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Ranch Livestock

Fun Farm Stay Experience with Horses, Llamas, Donkeys & Chickens!

Enjoying the horses at the Dog & Pony Ranch

The Dog & Pony Ranch is a great place for you and your dogs to safely meet these types of animals. See below for photos of previous guests' interactions with our livestock.

You are welcome to pet our horses, donkeys, and llamas over the fence if they approach you. We (or our pet sitter when we're not onsite) feed the animals late-afternoon each day (they have auto-feeders for other meals) so this is a good time to visit the barn if you want to meet our livestock, give them treats and take some fun photos. Guests are also welcome to enjoy our farm-fresh pasture-raised chickens' eggs which we stock in the guest kitchen refridgerator (typically a dozen).

Taking the llamas for a walk on 60 acre ranch Llama Walks and Horse Riding

When we are in residence (see calendar for hosted visit dates), we offer additional options such as "llama walks" for a unique photo opportunity. We don't have a string of rental horses, but our well-trained horses have been great teachers for our nieces and nephews over the years. Our guests can learn to groom and tack the horse, get a lesson in the arena and/or a relaxing trail ride around the property. Two of our horses are now in their 20's so don't do high performance work like they used to do, but really riding and controlling a horse is an awesome experience compared to nose-to-butt trail rides. Let us know what you want and we'll customize these extras for you. Typical requests:

If you are looking for a trail ride for a larger group, we can recommend nearby horseback riding options. If you have your own horses and want to enjoy them while on vacation, see our Bring Your Horses page for details and info about our horse facilities.

Treats for our llamasMore Info about our Barn Animals

Our llamas (Llorenzo & Mozart, with photos of our beloved Zuni too) with their distinctive banana-shaped ears are a favorite for unique photos. Llorenzo is a white Classic, a taller breed with less fiber so often used for packing, and Mozart is a brown Argentine which is a breed with heavy gorgeous fiber. They are very treat motivated and almost tickle your hand when nibbling grain from it. Llamas are highly sensitive (why they make great guard animals) so aren't fond of being petted by strangers, but we have some llama fiber shearing samples so you can feel how soft they are. We know you'll fall in love with llamas when you look into their big beautiful eyes.

Horse in pastureOur horses (Amigo the sorrel Quarter Horse, Buddy the bay Mustang, and Diamond Rio the chocolate gaited Rocky Mountain Horse, with photos below of our beloved Tio too) are eager for their afternoon carrot treats, and enjoy attention and petting. They are on top of the pasture pecking order due to their size, so we feed the big boys first. Our friendly geldings are the most likely to come up to you at the fence line for petting (be careful if we aren't with you since horses can bite). Buddy has an adorable habit of licking your hand, just like a dog but with a really big tongue!

Donkey hug with MillieOur mini donkeys (Millie & Mo) arrived at the Ranch in March 2019. They are very friendly and act like cuddly dogs in equine bodies. Mo is a black gelding and a well-trained boy in both riding and driving. He's had many small children ride on his back so is a unique experience for our smallest guests. The female jennet was rescued from a Texas kill lot and is so sweet with appreciation for her new life. You can see Millie enjoying a neck stretch while giving me a “donkey hug”. She's classic brown/grey coloring with the donkey cross on her back.

Guest holding chickenOur chickens know daily barn visits mean yummies for them as well so they come running to the fence to say "hi" providing an exciting experience for dogs to watch. Their favorite treat is dried worms which kids particularly seem to enjoy tossing to the girls. Guests who want to pet/hold a chicken are usually surprised with how soft their feathers are. Chicken races are a hit as well watching our hens waddle-run to get to the treats. We have a variety of breeds for a colorful selection of tasty eggs.

We also have feral barn cats (mouse warriors Zorro, Mulan, Athena, Perseus and Hercules) who help with rodent control, but it's highly unlikely that you'll see them. We find empty cat food bowls after nightly hunts and monitor them on the security cameras.

Are you wondering where our Dexter cattle went? We had such fun watching them grow from 6-mos-old weanlings to 2-yr-old mature heifers. A wonderful family purchased them in 2019 to start their Dexter breeding program so they've moved on to a new home to do an important job.

Please don't feed our animals except treats provided by us - the mini donkeys could choke if you give them a carrot, and the horse can nip if not handled correctly.

Safe fencing separates dog and livestock Q: Will my dogs be safely separated from the other animals?

A: WE LOVE ANIMALS SO THEIR SAFETY IS A TOP PRIORITY TO US!!! Our horses, llamas, mini-donkeys and chickens are safely separated in a 10-acre pasture on the east side of the 60-acre property with ~4' high cross-hatched "field fencing" that should keep most dogs out of the barn animal areas. Our fencing is more secure than most rural neighbors who fence livestock typically with 3-strand wire. Our chickens also have a predator-proof coop and run (fencing goes underground).

Dogs watching chickens at the Dog & Pony Ranch If you have very small or very determined high-prey drive dogs, we recommend that you leash them when walking near livestock pastures since they might find a way to go over or under the fence. Children should be supervised at all times as well to ensure they don't open gates and go into the animal areas. Guests allowing their dogs to harrass our animals, or people going into the horse / donkey / llama / chicken pens putting both themselves and the animals at risk will be asked to leave immediately per our rental agreement (our livestock areas are under constant video surveillance). So far, no issues which means we're happy to continue sharing our unique dog-friendly farm-stay with rental guests!

Image caption.

Satellite layout of Dog and Pony Ranch in Gold Country

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