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“Great surroundings, EXCEPTIONAL STAFF”

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Rocking Horse Ranch Resort
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Highland
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 28, 2013

I had been dying to visit Rocking Horse ever since my sister in law had told me about her trip last year. It was something I really couldn't wait to take my three daughters to do. The pricing always seemed to be a little high for the price I could budget. I got quite luck on my last call to the ranch finding out that they were running excellent last minute specials. I quickly took my chance to book. Upon arriving to the ranch I was pleasantly surprised with the very clean unique surroundings. I can honestly say it was everything I pictured then some. I would recommend the ranch to anyone that loves the laid back feel of their surroundings, I felt safe letting the children roam and enjoy some freedom from their mommy.

The only bad parts of the trip was the fact that there were so many flies in the dining area, granted it is a horse ranch and this is to be expected I felt as though there has to be a way to reduce the massive numbers of them. The food for breakfast and lunch was quite boring and I found it more cafeteria style than resort. There was many seniors in house which made it a little awkward at times because my children didnt have a chance to meet many children their own ages,

The great aspects were that the Dinner was wonderful, many choices and high quality, the staff is exceptional always going above and beyond. The Front Desk Staff is worth their weight in gold, not matter how many times I annoyed them with silly requests and questions they always had a prompt answer delivered by a great attitude. The front desk manager Nikki is a true gem helping me with my trip in many ways and not batting an eye at any request I made. Victor in the dining room was also such an enjoyable person to speak with, he is so funny! Liz from the pool area was great with the kids and made me feel safe while they were in the water. They all made me feel as if I was a part of their family which is very rare now adays to find at a place. Whoever the owner is should feel proud that they have the staff they currently have as I place high value on each one.

I hope to visit the Ranch in the future, but hope they can purchase some bug spray before I arrive!

Room Tip: I would suggest to spend the extra few dollars to be in the Main Lodge
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank TNickens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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892 - 898 of 1,366 reviews

Reviewed September 24, 2013

Let me start by saying that I really wanted to give this place a 5, and with regards to certain aspects of the ranch, they absolutely deserve a 5 (non-stable staff, hospitality, alcohol pricing, how awesome Annie is, etc.). Hopefully in the notes below I can qualify the 3 rating that I landed on.

First of all, we were here on our honeymoon. I know, kind of an odd place to wind up for a honeymoon, but let me explain. This was our last stop, and knowing that my now wife absolutely LOVES horses (grew up riding, eventing, jumping, worked at a barn since she could walk, etc.), and since we're definitely fans of the whole all inclusive thing, (AND, since we were already going to be a skip away at a B&B in the Poconos), we decided to go for it. We didn't mind that it was more of a "family" thing than a "romantic" or "honeymoon" thing; we went in with very few expectations and all the kiddos just added to the fun (we don't have kids yet, but they make us laugh).

As much as I hate to say it, I truly believe that the horse experience could be a lot better. To be fair, RHR is a HUGE undertaking. Understand that when you go here, they have 100+ horses and somewhere around (I'm guessing) 400-500+ rides on any given day, depending on the time of year, the day, and how many people queue up in the standby line to ride again. It is actually kind of amazing to see that many people get on and off that many horses. That being said, the experience is a little anti-climatic and poorly designed. I rode three times during the weekend that we visited, once in the beginning group and twice in the intermediate group. For each hour long trail ride, we never once got going any sooner than half an hour in. So at least half of each of the trail rides were taken up by getting people situated. And again, I know that it's a huge undertaking, and I know that some of the guests can be difficult (what can I say, some of them city folk are idiots and forget that they're on a one ton beast), but I really can't stand being treated like a child by the staff. Yup I got it, pull their head away so they don't eat, I was doing fine with that, thank you. Volume isn't an issue, you don't have to yell. Wouldn't kill you to smile sir, it's a beautiful day out here. No problem, I'll just hang out and try to prevent my ornery horse from jamming it's nose straight up the horse butt in front of me for half an hour on this romantic honeymoon getaway. That's the other thing - unless you're riding advanced, expect a "nose-to-butt" horse trail ride with plenty of starts and stops (depending on how long the horse conga line is). My wife was gracious enough to skip the advanced ride and join me in the intermediate ride. We were lucky enough to be riding nose-to-butt, her directly in front of me, when one of the staff riders swooped in, grabs her horse, and whisks her away, without so much as an explanation or any words whatsoever. I felt like shouting "WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MUH WOMAN, HORSE THIEF?!" but I probably would have received daggers from the already-in-a-foul-mood, foul-mouthed riding staff. Oh well. Me and Calamity had a great time by ourselves 'cause we independent women who don't need no man. Anyway, I digress. Most of the families coming here plop their kid in the beginning queue so it doesn't really matter what the experience is like really; the tykes get to ride a horse and control a 2,000 pound animal for an hour which is a pretty awesome thing for a kid to do. However, don't expect a whole lot else out of the trail rides. Although I had an awesome time with my wife regardless of the circumstances, I do wish that the rides had been better orchestrated. One quick note: the "riding demonstrations" that they give every morning are a joke. Left and right to steer, back to stop, way back to back up, you get up with your left foot first, badda bing badda boom smell you later. OK, I guess we're experts now? They could have been a little more demonstrative with the demonstration is all.

