Monday, September 6, 2010

6 Days at the Fly Spur Ranch, Oregon USA

by Marketa Flossova

These had been some most beautiful 6 days of my life – every day with horses, from dawn to dusk. I have spent half a year in the States, where I did an exchange program at the University of Oregon and I decided that it wouldn't be a complete American experience without staying at a horse ranch. Here in Oregon, there are so many of them and people seem to be keeping horses here as pets or companions, at the backyard of their house.

Fly Spur Ranch

I decided to stay at a Fly Spur Ranch which is at Bend, central Oregon. Because huge dude ranches were out of my budget, I offered my help at this ranch for an exchange of discounted stay and free, unlimited riding. This ranch had 16 horses and was specialized in western, leisure riding on trails.

The Barn

Sisco, a beautiful Palomino

I have been riding for 5 years prior to the stay at this horse ranch, but my previous experience consisted mainly of dressage riding and a bit of jumping. This was totally different. I would say that the main difference between English style and the western style is that in the western style, the focus is more on the horse and less on the rider. I have learned some amazing horsemanship skills and things about horses that I had never really known before. For example, there are so many exercises which we can do with horses on the ground, without even riding them in order to build a deeper connection with them and a mutual respect. They are so much nicer to ride after that. It is not all just about getting the horse 'round', 'on the bit' or 'collected', which I used to think when I did dressage all the time. There is so much more to it, so much going on just between the horse and the person. There is also no such thing as a horse 'misbehaving' or 'doing things on purpose'. If they are, it's just because they have not been given enough training, love, attention and care.

The horses are kept outdoor almost all the time and they consume mainly hay and grass and sometimes other supplements if they had done more work during the day. I fed them twice a day and it was the most tiring and at the same time the most touching moment of the day. I would wake up before 7am to feed them and the horses would greet me loudly while shaking their heads. They were so excited each time I would bring out the hay. They were just so cute. I would then clean and oil saddles in the morning and ride later in the day. I must say that western saddles are really so complicated, heavy and nice looking. They were so heavy that I would pull my muscle each time I tried to swing it up the horse. I would then groom the horses and got them ready for rides.

Getting Ready to Go

Then there was the riding. I would spend around 3 hours each day in the saddle, mostly going out on trail rides which would consist of walking, trotting, cantering and occasionally galloping.

Riding Buddy, an Arabian

Therese, the ranch owner, and I on our favourite horses

My favorite horse was a brown Tennessee Walker. I totally fell in love with this breed. They have very smooth paces and feel so comfortable to ride. They do not have a trot, only a somewhat fast and extended walk which feels like a moving boat, their canter is smooth and comfortable and they can gallop really fast if they want to. This breed was created for traveling long distances across the natural landscape and so this breed needed to be comfortable to ride and enduring for hours of riding. The Tennessee Walker also has a very mellow and friendly nature and these characteristics make him a great trail horse.

Two very cute Tennessee Walkers- Scout & Rhythm

I told myself that I definitely need to come back to this ranch some time in the future. The 6 days at the ranch have been a transforming experience for me and have shined a light on what I would like to do in the future. Setting up a horse ranch is definitely on of my future goals. I would also recommend a stay at a horse ranch to anyone as a form of therapy. Living on a horse ranch, spending so much time with horses and doing a lot of physical activities totally draws one into the experience and makes one forget about anything else. It therefore effectively works as a form of psychological and emotional therapy.

If you would like anymore information about the ranch, please facebook me (you can find me on facebook under Marketa Flossova) or e-mail me at

For more information about Fly Spur Ranch, click here

1 comment:

  1. Kevin and Therese are great people. I used to live around the corner from them and used my team of Percherons and wagon at their Christmas party to deliver cookies to all of their neighbors. Their ranch is beautiful. My cousin and her family stayed there in the cabin when they were visiting from Portland. We had a great time roasting marshmallows in the tee pee that fit all 8 of us!