The Coyboy Experience in Bandera, TX
9266 Bandera Creek Road, Bandera, TX, USA
silverspur-ranch.com - (830)796-3037
The Coyboy Experience in Bandera, TX Reviews
The True Coyboy Experience Close to San Antonio, TX Dec 07, 2012
On a recent trip to San Antonio, TX, my wife and I wanted to do something different. To get out of the city and see some more of the country-side (this was our first trip to central Texas). In that neck of the woods, once you get out of the city limits, you are in ranch country, so what better to do than to go to a dude ranch and rent some horses for a trail ride? That's exactly what we did. All of the locals in San Antonio recommended Bandera as the place to go for such an experience. Known as the home of the cowboy, they use that claim to fame (whether true or not) to their fullest advantage. We made sure that we made our reservation for the trail ride a few days in advance. They had 3 options for rides - a one hour, a 2 hour, which goes onto a state park, and a third, which was a much longer ride complete with a picnic lunch and the whole 9 yards. We opted for the 2-hour ride. We rented a car the night before, since we didn't need one in SA proper and got an early start in order to make a 0900 start time. We had to be there 15 minutes prior, although a little sooner than that is recommended. The country on the drive up to Bandera was beautiful and exactly what I imagined it to be. The directions to the ranch were accurate and it was easy to find, just west of Bandera proper. The experience began well as we drove onto the property and immediately spotted 2 Longhorns (the symbol of Texas) grazing in a meadow to the left of the driveway.
We approached the main ranch house which is surrounded by a swimming pool and guest houses for people who stay for the night(or for nights) as they have comprehensive resort style packages that give people the complete cowboy experience. If you want you can stay as long as you wish, swim in the pool, eat the down-home-cookin' from the cozy dining hall, do rides in the morning, afternoon and night and sing by the camp fire and hang out in the lodge by the fire place by night. Although we didn't have the time for the full-blown experience this time around, it certainly looked like something fun to do on a family vacation as I'm sure the kids would have a blast here.
After we check in for our ride and confirmed that we both had SOME riding experience (although none is required) we were brought out to the corral to meet our guide and horses. My wife was assigned a peaceful white horse named Butterbean and I a rambunctious dark brown horse named Remington. There were only 2 other people in our group which was great. We were given a quick refresher course on how to mount, dismount and control the horse and then we were on our way out the back gate. You are required to have closed toed shoes and are urged to wear jeans, although not required (a girl in our group was wearing shorts), but you do traverse some rough terrain and get close to some bushes and trees that will scratch your legs if they are not protected. Plus, you are out in the open sun and unless you are loaded down with 100SPF sunscreen, you would surely burn in that hot, powerful Texas sun. Wearing a hat is also highly recommended as is remembering your sunglasses.
The ride itself went through varying terrain both on and off the property for a full 2-hours. Our tour actually ran about 2:10 by the time we made it all the way back to the corral. In my opinion, this was enough time as my legs were sore and my butt was tired of being in the saddle. Unless you are the quintessential horse lover and have a lot of experience riding, I would limit it to 2 hours lest you get bored and tired (the scenery doesn't change the much), and it will get hot out there.
The staff at the ranch were super-friendly and helpful, and our guide was excellent. Keep in mind that you are expected to tip your guide at the end so factor this into the total cost and keep a spare $20 in your pocket.
My wife and I made a day out of it by heading into downtown Bandera after the ride for some lunch and to explore the several tourist souvenir shops. See my separate review on the Chikin Koop restaurant for details on Bandera proper.
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