Extraordinary Equestrian Experience

Equestrian ladies from Cordillera Ranch ventured to Harper, Texas, for two days of horse fun at Tres Molinos Hill Country Ranch and Resort! I worked with Resort owner, Patrick Moellendorf, to craft events to suit all riders.

Jennifer Guidt, Equestrian Center Manager

Tres Molinos is a wonderful venue about an hour north of Boerne. The several-hundred-acre ranch has been in the Moellendorf family for generations, and Patrick Moellendorf has turned it into a one-of-a-kind fun destination! The main area of the ranch boasts a ranch house, event center, cabins, RV hook-ups, hot tub, fire pit and fishing ponds. Activities at the ranch include ATV sports, shooting clays and targets, archery, fishing and hiking. Welcoming guests throughout the ranch are friends, horses, cows, donkeys, goats, dogs, cats and chickens. For the horse enthusiasts, Patrick has arenas and round pens for sorting and penning cows. You may bring your own steed or rent one of the ranch horses. The riding trails wind throughout the ranch with stellar views of nature and the hillsides. Adjacent to the main area is a 600-acre preserve, which includes exotic animals such as aoudad, black-tailed deer, swans and “tame” buffalo.  

Some of the ladies hauled their horses, while others used some of Tres Molinos horses. First on the agenda, right after lunch, was a trail ride. Patrick led seven of the ladies through the preserve on a three-hour ride with rolling hills, creeks, ponds and wildlife. At one point the buffalo noticed the riders and began following them! Of the eight or so buffalo, three are solid white. While they are large animals, they appear even larger when trailing a horseback rider!

Upon returning to the main ranch and freshening up, Head Trainer, Meghan Moriarty, and I had unpacked and readied the stalls for our horses. Next up was a sorting clinic! If you aren’t familiar with sorting cows, it goes like this: There are two round pens connected by one open “gate.” Cows are numbered 0 through 9, with numbers pasted on their backs. The cows start in one of the round pens. Two competitors sort at a time. As the two riders enter the pen with the cows, the judge gives them a random number between 0 and 9, say, number 4. One of the riders holds the gate while the other goes and sorts out number 4. The gate keeper must allow only number 4 in, and no others. He or she must also not let a cow back into the pen. Cows are then collected one at a time in order, such as 5 through 9, then 0 through 3. This is fast paced and a lot more challenging than it sounds!

Sorting commenced with the ladies gathering the cows and pasting numbers on their backs. Then came the clinic. Patrick introduced the lesson with a history of team penning and sorting. Next, Patrick and I ran a few drills showing everyone what was expected. The sorting ladies then began, two at a time, sorting the cows on foot. It was fun and funny and exhausting! Once fairly proficient on foot, ladies were able to mount their horses for sorting turns. What great fun!

Meanwhile, Jake Panknin gathered the spouses at Cordillera Ranch and shuttled them to Tres Molinos. Patrick organized shooting clays for the gentlemen and any of the ladies who wished to shoot. Afterwards, the ladies and gentlemen retired to the event center for cocktails and excellent appetizers.

Tres Molinos also boasts an incredible chef, Teto. Normally, brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday, and dinners are served Friday through Sunday. These meals alone are worth the trip!

Dinner was lively and delicious, and everyone was fully sated and ready to retire for the night. The ladies stayed in the ranch house and the cabins — very nice accommodations!

On the following day, brunch was enjoyed before mounting up for the ladies’ choice of sorting or trail riding. The sorting was for real this time, being timed! Each sort lasts 60 seconds, and one should move all 10 cows in that period without any disqualifications, which include letting a cow in out of order or letting one of the sorted cows back into the pen.

Needless to say, everyone had a phenomenal time, not only enjoying fine dining and horseback fun, but also enriching friendships. Every one of the ladies is ready for the next adventure!

Jennifer Guidt is the Equestrian Center Manager at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. She can be reached at jguidt@cordilleraranch.com and 830.336.9182.

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