes by her horse. Levi eventually grabbed her horse's reins and directed the horse himself. He was extremely competent with horse handling.

The breakfast was excellent. Scrambled eggs cooked perfectly and nice fluffy pancakes. All of this in a beautiful mountain setting overlooking Estes Park.

All in all, this was a fun trip, but be aware of the fact that it can indeed be a little dicey with kids. The ride is probably not as safe as they'd like it to appear, so use your own judgement. Our whole family wore the helmets they had available and were really glad we did.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Great Ride”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2009

We took a 2 hr ride with Sombrero out of the Moraine Park stable. The staff was great. We had about 10 people on our ride and 2 wranglers. There were 2 7yo children on the ride and the wranglers made sure they knew what to do with the horse. The horses were great and all had a good time. We will be back.

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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