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“Who Could Ask For Better?”

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Hill Country Equestrian Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 30, 2011

i have been coming to HCEL for a while now and absolutely love it. i may be 13 years old but i do know when i "have it good". When you go to HCEL you know that you have the best option available, you can ride english or western, take a lesson or go on trail, ride or enjoy the scenery (or both [: ) i love the whole atmosphere! and as i told Dianne and Peter last Wednesday at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar that if you want to sit on a horse and flop around like jell-o during an earthquake and ride nose to tail with no real control of what you are doing or ride with poise and grace and go to a place with some serious awesomeness and be able to tell your horse i want to do this that you can learn in a lesson with Dianne herself.
With Love Always
HCEL for Life,
Maureen Readdy

  • Stayed: April 2011
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4  Thank iLoveHCEL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (272)
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246 - 252 of 272 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2011

My wife and I stayed two nights in a private cabin to celebrate our 9th yr wedding anniversary. The cabin was perfect and the horses were awesome! My wife road a horse named Mandy and I road one named Smoky. Dianne and Peter, the owners, were the perfect hosts. They made us feel right at home. We spent our days taking riding lessons and trail riding, and we spent our evenings in town eating at Bandera restaraunts. We learned so much from Dianne while riding. She is a very patient riding instructor and had us walking, trotting and cantering in no time at all. We enjoyed our stay so much that we've already made reservations for our next stay at Hill Country Equestrian Lodge. Thanks Dianne and Peter! See you soon!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank TX-RN-COP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2010

My daughter, who is four, wanted more than anything to ride horses. We spent the weekend with Diane both learning about horses and how to care and ride them properly. None of this riding in circles on worn-down animals. Diane gave us both great lessons and then took us out on their land so we could enjoy the ride without anyone else to distract us. I knew how much Diane had taught when my four year old was able to start and stop a trot on her own. Diane was wonderful with our daughter, a gentle but firm teacher who even let her do extra things like groom the horses and help take them to the pasture (with close supervision.) We took several hour-long rides around her property and the rate was $30 per person, per hour. More accomplished riders could go on long forays into the Texas nature preserve adjacent to the property. Cabins are new and well-furnished. Ours had two full bathrooms and could sleep up to 6. We cooked dinner and lunches in our cabin (materials for breakfast are provided) although they do offer lunch and dinner at the main house for an extra fee. We had a wonderful time at night in the hot tub under all the stars. It was so quiet and relaxing. We went into Bandera one night for dinner, it's about 20 minutes away.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank Stacyleigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2009

My husband and I went to the Hill Country Equestrian Lodge for a week of riding. What we got was a quiet, relaxing week away from it all and great riding experience.

We enjoyed our cabin with its view out to the hills. It was quiet and remote, which is just what we like. There was plenty of space in the cabin for us to relax, and when we needed something, all we had to do was ask. Breakfast foods were provided, and Dianne and Peter supplied what we requested. (we don't eat sweet breakfasts). We brought a lot of food with us from Whole Foods in San Antonio, and prepared our lunches and some dinners in our cabin. A couple more hooks to hang things on might have been useful, but honestly, we didn't want for anything. There were plenty of clean towels and dishes.

Most days we took riding lessons with Dianne, and we both learned a lot. We enjoyed our time grooming and tacking our horses, and talking to Dianne about the horses, the ranch, the Hill Country, etc. We found her to be extremely knowledgeable. The facilities - the barn, the tack room, arena etc. were very well-organized and well-kept.

Dianne's lessons were well-paced and progressed in difficulty and in a logical skill sequence. We also thoroughly enjoyed our trail rides through the park lands surrounding the ranch. The rides were relaxed, but offered plenty of opportunities for trotting and cantering.

My horse was excellent - she was very responsive and easy to work with in every respect. My husband's horse could be a bit reluctant at times, but he was patient with a new rider - exactly what was needed. Dianne did a good job matching horses to each of our experience levels. And she was great to work with, as she was patient and flexible with us.

Fly-fishing - though there was not fishing available on the ranch, Dianne was extremely helpful in arranging for my husband to fish nearby. Next time we go, we plan to do some hiking, and more exploring off the ranch. And spend a bit more time just sitting on our cabin porch, enjoying the view.

