While serving overseas the notion of the Rocky Mountains on horseback became an almost nightly topic of conversation within my platoon. Upon returning to the states, I contacted COAGS. Within 2 months
I arrived in Colorado and discovered that the Basic Course offered exactly what I was looking for.
A year later, upon graduation from the Advanced Backcountry Horsemanship Program, I feel that my horsemanship skills have increased 10 fold, and again I am returning home feeling rejuvenated. I received a firm handshake from Jeff, (and a hug from Theresa). They wished me well and I truly believe I am leaving here a richer man. The time spent here is something I will cherish forever, and the skills that I have developed have opened up lifetime worth of adventures in the backcountry that I fully intend to utilize.
I would (and will) recommend the Colorado Outdoor Adventure Guide School to my friends and family, as well as to anyone who has ever felt drawn to horses, to the mountains, or even to a relaxing escape to the outdoors.
James D. Graham
United States Navy Seal
Security Services Consultant, G.S.S.I.
I could have gone to Hawaii or a dude ranch but I wanted something real. COAGS is very real, yet seemed a magical place, and time was suspended for the two weeks that Ken (my husband) and I were there. I worried about our age and about “keeping up” with the other students and so many other things. It took two years before I got up enough courage to actually go to COAGS. I worried for nothing.
Words alone don’t describe the beauty of the mountain scenery, the kiss of the sun, wind, and brief rain showers on my face. The bluest skies and whitest clouds, ever changing above the Aspens, evergreens and mountains, with a view that just went on for as far as the eye could see and sending the imagination soaring, even beyond that. No painting or picture could ever really capture the beauty of the high country with the colorful wild flowers, scattered beneath the trees, among the grasses of the hills and valleys. The rugged, majestic mountains seemed to stand guard, all around the Gold Camp Ranch and COAGS.
The animal life was amazing. Down below the trail while hiking, our class saw a very large and majestic elk, just lying down, resting among the trees and rocks. There were rabbits, birds and chipmunks that scurried everywhere, on chipmunk business. The horses and mules were so big (not like on tv!) They scared me half to death at first, but I actually miss “Casper” the black mule that I rode. They were beautiful animals and I’m glad I have the pictures and memories of the rides and scenery that they allowed us to enjoy. They were so warm and soft to touch and had different personalities, just as people do.
I became fond of and appreciated all of my fellow students, in just two short weeks and often wonder how they fared after I left. You, Jeff, Theresa, Daniel and little Jordan were wonderful and I learned so much from just watching all of you. Theresa was my hero. Each teacher who came to teach us was special, each in their own way. All of the people were somehow warmer and more open than people are in the cities and suburbs. Our class, without discussing or planning it, began helping and taking care of each other and to actually share chores we didn’t have to share. That’s an amazing thing and something I’ve never experienced before. We all were fed and ate like ranch hands. An amazing variety and amount of food at every meal and in between. The kitchen was always open and food was always there for anyone who wanted a snack. Even an apple for your horse was to be had.
Ken and I both found courage and self reliance at COAGS and thank all of you for that. Next year we plan to ride the mules down the Grand Canyon and go white water rafting. I can’t wait! Thank you COAGS, for a wonderful experience that I’ll never forget. I’d urge everyone, young and old, that has a thirst for a real life adventure to take the Basic COAGS course. It isn’t easy and that’s what’s so wonderful about it. Last but not least, I had fun! The fun part surprised me and I loved COAGS. Ken and I both are so very glad we went and will never forget it. Those two weeks were pure magic.
Best Wishes Always,
Linda & Ken Burgh
Plainfield, IL 60544
This is a letter from a MOM! My intention is to attempt to express by appreciation for your wonderful facility, staff, and great outdoor experience which my son enjoyed to the fullest. The teachings flow from his mouth while he and his Dad talk for hours about hunting trips they are planning together. If I could tell every parent the growth experience your school provides for students and the wealth of knowledge which has to do with the real world, students would be flocking to your school. If there was a chance that this experience could be sampled by every person on this earth, our troubled society just might have a breath of fresh air and a new outlook on what was of real value in this world. Thank you for what you have made available to us, and the profes-sional manor in which your school teaches direct to the soul.
My name is Annette Larue-Reynolds and I attended the Basic course in May of ’03. I had no idea how great the class would be. I learned so much and found it to be VERY empowering as a woman. I will never again be afraid of the wilderness. I can now confidently guide a group of people on a simple trail ride or a week long camp-out. I can read and understand a map of the wilderness, make a shelter, cook good food on an open fire, and perform basic first aid. The teachers at COAGS made sure I understood everything and I learned alot from the other students as well. I never felt belittled for the silly questions I asked, and in fact, got alot of extra help when needed.
The facilities were better than I hoped for and the food was great, and I was a vegetarian when I arrived, but Theresa’s cooking was so good I converted.
I own my own horse and thought I wouldn’t like the ones they had , but all the horses were excellent and I learned how to properly handle mules as well as horses and mules in a large group. It is hard to get experience handling animals in groups and it’s very important to have that experience when working on a ranch. I got a job on a 40 horse ranch the day I got home because they knew I had gone to the school. I was even able to show the owner of the ranch a thing or two (respectfully, of course).
Please let me know if you need any photos from the class…I have some really good shots if needed!!! Hi to Theresa and Bandito, Dancer, and Beaudacious, oh, and my favorite mule, Big Jake!!
I will attend COAGS again in ’04 and will bring my new husband, cause he doesn’t like the fact that I may know more than him!!
Thanks for a life changing experience!! And, see you in September!!
I love you guys!
Howdy Folks, My Incredible Journey. That is how I would describe the COAGS experience. The professional and dedicated owners and instructors made it all happen. The many learnable skills and a different culture of life style can be guaranteed, along with every turn, a “Kodak moment”. Perhaps the best of the best is the comradeship with the many new friends you meet.
I highly recommend this school, COAGS; an incredible journey for any person who loves the outdoors, animals, and fine folks.
Jackie L. Farver