For the most part, the food was bomb. We were a little disappointed with the lunch BBQ (bland mac & cheese, no pork/steak) and some of the food items had much to be desired, but overall it was great. We were impressed with how the dining room seemed to run like a well-oiled machine. I've been on several cruises in my day and none of them ran quite as well as this place. Again, it is definitely an appeal if you have kiddos: everyone can get whatever the hell they want and it's included. What's not to like? However, as a beer snob, I was disappointed that there weren't more micro brew choices.

Our two favorite parts: chatting with Noelle the bartender (9 months pregnant, you go girl!) and Annie (who we played HORSE with and jokingly referred to as our best friend for the weekend). Honestly, these two experiences alone bumped this trip from a 2 to a 3. It was great interacting with them and we loved the vibe that they were putting out. Have them give a few customer service / social skill lessons to the stable staff and you'll be all set! :-)

As the title says, overall we had a great time, there are a few things that could have been better. In all honesty we will probably try out a few more of the ranches in the area before we would be willing to give RHR another go.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank tjbauerle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013

Great for kids- lots of fun activities. Excellent for adults who love horse back riding. Not a relaxing vacation. I was disappointed the chairs at the pool had no padding on them to allow you to relax. At the meals you are squeezed in with others.. not a lot of legroom. If you are active and enjoy the activities these things will not bother you at all. I also did enjoy the shows in the evening and I will probably be back as my family loved it. I had trouble holding on in the banana boat and did not love the activities as much as I'd hoped. It is a wonderful place for kids who seem to all have a blast and I can't complain about the food.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank wnderw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rockinghorseranch, General Manager at Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 23, 2013

wnderw,

Thank you for the feedback. And we hear you! (and other great guests with honest feedback about our dining experience). I’m happy to announce, we have successfully rolled out a more traditional restaurant style seating in our dining room. All guests will now be able to have a table just for their family. We are excited to provide families a more private and enjoyable dining experience while at Rocking Horse.

I’m also glad to hear the family had a great time as well. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thank you,
Kyle Carson, GM

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2013

This is our 12th visit to the ranch, and each year the faces of a family welcome us. The staff goes out of their way to accommodate everyone from child to senior. The group I attended the ranch with are of special needs, and not once did we feel out of place or ejected. Everyone was very friendly, assisting in any way possible. We instantly became part of the family oriented atmosphere. The rooms have a rustic feel, very clean, and kid friendly. Rocking Horse Ranch is more than a hotel, demonstrated by their attention to detail. There didn't appear to be a spare moment from the time we walked in! lol. From the bbqs and picnics, to the softball, indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor games, waterskiing, paddle-boating, miniature golfing, rock wall climbing, and of course the horseback riding! The dining was superb as usual. The food was delicious. I feel as though I went home at least five pounds heavier! Even on into the evening there were activities and shows for the whole family. And if you aren't an indoor person, the bonfires (with marshmallows) and hay rides will keep you more than satisfied. I cannot forget the main attraction, the hundred or so beautiful horses, who are obviously well taken care of and loved. The trail rides are well supervised by informative and experienced wranglers, who went out of their way to make sure everyone was happy, safe, and having fun. From Scott to Lisa, TJ, Shannon, Pattie, etc... everyone at the stables was fantastic! My family and I love to ride. It is the reason we come back every year. Once again we were not disappointed! By the time we left Rocking Horse Ranch, we were on a first name basis with many of the staff and wranglers. They were all very patient and a blast to be around! Thank you again Rocking Horse Ranch. See you next year !

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank HBM14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2013

Well this is our sixth time to the ranch in just over 24 months. That has to tell you something positive about the resort. From the time we checked in we were treated like part of the Rocking Horse Ranch Family and not just a guest at a hotel. I must say that if you are polite and friendly to the staff it will come back to you 100 times over. When we first see Steve after we check in it's always a hug and kiss for my wife and high fives and shakes for me and the kids. Leave it to Kyle if there is something that you have a question or a need. He does a great job as General Manager and Steve has a good person at the reigns. In the past few times that we have been coming every time we come we see something new being done or that has been done to the resort from the time before. Whether it is the new goats and pigs or even cattle in the stable area. Or to the bathrooms being redone in each room and also the bathrooms in the main lodge area. They were all done with a lot of nice work being done to them. Horseback riding is something that my son really enjoys and Scott and TJ in the stable area really do a great job to make sure that they make it a real enjoyable time for him. At the end of the day when it comes time for the horses to go across the street it is really amazing how they know exactly where to go and how to get there. We had a very special experience with the horses at the end of the day and it was a experience of a lifetime. The barn tours that Charles does is really a hands on experience as far as everything that goes on in the life of a wrangler at the ranch. Whether it has to do with how much food they eat or even how much it costs to reshoe a horse. My compliments go out to everyone in the stables. The team of Ernie and Chris at the water sports on the lake were able to get my daughter up on water skis and she really enjoyed it almost as much as the banana boat rides. The fireworks show that they had saturday night was just amazing and words caneven explain the show. The nightly entertainemt that goes on is also very well planned for all age groups. It does not matter where you are on the property or which employee you see or actually have the time to talk to. They are all very friendly and warm to you. I had once asked Steve how do you train your employees to be so nice to all the guests? "And he said they are training me" I thought that was really funny. It has always been nice to see Mark and his grounds crew that transform into the winter snow park crew. Any time i can walk past one of those guys i can say have you seen the rest of my family and they can direct me. A real nice feeling. Well i can go on and on but before we went to the ranch we had reservations at PINEGROVE and after reading the reviews i could not go there and have a fun vacation with my family. Read some of there Reviews and let there reviews decide where to go... Once again thank you to everyone at Rocking Horse Ranch for another great time!!!!!!! See ya in february

