My Mom was in town visiting and while looking for fun family friendly activities I came across Roselake Ranch in Garrison, TX right outside Nacogdoches. Owners, Jake and Miriam Mumm have a lovely ranch that sits on 22 acres. Horseback riding was my original intention but they offer so much more. After speaking with Miriam on the phone we booked a 1 hour guided trail ride for the 3 of us plus our 5 year old riding with one of us. The price was right at just $20 per person and only $5 for our daughter to ride with one of us. I had called around previously about trail rides and the cheapest I found was $35 per person so I think Roselake is definitely a great deal.
The ranch was easy to find and upon pulling in we were pleasantly surprised by horses roaming freely around the property like big dogs. In fact, as I was standing there chatting with Miriam I felt someone bump into me gently and I looked over expecting to see my step-daughter but it was actually a horse wanting my attention! Horses are only the tip of the iceberg at Roselake Ranch. There is also Mr. Ed the emu, a herd of goats so tame they pose for selfies and goat snuggles, chickens, pot-bellied pigs, ducks, donkeys, zebus, tortoises, rabbits, llamas and I’m probably forgetting some but you get the idea. It was like a scene from Noah’s Arc. If you are in the market for farm animals or livestock give them a call.
In addition to trail rides the ranch offers riding lessons, pony parties including unicorn parties which to be honest I would be ecstatic to have as an adult. The ranch also attends local festivals where they bring the petting zoo and they even have a portable rock climbing wall available for festivals, parties and other events.This explains why all the animals are living together harmoniously (for the most part). Miriam did say Mr. Ed the emu was currently in time out for amusing himself by using the goats’ heads as a place to practice pecking. With that enormous beak I was a little intimidated but she assured me he is so tame a lot of people will try the “Emu Challenge” and allow Mr. Ed to pluck a piece of popcorn from their tongue. While I didn’t test that out I wasn’t surprised once she explained how many bottle fed babies she has on the ranch. It was very clear how they got their calm natures and extroverted personalities. House goat anyone? Miriam said they all think they are the same kind of animal. I’m not convinced they don’t just assume they are humans.
Once we were able to tear ourselves away from the cuteness overload of all the animals we mounted our horses that were saddled and waiting for us in the arena. We were lead to the trail where we proceeded to get a beautiful view before ducking beneath a canopy of trees, vines and flowers. Suddenly we were transported into the jungle right here in East Texas. It was the kind of place I would love to explore but seems daunting until you are safely on the back of a horse. Speaking of horses this group barely needed a prod or suggestion from us. They followed the leader and didn’t try any funny business. It was the first time our daughter had been on anything larger than a pony and the horses were gentle and easy going. She kept saying she didn’t want the ride to be over so that was a good sign.
Shaded by all the overgrowth and trees we enjoyed a leisurely ride on trails that rose and dipped and occasionally got so narrow you had to lean or duck but it stayed cool and the hour slipped by quickly on the sure footed horses. As we headed back towards the ranch our trail guide shared with us that she had started as a “work to ride” student and is now an employee at the ranch where she keeps her horse. So often riding is incredibly cost prohibitive and the fact Miriam and Jake have this option means they are truly offering a great service to their community. Our trail guide mentioned she’s on the drill team. In my mind I’m thinking dancing at high school football games like the famous Rangerettes. Only that is not it at all. The kind of drill team she’s participates in is on horseback. With ages ranging from 6 to 67 and not just for girls it’s a sport that is all inclusive making it really unique. Just when you think the ranch can’t possibly do any more than that Miriam said they host farm tours, maintain a garden, visit nursing homes and offer horse training. This is all in addition to the seasonal activities offered in the Spring and Fall.
When I asked Miriam about some of the challenges they face running such a large ranch she shared that it can be difficult to train and find people with a good work ethic. No doubt the work isn’t easy but it sure seems rewarding. She also mentioned the hay shortage adding on hours to her days when she has to go out of State to procure a supply for her ever growing menagerie. Miriam is self described as horse crazy since she was a little girl (I think most of us can relate) so she is certainly living the life surrounded by “free range” animals of all types. Warm and obviously compassionate she had me laughing at her stories of everything from baby goats to zebu calves in the house.
We had a really wonderful time exploring Roselake Ranch and I highly recommend it for families, groups, parties, etc. They have been doing this a long time so you are in good hands. Make a day of it and go for a ride then hop over to Nacogdoches for lunch. Our daughter wasn’t the only one who could have stayed and snuggled goats for hours. If you do, tell our favorite goat, Aspen “hi” from us.
3632 CR 271
By Appointment Only