Ranch perfect!

Home, home on the range …

where we dress up and pretend we’re in the Wild, Wild West! Well, we are in the West Country.

Do I look like Annie Oakley?
“I wish I knew how to quit you.”
Did you think Mum would miss the opportunity to dress us up? LOL!

Just being cowboys! No Injuns!

Er, hat’s pushing down my fringe!

May’s comment: Today is our last full day at Loose Reins. It has been a little “adventure” – and have throughly enjoyed the experience – from making fires in the wood burner, using a gas oven and gas stove to boil water, and no microwave to save the day! LOL!

We had planned to be at Loose Reins for last Christmas but plans were thwarted by the promise of the Northern Lights. After that epic journey last year (crossing four countries on numerous trains and several latitudes north), this seemed the perfect alternative for us – a quiet and peaceful place for seeking solitude and to recalibrate before the next year begins. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive before coming to Loose Reins with just my two pooches. Being in the middle of nowhere over Christmas, with only three cabins open to guests (well, thank goodness for that). What was I going to do about food, will I be cold, etc, etc. I felt more confident travelling to the Arctic Circle with my two dogs! Well, I suppose hindsight is 20/20 and memories are often seen through rose-coloured glasses.

Lucio of Lucio Restaurant fame had told me about his visit to Loose Reins a good three-four years ago. If an Italian of such good taste had highly recommended it, it must be worth checking out. And all I can say is – it’s been PERFECT for us and nicely surprised!

After a very busy year and hectic weeks leading up to Christmas, I needed this down time. We could have gone to our usual standby in Dusseldorf, and we had several invitations but we preferred some time alone.

Once we arrived and saw the cute, cosy log cabin, I knew this would be just fine. It will take a little getting used to but the cosiness of the accommodation made me want to do it.

Someone asked me if it was “luxurious” or “middle of the road.” How do you quantify that? For me it’s luxury to be able to get away and to stay in a lovely place. Being an interior designer, I can see the thought and consideration that had gone into every aspect of the space. This may not be an 5-star ski resort log cabin in Aspen, nor Les Fermes de Marie in Megeve, but a curated Wild West log cabin. One that is made to look authentic like what you would find in Montana.

I gave me such delight to observe the details inside and outside of the cabin.

From the king size bed area –

From the American quilt on the bed, the old fashioned lampshades
The quilted picture above the bed and the handcrafted Christmas decorations.
Its a very cosy space and not much room to manouvre, so every inch was made use of. There are no wardrobes, just some hangers at the end of the bed (for all their jumpers!) – and the shelving above has extra blankets, hot water bottles, a toy fox! We use the faux fur throw on the bed for warmth
And a bedtime story book.
Checking to see what’s going on at the neighbours whenever we hear any sounds!

The little kitchenette …

The kettle! Nothing electric – just gas stove to boil some water. But I am glad they didn’t have those enamel cups – they burn lips. Do I wish there’s a microwave? Yes but that would take away the charm of a gas oven that keeps going off! LOL!
The cake tin, the colander and even the IKEA plates fit the picture
The egg cupboard and little egg cups! Jars of teats for hooman and dogs.
A little table that seats two and apparently can be made into a bunk bed for little children!
Love the bucket in the toilet!
And let’s not forget the porch with the rocking chairs, Christmas tree and candles. There’s a big wooden box outside for luggage if there’s not enough space. And a dining table for warmer climes.
Hanging up Darcy and George’s coats.

And importantly, we didn’t starve! We can order pre-cooked meals that they prepare, using all local ingredients and had ready for us in the fridge. But you can supplement them with items from the larder!

An honour system shop where you can pick up little extras, milk, rice, chocolates, ice-cream, etc.
The Hitching Room – common area for guests to gather.
It was this morning at about 7.30am – it was a foggy day.
View from the kitchen window.

This is the brainchild of Marc, the owner of Loose Reins – which began about five years ago.

Loose Reins is an American riding ranch the rest of the year. There are three cabins that sleeps up to four – very tight quarters and three larger lodges which sleep up to six.

Would be interesting to see what it looks like during the rest of the year – bet it’s a lot more happening – with people coming for riding lessons, and longer stays.

Meet “Scout” – or at least he was in “Scout’s pen.
“Scout” would not cooperate for a photo. Every time the camera came out, he walked to the other side!
Selfie shy!

There are other things you can do in the area if you have a car – this is after all Thomas Hardy country! We’ve been to a few of the sights on previous visits.

There are lots of walking trails but we’re lazy and kept to the farm.

But seriously – did you really want us to walk through this?

But then we have blogs to write, a book to read and dressing up for photos! Besides probably a bit nervous about getting lost along the trails! Do I wish there’s a TV – yes and no. If there’s one, it would probably be on the whole time and occupy head time. Instead, with no TV, we listened to the stillness and kept the place tranquil and allowed the mind to think. I might even have solved my problem about going to sleep very late when in the city. Because I always fall asleep to the sound of the TV and then kept waking up!!! While here, I’ve been having at least seven-hour night sleep and even an afternoon nap after lunch. That’s what I call luxury!!!

Dogs are now welcomed but there are rules. For the dog’s safety and of other livestock, the dogs should be on leashes when out and about on the farm. Picking up after your dog is required. There are house rules and a charge per dog – up to 2 dogs per cabin.

Loose Reins is at Ridgeway Farm, Lanchards Lane, Shillingstone, Blandford Forum DT11 0TF

Previous visits to Dorset:

This is not an ad. We are by no means paid to stay, nor given complimentary accommodation. All observations are our own – and just happy to share our experiences.


  1. Sam and Lola

    Looks lovely, but we can understand why you avoided the muddy track! Gorgeous Darcy, (and George!) loving the hat, but we were not sure about Annie Oakley; we thought maybe Paddington Bear! xx

  2. Kathy

    What an amazing place to visit. Love the foggy morning view. ❤️

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