Interview with Kim Bassett by Phoebe Oliver from The Equine Collective

Interview with Kim Bassett by Phoebe Oliver from The Equine Collective

Solo travel is on the rise, especially among women, but Kim Bassett has always found it the most adventurous and rewarding way to find peace and relax at her favourite destination – Vista Verde Ranch – 25 miles from the nearest traffic lights and deep in the mountains of Colorado.

When did you first start travelling to Vista Verde and how many years have you now been going?

I first went to Vista Verde when I was 10 years old with my family. I had been luckily enough to visit many other ranches but when I was 18 years old my dad said I could choose whether to go to a new ranch or back to one we had been before and straight away I said I wanted to go back to Vista Verde – so much so I ended up working there but realising I couldn’t be a full time wrangler I came back to the UK and trained as a teacher.  I now visit the ranch annually by myself – as a “solo traveller” and people’s knee-jerk response to hearing this is

“You’re so brave” – which I have always struggled with as its simply not true. You are only brave or courageous when you are afraid of something but still do it anyway – Vista Verde have always made me feel like part of the family and you are never afraid when you are travelling home – I am now on my twenty first visit and have my own horse which I use every year.

What makes the place so special?

Apart from getting to see beautiful scenery every day and breath in the mountain air it is the staff that makes it so special. From the minute you arrive you are made to feel part of the ‘Vista Verde’ family – a family I am reluctant to leave by the end of the week. The staff are amazing and because you get to interact, not just through the guided activities but at other times including lunches and dinners, you get to know them, and they get to know you from the house keeping team to the wranglers – they are my friends and I miss them when I go.

Even if you don’t want to ride a horse there are so many other activities that you can do which makes it very versatile. However, for me what makes it special is the horse programme and the amazing horses they have. They are so well trained and good at doing their job and can take everyone from beginners to advanced. Even though you only get to ride them for a short time they will become your best friend by at the end of the week.

For me Vista Verde is the one place where I can truly switch of from my job which I love but can be very stressful at times. Covid has put extra stressed on us all, but I really felt sadness at not being able to travel to VV during this time. Its everything – from staying in cosy cabins, to eating delicious food to joining amazing trails on either horse, bike or by foot. For me it is my one chance a year to forget the outside world for a week.

What made you first travel there as a single person and how do you feel they approach the solo traveller’s needs/stay?

I think it is a perfect holiday for someone who is travelling by themselves. Not only do they have dedicated Adult only designated times  but they also  don’t feel like you are on your ‘own’ because you do so many things together – meals and activities. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing guests over the years that made me feel like I was one of their family for the week.

From the moment you arrive you feel very safe which I also think is important when you are on your own.

Is the journey from the UK easy?

It is incredibly easy. I get a direct flight from Heathrow to Denver International Airport on the Saturday. I then stay in the airport hotel which is opposite the airport and on Sunday get the Alpine shuttle which takes me to Steamboat Springs. The ranch then picks me up.

Tell us about the horses– how does the ranch match you to your horse and how important do you feel this process is?

For me the horse programme is one of the most important things as all I do when I am there is ride every morning and afternoon. I think they do a brilliant job at matching you to your horse. I have been really lucky to be able to ride the same horse the last three times I have been which shows what an amazing job they do. They also recognise when a guest has a special bond with a horse which is really lovely. The good thing is they are really understanding if you do find you need change your horse for any reason. They have so many horses to choose from its not a problem.

What are the treks like and give us some highlights of your time in saddle over the years?

There are so many different trails that you can go on depending on the type of ride you want – slow, fast, short, long. I have been lucky enough to go on some amazing rides with fantastic wranglers. One of my favourite rides is the long steak ride where you go on a long ride, then have dinner on a hill overlooking the ranch and then a short ride back. It has plenty of areas for trotting and loping with some climbing as well. There is something magical about seeing all the horses tied up whilst you are eating.

One highlight I will never forget was an all-day ride I went on. I joked with one of the wrangler’s that I would only go on an all-day ride if I could spend most of it in a hammock. He made it happen! We rode for a short while, unsaddled the horses and spent most of the day laying in hammocks.

What other activities have you done at the ranch and which ones are specifically good for the solo traveller?

To be honest I only ride when I am there because that’s what I love to do. I did try fishing once which was cool and I did manage to catch one fish! – however for people wanting to do more they have everything from hiking to skiing to paddleboarding and I would say all the activities are good for the solo traveller because you do tend to do them in groups.

When are you going back?

I am going back this year and I can’t wait to put my cowgirl boots back on!

For further information on Solo Travel to Vista Verde please visit