Kristy Prosser and Cody Koch offer Sisters Country equestrian adventures at Black Butte Stables. photo by Katy Yoder
Kristy Prosser and Cody Koch offer Sisters Country equestrian adventures at Black Butte Stables. photo by Katy Yoder

For the past 22 years, Black Butte Ranch has offered some of the best professionally led trail rides in Central Oregon. For most of those years, David Herman handled the rental string and all that went with it. In that time he was able to secure riding permits for the surrounding Forest Service land making the riding options both vast and breathtaking.

During Herman's time at the reins of the riding stables at Black Butte Ranch, he had many dedicated and knowledgeable wranglers working for him. Two of his most enthusiastic employees in the past eight years recently saddled up and purchased the business from Herman.

Cody Koch and Kristy Prosser are seasoned professionals who are extremely thankful for Herman's support over the years.

"David has helped us out tremendously," said Koch. "He's had the rights to the Forest Service land since 1988, getting those rights took a huge amount of time and patience on his part."

In April, business partners Koch and Prosser bought the whole package including saddles, bridles, horses and the USFS use-permit. They've had a busy summer season, despite the sputtering economy. 

The summer months bring rides ranging from two-mile trail rides for beginners to wilderness excursions that go all day in the Deschutes National Forest.

"In the fall, we offer camping, hunting and pack trips into the wilderness," said Prosser.

One important point that the partners want people to know is that Black Butte Ranch Stables is open to the public.

"We really want locals to come on out and enjoy some time in the saddle," said Koch.

To encourage locals, Black Butte Ranch Stables is offering a Central Oregon local's special.

"All people have to do is show us their driver's license to let us know they're neighbors and we'll give them $10 off of any ride," said Koch.

Every morning Prosser and Koch head out to the pastures where their herd spends the night.  Around 7:30 a.m. every morning the wranglers coax the horses out of their grazing areas and push them through a gate and into the beautiful meadow that borders the road through Black Butte Ranch. The horses start out at a slow, resistant walk that inevitably progresses to an exuberant, gentle gallop.

Each horse chooses one of the 57 small pens, complete with a water bucket and a pan of grain to entice them. 

"We have 61 horses total," said Koch. "Every day we have 45 horses tacked up and ready to go." 

The partners have made sure any horse guests get on is both safe and gentle. A key to a contented horse is receiving good care from their owner. Part of that equation is healthy feet. Prosser handles all of the foot care for the herd. She attended a shoeing school in Walla Walla and handles all the hoof trimming and shoeing.

Prosser and Koch have painted buildings and did some serious cleaning, and it really shows. The tack room is well-organized, with saddles and bridles hanging in perfect order. Their enterprise is obviously a well-run operation, and their horses look content.

"You have to love horses if you own over 60 of them," laughed Koch.

For more information visit www.blackbutte or e-mail Koch