Fantasy Hills Ranch
Fantasy Hills Ranch in Delavan,Wisconsin
If you're traveling in the Lake Geneva area in southestern Wisconsin, one of the best places around for trail riding is Fantasy Hills Ranch. It's located in Delavan which is only minutes from Lake Geneva, a favorite tourist destination The trail rides are personalized for all experience levels. They have lots to offer! Come see for yourself!
Update: Ron has passed away and Fantasy Hills is now closed. At one time, it was a great place where many wonderful memories were created for many horse loving people. I'm very sad those days are gone but please enjoy the stories and the pictures of the way Fantasy Hills once stood.
Open Year Round
Fantasy Hills Ranch is open year round. There's an indoor arena for riding lessons. Trail rides are on 65 acres and run an hour long. They have facilities for large and small groups - weddings, reunions, large corporate functions, all with horse back rides and activities available. There's an adorable petting farm with mini horses, pigs,goats and other animals. During the winter months they offer sleigh rides and occasionally Santa even stops in for a visit! Afterwards, you can enjoy a nice bonfire to take the chill out of the air!
There's something for everyone at Fantasy Hills Ranch!!
They are located at Town Hall Rd. and Hwy. 67 in Delavan, Wisconsin. For reservations or information please call xxx-xxx-1773. You can also email them at (email address is no valid valid due to the ranch being closed now)
They are open daily year round from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. but please call for reservations.
My First Riding Experience at Fantasy Hills Ranch
I had a favorite place that I had ridden at for years. Unfortunately, the owner decided to retire and close the business. I didn't know where I was going to find another great place like that one to ride at. I got online and did a search for trail riding ranches. I could only find one. It was a pretty long drive from where I lived but I decided to try it.
It had been about 6 years since I had been on a trail ride but I decided to go all out and try the all day ride. It was 5 hours of riding through the Kettle Moraine Forest. Halfway through the ride, you stop in town for a bite to eat. They have a spot in the center of Eagle, WI, with stalls for the horses. You "park" your horse there and enjoy food and drinks from one of the local restaurants. We went to Suhmer's Saloon and had a delicious lunch then we headed back. It was a great ride. We walked, trotted, and cantered. I'm getting a little too old for all that cantering but everyone else seemed to love it!! The horses were great!! It wasn't hard getting them to go at all. They loved their job!
I would recommend this ride to anyone with a word of caution... if you don't ride very often, you will want to take some painkillers before riding that long and take some again as soon as you get back from the ride. Expect to be sore the next day or two also! I took a friend of mine along who hadn't ridden in years and he ended up having to call in sick to work the next day because he was too sore to move. He literally didn't talk to me for a very long time after that! Haha!
Riding During the Different Seasons
Each one has it's attributes..
Each season has it's own unique features.
Summer: It's usually warm and sunny for riding in the Midwest during the summer. The vegetation in the forest is green and lush. It's beautiful riding through the woods. The biggest downfall is bugs. Wet, damp forests are loaded with mosquitoes throughout the entire season and by August the flies can be atrocious. In the summer of 2012, we were at almost drought conditions and there were hardly any bugs at all so it all depends on the precipitation for the year.
Fall: During a nice year, fall really is the most beautiful season to ride here in Wisconsin. The trees are lit up in all their colorful glory. The weather is usually perfect between 50 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit and most of the bugs have disappeared. The only thing that I don't like about fall is that the days are getting short and I don't have time to ride after work.
Winter: I haven't done much trail riding during the winter. The years that I did however were very nice. The snow looks beautiful and it's something different to see. The biggest problems with winter riding is that your toes usually go numb from the cold so the jump off can be a bit painful and you have to be careful about ice.
Spring: This is another tricky season. It can seem like a beautiful day to ride but under the melting snow can be thick ice. It can also seem much warmer than it really is so you might end up under dressed for the weather. On a good note, the bugs are still at a minimum and you can find a few absolutely gorgeous days.
Lessons At Fantasy Hills
If you've been trail riding for a long time but feel like there's so much more that you would like to learn, they do have a wonderful riding instructor there. Her name is Lou Anne and she is excellent with people of all ages and great with the horses. She has 3 awesome lesson horses there but if you prefer lessons on your own horse, she is okay with you trailering in for them. She has the use of the indoor riding arena on Thursday evenings and Saturdays. During nice weather days, she gives lessons outside in their huge arena. If needed, she will help in a round pen also.
Update: Lou Anne has moved to a new location. She's still giving lessons but they're very private and she only has Lucky these days.
Lucky the Lesson Horse
Lucky is one of the lesson horses at Fantasy Hills. He's a 16 hand Saddlebred Paint. He's absolutely beautiful and rides like a dream. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced Rider, Lucky will take care of you.
A Little Petting Zoo - Kids love the animals!
There's not a lot of animals in the petting zoo but the few that are there draw the attention of everyone that comes there to ride. There's some goats, a duck, a few mini horses, and a sheep. There's also lots of cats roaming the area.
Some Things You Should Wear on Your Trail Ride
One thing that you really want to have when you are riding is riding boots! It's important that they have a one inch heel on them so that your feet don't slip through the stirrups if you happen to fall off. A good pair of boots will also help if your horse steps on your foot.
It's never a good idea to wear 5" heeled boots. I wouldn't suspect that they offer much protection either in the way of a horse stepping on your foot or keeping your foot from going through the stirrup.
I also suggest jeans. I see lots of people trail riding in shorts but to do it right, jeans are the way to go. It can hurt when your legs rub on the saddle or on a tree if your horse gets too close to one.
These Ariat Rocker Boots are gorgeous! Wear them for trail riding, in the show ring, or out for a night on the town!
There Must Be a Few Still Out There!
With only a few riding stables in Southeast Wisconsin left, I'm curious if this is something that is happening all over the world. I know here it's mostly because of the rising insurance costs and I would think that's a global problem so my guess is yes, they are dwindling everywhere!
Do you have a riding stable near you?
What It's Like At Fantasy Hills Ranch
With lots of horses to choose from, the guides are great at picking out the one that's right for you based on your skill level, experience, and body build. They will also offer safety instructions before you leave such as stay in line, don't let the horses eat along the way and never get in front of the guide. It's important that you listen to the rules for everyone's safety.
Go for the western look with a nice cowboy hat!
Complete your day with a nice cowboy hat to finish off your western look! I personally like to wear a helmet when I'm riding but if I'm just walking around the fair or hanging out in the barn, a cowboy hat is perfect. The kids love to wear hats too but state law in Wisconsin says that anyone under the age of 16 participating in an equine activity has to wear a helmet.
We used to have about 6 places near us but only 2 are still open for trail rides due to rising insurance rates. I was worried about finding a new one but it turned out great! I love it at Fantasy Hills Ranch.