July 12, 2014 in Blog
Fourteen years ago, a cowboy and girl moved from Arizona to the southern Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico, and they started a ranch. Kent Gillespie has worked as a farmer or rancher for his entire life, and Susan, once a biochemical engineer, doesn’t know a life without horses. Their land is situated in the middle of the beautiful Lincoln National Forest, covered with mountains and dense with trees. Today the Gillespie Ranch has visitors year round for a variety of reasons, but it was not built as a tourist attraction. 15,000 acres are set aside for their cattle operation, which they both work everyday. Susan checks the cows and even feeds some by hand. Kent and his son mount horseback and work the cattle daily when he is not meeting with guests or accommodating their vacations.
Visitors have several options for how they will enjoy the Ranch. A four-person cabin allows small groups or families to simply bask in the scenic forest and find a respite after some gorgeous hiking. Twelve RV hookups let others do the same in their own accommodations. The Gilliespies also board horses for the short or long term, so riders can bring their own mount and trail ride the easygoing flat land or challenge themselves on the steep, rocky mountainside. Each September, all the guest spots are taken by hunting parties, which Kent and Susan will guide through the forest. And once in a while, Kent will approach lucky and brave guests the night before the cattle rotation, and invite them to take a horse and accompany them in the cowboy work the next morning.
The Gillespies’ ranch is clearly not only a job for them. They cowboy together, and Kent wouldn’t have it any other way. He gladly admits that Susan is a much better roper than he. “She’s quite the horseman. I’m just a lucky redneck.”