Tempe Creek Ranch
1694 FM 2457
One of the reasons we picked Lake Livingston was because they had horseback riding available. Some parks, they have only stables and you bring your own horses, which we don’t have. So we got there and on Monday went up to the ranger station to ask about making reservations. They currently don’t have a trail guide. So that was a no-go. So Gabe and I started looking around online for horseback riding close by, since I’d spent the last two weeks talking to the kids about going horseback riding. No one was open yet for the season. Bummer. However, one place I called, Tempe Creek Ranch, said that while they weren’t quite set up yet, she’d ask the trail guide if she wanted to take us out anyways. We got the call back from the trail guide and she said they had just gotten a new mare that she wanted to try out on the trail, and they had an additional 3 horses, so we’d have to go three at a time, but that she’d be willing to take us out. So on our way out, we stopped at Tempe Creek Ranch for a ride.
If you happen to be in a rig that’s as long as ours, you should just go ahead and park on the side of the road since there’s not a whole lot of room to maneuver a the ranch for super long trailers. (If we were 25 or 30 feet, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but our rig boarders on 40 feet.)
Other than that….it’s incredibly easy to find, and a beautiful location. It’s not far away from Livingston city or the lake. And the road it’s off isn’t too busy so no big deal crossing it.
Upon walking up their country mile driveway, it appears to be the very picture of country living, with all it’s charms. Horses in the pasture, and a goat climbing up a small bridge of a low area of the field, a few barncats up in the hay loft, and some pups heard in the distance up by the house. There was even a tire swing that the kids loved playing on.
We met with Kristen (the ranch owner’s daughter, but who acts in the role of ranch owner at this time) and Valerie the trail guide. (If I got those names wrong, I’m sorry….I’m awful with names, but by democratic vote in our house, these were what we all remembered lol). We were introduced to the horses and the kids started petting and brushing them while Gabe, Kristen, and I went into the barn to fill out the paperwork (which turned out to be much more painless than it usually is). My eye caught some coloring supplies and I assumed it was for her kids, but she explained it was actually for us since they couldn’t take us all out at the same time.
After a quick talk from Valerie about horses and how to treat them, the signals to use, etc, and a small temper tantrum from Gavin because he wanted to ride the white horse, Gabe, Gavin and Tristan were off. Well, that’s not quite right. We walked them out to the trail, it seemed some of the horses weren’t quite as excited as we were to leave the barn where all the yummy food is kept. In the end, Kristen and Corbin walked with them the whole way and Caelan and I went back to the barn.
Caelan and I colored for a bit. Then we went up to a small paddock to brush some of the other horses (boarders). Then we went up a bit more closer to the house to see the new puppies which were way too cute! There was also a new baby goat with it’s mama close by, adorable enough to forget how irritating goats can get when they get older! lol
The boys had a good ride, however when they started getting closer to the barn, the horses got a bit excited. The new mare, a bit more than the others. She started to trot and kicked out at one of the other horses! No one was hurt, thankfully. Apparently, they’d just gotten her and the lady they’d gotten her from had said that she was very calm and that children would be fine on her. She’s 20 years old! Well, she’s a bit more high spirited than the lady let on. So, as it turns out, no matter what it is you buy, no matter what type of animal, previous owners will still be likely to fib a bit about how great it is. And I think that after a bit of work, the new (old) mare will be just fine. She’s just not used to trails, but I bet she’ll get there quickly.
When I road with Corbin and Caelan, our guide walked instead of taking out the mare again. Corbin’s horse kept trying to walk into the forest off the trail to eat and poor Corbin had some trouble getting the horse to do anything. 10 year old boys just aren’t very good leaders! And him and the rest of us laughing the whole time probably didn’t help! lol On our way in, his horse started to trot, and then canter on in. Gabe was across the field and could hear Corbin say “I’m starting to be scared!” HA HA HA Always nice to see you’re oldest most self assured some what of a bully son be a bit scared! But the trail was beautiful! Tempe Creek Ranch is 40 acres pasture/farm and 40 acres of trails.
When we got back, Kristen had water bottles and granola bars ready for us. We chatted a bit, and I honestly wish that we didn’t have so much to do that day because I really enjoyed their company. A few years ago, Tempe Creek offered trail rides. There were a few bad management issues they had with some employees, and they ended up with a bad reputation and a culled herd. They are now starting over again, getting a new herd together, hiring Valerie as the trail guide, and starting again. I wasn’t there before, I don’t know what it was or wasn’t. But We will definitely be going back there. The people we met (including Kristen’s mom up by the puppies) were amazing. The area is gorgeous. The thoughtfulness of the snacks and coloring to keep the kids entertained were great. And while some might be a bit discouraged if the horses don’t do exactly what they want them to do at all times, I personally didn’t feel that the horses misbehaved or anything like that. They are horses. Not ponies attached at all times to a giant wheel so they cannot move other than where they are physically moved by the owner. Not a merry go round with horse like seats. And if anyone has ever had a dog, a well behaved one, and taken them for a walk, you know that sometimes, they get distracted and you just pull em back and go on with it. In other words, it’s real. The fact that I got to watch Corbin be forcefully taken THROUGH the trees by his horse just made it that much better! The forest was fairly thinned out, so mostly it was just the occasional branch he had to duck from….but still, pretty funny! And my horse obeyed my commands, and occasionally I had to direct her a bit to the right or the left so I wouldn’t have to duck under a branch that was over the trail. And of course, I could tell when we started getting closer to the barn because my horse started walking a bit faster. But I had a blast and so did everyone else! It was completely memorable.
I will also add that the trail guide was GREAT with the kids! On the trail she would tell them how great they were doing and managed to make it sound so genuine, I have no idea if they actually were that great or not. (A lot of people, me included, tend to take on a sort of patronizing tone when giving small children praise, and she didn’t.) Afterwards, as Gabe and I were talking with Kristen, Valerie took the kids back into the barn and let them help her feed the horses, they did some more coloring, she gave them each a “winner” medal to put around their necks. If my kids weren’t a bit arrogant before the ride, they were certainly stars in their own minds by the time we left! She was great! She was also great to talk with as an adult, and not many people can manage both. most are either good with kids or with adults. She’s both and I get a feeling that between her love and knowledge of horses and her great ability to deal with people of all ages, she’ll be a great guide for as long as she wants!