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank njr63067
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

First off the place was everything represented, and we had no problems per se. My kids ages 10 & 12 can't wait to go back. As for my husband and I, we're a bit lukewarm. The good news: Lots for the kids to do, all day - and a big shout out to Patty and the team at the kids camp, they were beyond fantastic. Also, lots of water jugs all over with ice water and cups (great not to have to drag water bottles for everyone), and all day there was free cups of popcorn in the lobby for a snack on the go, and a bit of poundcake or scone or something at the 24/7 coffee station just off the lobby (hot chocolate, too -which the kids loved). Pools and facilities very clean too, so no problems there. The bad news was really the sharp contrast my husband and I had between expectations and reality. The hotel is a two story structure in keeping with my memories of holiday inns I recall as a kid, only with western bedding and carpeting. Not plush by any standard, just the bare basics, including a wall unit a/c and heater (knob= hi or low, that's it). Also, family style seating at all meals so prepare to be cozy with strangers. We did fine (although it was awkward for my pre-teen kiddo one night, with same age girl strangers at the round table) Still, if you're not expecting this, it can throw you. First night we were with family with three small kids and I wanted to send the poor mom off for a massage her hands were so full, (she didn't get a bite in edgewise!) Depending on table (loooong rectangle vs. big round) - you'll be with 2-3 other families, so plan accordingly. I met more folks from New Jersey than I had my whole life, which was fine except every night they all had lots in common and we (from New England) listened politely but couldn't really offer much. All were really nice though, and contributed to the "family" feel all around. NOTE: The sample menu's on the website may inadvertently give the impression there are 10 or more things to choose from at meals - there aren't; rather there are maybe two things (pasta and grilled cheese for example) for the kiddies, and then a choice of 3-4 very adult meals (broiled fish w/ pesto and asparagus for example). They bring the entrees, HOWEVER there is a huge dessert buffet at the end of the room (good amount of fruit there too); it was difficult to keep the kids focused at every meal on FOOD because they were so antsy to go get a platefull of sweets and ice cream (which they had, but we had to set limits early on). It was fine, but you might want to go in with a game plan to manage meals a bit and avoid tummy aches later! Given the rooms and somewhat limited and shared meals, I wouldn't pay the full price to go back; but will watch the promos. If our family of 4 can go back for WELL under the $900/night we paid during peak in August (3 nights), we will.

Room Tip: Ask for second floor, walking over head is audible and could bother light sleepers (we heard this at...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank jenl372
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2013 via mobile

This was a last minute trip, either an island and then we thought something north of New Jersey. Thought a friend of ours went here, so we booked it. This was the best trip we ever had! Smiles, happy people and they watched our children like hawks. Our children went into day camp and never wanted to leave Pattie, Claudia, Gaige and girls they loved! At the stables, our hearts went to a special wrangler Jeanine, who stole ours and our daughters, with TJ, Jen, Lea, and Cath made us feel at home! John with the watersports was cool and all employees were so happy to work there! Loved the trip and sometimes. When you go away with children you need a vacation from the vacation, this one we were all so relaxed and made alot of new friends. Will go back again and again! Im tough person and all I kept saying this was the BEST VACATION I EVER HAD! I recommend it highly to anyone and can go also in change of seasons for the snow sports.

Rich Randi Rylee and Chace

  • Stayed: August 2013
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1  Thank Randi P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

Address: 600 State Route 44/55, Highland, NY 12528-2259
Location: United States > New York > Highland
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Highland
Price Range: $399 - $699 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 113
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All Inclusive Four Season Family Resort in the Hudson Valley We’re more than just horses… We’re the most fun your family ever had! We offer 4 seasons of indoor and outdoor activities for all ages. Our sprawling 500-acre property and beautiful private lake provides a scenic backdrop for your family’s next big adventure. Enjoy three delicious all-you-can-eat meals daily, prepared by our culinary team, many of whom are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America—right here in the Hudson Valley! End the night with top-name entertainment, featuring magicians, comedians, jugglers, and circus acts from around the world. Get cozy in our updated rooms with luxurious Simmons® plush top mattresses and Bunk Beds for the kids. It’ll be the best family vacation you’ve ever had! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rocking Horse Ranch Hotel Highland
Rocking Horse Hotel
Rocking Horse Resort

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