The open skies above the Putting Horse Ranch tend to conjure an unforgettable feeling, one already known to those who have soaked in the fresh air and landscapes outside Alberta’s cities. It’s a sentiment shared by Liz Poburan, co-owner of the ranch. “The sky over the ranch has been likened to a dome of peace,” she says. “We feel that the peace you feel here is real and keeps people coming back for more.”
What draws folks to the ranch, two km north of Spruce Grove and a 22-minute drive from St. Albert, is an 85-acre, all-season oasis hosting a variety of leisurely outdoor activities. Several of these activities involve the company of their horses, of which they currently have 18, including wagon or sleigh rides (depending on the season), horseback trail-riding along the banks of the picturesque Atim Creek, riding lessons, and the chance for children of all ages to interact with the horses.
With more than 30 years of raising horses under the Poburan’s belt, the couple decided to expand the ranch into a public place for leisurely visits.
“We chose to develop our property into a place for people to come to for company events and golf, which is perfect for them to have fun together,” adds Liz. “After we had run the putting course for several years and when the three holes of golf were being created, we added on the fenced trail out front at the corrals. That has been great for teaching lessons as well as taking first-time riders out.”
Those who enjoy connecting with the earth and reaping nature’s harvest to bring back home might instead benefit from a garden plot rental. Irrigates plots six feet wide and 60 feet long are available for planting by novice and experienced gardeners alike.
The result is a mini-vacation retreat of sorts, with the ranch offering patrons the chance to recharge their proverbial batteries in a natural setting close to home. “The property lies right under a major flight path for all migratory birds, and we see thousands upon thousands overhead every spring and fall,” says Liz, adding that visitors might even see red-tailed hawks, deer, moose, muskrats, beavers, squirrels, muskrats and even moose. All that wildlife resides on a property that acknowledges its existence on Treaty 6 territory, recognizing the diverse heritage of Indigenous nations that used to gather in the region.
Some of the ranch’s customers prefer to walk around the premises or take advantage of a romantic horse-led carriage ride. Paired with three holes of golf, couples tend to book the excursion as a full date-night package. For larger gatherings like families and companies, the ranch offers a wide variety of group rates.
In particular, corporations have sought out the ranch facilities for team-building events, including golf, meetings and banquets in a barn able to pack 150 people. There, visitors can get together for post-golf festivities and a home-cooked meal with a diverse menu that includes fresh garden vegetables grown right on the property. Smaller groups can take advantage of several relaxation spots, from paved stone patios to fire pit areas near the ponds and golf course. Also open is a clubhouse barbecue concession with a licensed patio.
“We have had many tournaments that have become annual events for many groups loving this place,” says Liz, “Horse rides for the children at the corrals or wagon rides for groups while the tournaments are going on keep everyone engaged and happy.”
Birthdays are also popular at all times of the year, even during the winter, a time when patrons booking the premises have access to horse-drawn sleighs gliding over the snow. A post-ride get-together around a bonfire with hot dogs, marshmallows, and hot cocoa to help stay warm would be particularly satisfying in Alberta’s colder months. Regardless of what time of year people head to Putting Horse Ranch, the proverbial dome of peace hovers above to accentuate the revelry. t8n
Two km north of Hwy 16 on Century Road 53312 RR 272, Spruce Grove, Alberta
Phone: (780) 962-5232
For rates and operating hours, visit puttinghorseranch.com