Tucked inside a multi-million-acre Adirondack preserve, this dude ranch has become a home away from home for its guests.
By Katie Navarra
From atop the peaks of the Adirondack region of New York, tree covered ranges sprawl out in all directions, changes in elevation causing ripples in the waves of forest like those that lap against the banks of the lakes and ponds that rest peacefully within the valleys.
Nestled within New York’s largest protected natural area is Ridin-Hy, a 700-acre, third-generation, family-owned dude ranch. Guests saddle up to explore miles of trails aboard the ranch’s 70-plus horses and clamber onto worn seats to cheer on cowboys at the Monday night rodeos. A lot of chrome can be spotted in the ranch’s herd, and the boldly painted horses are most popular among guests.
“We have a lot of horses with color in our string because everyone loves them,” Troy Beadnell said. Troy and his brother Tim along with their wives, Carrie and Patience, co-own the ranch.
The steady horses carry new and experienced riders alike along scenic trails that hug the roaring Schroon River, climb into the Buck Mountain wilderness and meander around the crystal-clear lakes. It’s an experience unlike any other and one that quickly converts newcomers into recurring customers. Before guests depart for home, nearly 90 percent book a return trip to the ranch.
Family, Friends & Endless Fun
This spring, Cathy Mafale-Bailey of Bristol, Connecticut, will make her 33rd pilgrimage to Ridin-Hy. She’s visited every year around Mother’s Day with her parents, children, sister and brother-in-law. It’s an annual celebration of family, set at the foot of the Adirondacks with a decidedly Western flair.
“We’ve been going as a family since my kids were babies and have gauged their milestones by what activities they could participate in as they grew up,” Cathy said.
Since that first visit, Cathy and her sister were hooked on the ranch, especially its horseback offerings. In addition to their yearly family trip, the sisters added a fall outing—a girls’ getaway with up to 20 of their closest friends. This October will mark their 20th annual girls’ trip.
“It’s a chance to reset,” Cathy said. “As soon as you turn onto the dirt road that leads to the ranch, the crazy world ends and the relaxation begins.”
Though televisions can be found in the bar and cellphone service is strong, the individual cabins do not have TVs in an effort to encourage guests to unplug.
For Cathy and her sister, riding is the highlight of every visit. Even though the sisters have owned horses and ridden since childhood, the opportunity to roam the scenic trails for four to five hours a day is unmatched.
“Stormy, Zach and Adam work in the barn and take good care of us and the horses,” Cathy said. “We are respectful of their rules and they know we are experienced riders, so sometimes they’ll let us ride new horses and help break them into the line.”
Guests can choose from a myriad of summer activities such as paddle boating, water skiing, paintball, volleyball, softball and tennis. Throughout the winter, trail and sleigh rides are available, along with snow skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice fishing.
Horses, however, are a main attraction. Susan Beeching of Collins, Connecticut, grew up with horses and continued riding into her 30s, but her husband, Stephen, never shared her equine interest. The couple ran a bed-and-breakfast and as life got busy, Susan hung up her spurs.
When a friend offered to man their B&B for a weekend so the couple could get away and unwind, they jumped at the chance and chose Ridin-Hy so Susan could enjoy some saddle time. The trip proved life-changing for both husband and wife, and a beginner’s trail ride sparked a newfound equine interest in Stephen. He was hooked, much to Susan’s delight. Now, Stephen’s a YouTube horse video junkie and takes weekly riding lessons, bringing horses back into Susan’s life at the same time. It’s all thanks to Ridin-Hy’s herd.
“They have a good variety of horses both size- and temperament-wise so everyone can get on and enjoy a ride. The horses are calm and safe, but not drones that only follow nose to tail,” Stephen said. “For someone like me, who didn’t have a lot of access to horses otherwise, I can go out every hour as long as there’s not someone else waiting for a turn.”
Stephen describes the Adirondack Mountain trails as gorgeous and says even those who don’t regularly ride can appreciate the beautiful surroundings of a trail ride at Ridin-Hy.
This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Spring 2018 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.