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Live from the Ranch

This is the official Ranch Journal, a collection of short reports about daily life on the ranch. Postings are made by all ranch staff, but mostly by Tess Leach & Kate Matheson, Guest Services Managers, David Leach, Business & Marketing Manager and Jeff Gossage, Ranch Manager. (Banner photo 3 by Stephen Weaver)

Delicious summer lunch salads

We have great fuel to keep us working...Tomato and Cucumber Salad and the best Coleslaw that was ever made. Thanks Mike! 
Posted by Kate M. on 06/30/2012

Fresh baked goodness!
Everyday Mikes bakes fresh baked bread and everyday it smells amazing!
Posted by Kate M. on 06/29/2012

Whitewater Rafting - Salida, CO

On Monday, the Zapata crew ventured to Salida for a white water rafting trip.  We spent three hours on the Arkansas River basking in the sun and battling some level 3 rapids.  We even ventured away from the raft to do a little cliff diving and river floating.  
Posted by Sam M. on 06/27/2012

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012
Last week, Carla and I led a pack trip into the high mountains with three guests, Ronnie, Ciska, and Hanna. For four days we explored the high and rugged Sangre De Cristo Mountains that tower above the ranch, camping in two different places, seeing two different high lakes, watching wildlife, hiking and a little bit of fishing. The experience of being in such an unbelievable place with good horses, a comfortable camp, and great guests was beyond words. I would describe the trip as a true adventure, both challenging and exhausting, yet completely exhilarating. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to take either. By the end of the trip we all felt like a family and it seemed like we had spent a month together. Here’s a big thank you to Ronnie, Ciska, and Hanna for fully engaging yourselves into every aspect of the trip making it such a fulfilling adventure and one I will never forget.
Posted by Jeff G. on 06/26/2012

New Friend
 Yesterday, Malia (6), conquered her fear of horses and made best friends with Fred. We originally had a horse for her to ride by herself but a fear of its height and the chance of it falling on her hindered her from riding by herself. No problem there, she rode in front of me on my saddle and by the end was steering us home, swatting flies off "Freddy's" neck, all the while giving him reassuring scratches wherever she could get her hands. I for one am glad she faced this challenge and rode with me on one of the chattiest, happiest and silliest rides I have ever had.
Posted by Julie P. on 06/23/2012

First Bear Spotting

It’s that time of year that the black bears begin appearing around the Valley.  Yesterday, we spotted this cub out our office window.  He was roaming around the back of the Bunkhouse taking in all the scenery.  Most of our guests were able to spot him playing in the sprinkler and venturing off into the woods.  It’s surprises like these that remind us how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.   
Posted by Sam M. on 06/20/2012

Gordon the orphan by Sam

In the middle of May Jeff rescued Gordon, a baby bison, from a creek on the Medano.  He had been abandoned by his mother, so we took him in and began bottle feeding him.  Since then, Gordon has become a huge attraction at the ranch.  After bison tours, guests walk down to the corrals to observe and help feed Gordon.  This past week, Gordon also upgraded from his pen at the corrals, to a pasture behind them.  He is now eating a mixture of hay, bison feed and milk.   He is beginning to meander farther into his pasture and has grown quite a bit since the day of his rescue.

Posted by Kate M. on 06/13/2012

There's no doubt about it....we are spoiled here at Zapata
Raspberry and Chocolate Flourless Torte for dessert! 
Posted by Kate M. on 06/12/2012

Artist Interviews
We chat to Duke Beardsley and Jill Soukup

Jill Soukup  

What makes the Zapata Gathering different rom other gathering for you?
I specifically enjoy the study of horses, the aspect of being around other artists, and the connection with the Phillips family.

What are your main inspirations and influences?
My main inspirations and influences are hangin’ with horses. I read a lot of art books, and I attend a lot of different art shows to expose myself to other artist’s work.

What’s your favorite medium to work with?
Oil is my dominant medium. If there were 48 hours in a day, I would use more mediums but unfortunately there are not!

Have you always been an artist? If so/not what was your inspiration to become one?
Yep, I knew that I wanted to be an artist ever since I was little girl. I mainly taught myself how to draw horses because I wanted a horse so badly. When I would draw, I felt like I was touching the horses, and that made me feel closer to them.

What element of the Zapata inspires you the most?
The whole gamut- not just a single thing. A couple of specific things are the horses and the bison but also the environment and being around the other artists. 

Duke Beardsley

What makes the Zapata Gathering different from other gatherings for you?

The Zapata is the perfect combination of people, location, and time. There is great stuff to look at, and June is a beautiful month. I also enjoy meeting the guests and the crew, and catching up with the Phillips family.

What are your main inspirations and influences?
Having grown up around ranching, my main inspirations and influences come from that lifestyle. Different locations and landscapes that I travel to across the west also influence my work. My artistic inspirations range from the pop artist Andy Warhol through to the western artist Charlie Russell.

What’s your favorite medium to work with?
My favorite medium is probably a tie between simple pencil (graphite) and oil paint. The reason I like graphite is because I think artistically when using pencil. The reason that I like oil paint is for the vibrant colors and the way that you can just smush it around.

Have you always been an artist?
Originally I thought that I wanted to be a doctor but when I was accepted to take pre medical classes, I woke one night in a cold sweat and was in art school 4 months later.

What element of the Zapata inspires you the most?
I like the setting, location, buildings, and the way it flows throughout the day. I feel that the historical element is very present at the Zapata and the land gives off an authentic western vibe.

Interviews by Gracie Phillips





Posted by Kate M. on 06/08/2012

One of two wonderful interns, Fred says goodbye and reflects on his stay at Zapata.

Tomorrow I will be leaving the ranch after two fun filled months at the Zapata ranch as an
intern. Having arrived in April from London the internship has been a very exciting and interesting experience, a time in my life I will not forget in a hurry. Adapting to ranch life has been a very refreshing experience for me, having grown up in cities all my life and despite my previous thoughts I have not missed the city at all. I have also been warmly welcomed by all the staff here at the ranch who have helped to make my stay as enjoyable as it has been, something which I think all the guests who have stayed have also appreciated. One of my most memorable experiences will be riding one of the larger calfs at the Zapata branding weekend, something that I never could have imagined doing back home in London. I have also enjoyed the horseback riding more and more as the weeks have gone by and riding out with guests in the wide open pastures on some of the best horses in Colorado has made me feel very fortunate. I will miss the ranch and people here so much and definitely plan to come back one day.

Posted by Kate M. on 06/04/2012

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