We did not eat dinner at HCEC, but Dianne did provide us with an excellent recommendation for a restaurant, which turned out to be my favorite meal out. Peter recommended a great spot for drinks and live music, which we both enjoyed as well.

We spent a couple of hours walking around in Bandera, and found everyone there to be as friendly and helpful as our hosts.

In summary, we highly recommend Dianne and Peter's ranch for an equestrian vacation. If you are looking for knowledgeable instruction, good horses, and a quiet, beautiful spot, this is the place to go!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank rmgf_traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2009

I stayed for a week and thoroughly enjoyed lessons with Dianne Tobin in the Whole Horsemanship Clinic. Dianne has since sent me the DVD recording of my lessons and I've really enjoyed re-living the week and learning by watching the DVD. Afternoons included trail rides through the beautiful property of HCEL and the neighboring park. I rode Buck that week and he is a great horse! The cabin was perfect--comfortable and the kitchen had everything I needed. I especially loved in the mornings when the horses would come in from the pasture, running right in front of my cabin. Beautiful views from the front porch and it was so peaceful there in the evenings. The hot tub was perfect after hours of riding. I recommend to anyone who enjoys horses and the outdoors.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled solo
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2  Thank Trailride
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2008

Well living in Scotland I wanted to surprise my wife for our wedding anniversary, so one airmile redemption later we find ourselves with Peter and Diane (owners), horses, hills and of course; sunshine in Bandera, Texas.

We spent 3 days and loved every second. The lodges are very clean and tidy, we lacked nothing! The bed was soooooo comfy too, which was welcome after the horserides!!

Diane was very patient with us (we had ridden a little but were no cowboys!), she gave us an hours tuition and then we took a 2 hour ride into the hills - wonderful! We rode 3 times, and each time took a different route.

The horses are well looked after - you can help clean them before and after you ride, which we did - and are willing to obey the rider. So when you get to an open stretch Diane will let you trot or canter with them - not like some other places I have been where the horses just plod along! No this is real horse riding, in the beautiful Texas countryside.

Meals were great (you get breakfast supplied in cabin, more than ample), then lunch and evening meals are provided by Diane and Peter (for a small fee). It was nice to sit and talk to them over a meal - they made us feel really welcome. (You can go to Bandera town about 10-15mins where there are restaurants.)

If you're looking to learn a little about and ride horses in stunning scenery, make new friends and stay in super accommodation then you gotta book here - I promise: YOU'LL LOVE IT!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank HaggisBasher72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2008

We planned to stay at HCEL (Hill country equestrian lodge) for three nights during our vacation this month. We ended up staying seven nights because we enjoyed it so much...

If you are looking for nature and real horsemanship this is the right place to go. When we arrived we found a very nice, comfortable and clean suite, the kitchen already stuffed with our breakfast (broad variety of items) for the next couple of days. We spent hours on the porch watching either the wildlife or the starry sky - gorgeous. I have been riding English style my life long and started taking lessons western style at HCEL. It was so much fun. Dianne is an excellent teacher as well for beginners as for advanced riders. Knowing a lot about the English style as well she was able to give very good pointers on how to adapt to the new riding style. The horses are well trained and very friendly. Dianne and Peter take very good care of them, they are almost like family to them. Trailrides to the Hill country natural area were very special and a lot of fun.

Bandara is situated 10miles from HCEL and offers good food and night entertainment. Interesting trips to Fredericksburg, San Antonio, Rio Frio, Lost Maples State Natural Area are possible.

Dianne and Peter made us feel like family, we already miss them, the horses, the ranch and for sure we will be back.

Sabine&Matthias from Germany

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank masaGermany
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hill Country Equestrian Lodge

Address: 1580 Hay Holler Rd, Bandera, TX 78003-4270
Location: United States > Texas > Bandera County > Bandera
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Bandera
Number of rooms: 7
Also Known As:
Hill Country Equestrian Hotel Bandera
Hill Country Equestrian Lodge Bandera, Texas

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