This has been our home since 1998. When we found this place, we were looking for a grass ranch to rent for our horses and a base for our business, Montana Horses, Inc.
We took a wrong turn on a weekend drive and landed at the overgrown turnout that might have been a driveway once. There was nothing here. No fences, no buildings, nothing but grass and a view.
We leased this ranch for several years on a year to year basis and in 2003 bought what all we could afford with a marriage proposal to the bank, a quarter of the ranch we originally leased - our first home. We still lease the grass on the rest of the ranch from our good neighbors.
We built this ranch literally from the ground up, put the first fence in, drilled wells, brought in electricity and phone, and created a home and business with the funds we generated from our horse leasing operation. We are truly a working outfit, there was never any checkbook from somewhere else supporting anything we did.
When we decided to build guest cabins, we bought a stand of timber and a sawmill, and with the help of family and friends, we created three cute log cabins in which we place guests and the same friends and family. The shop concrete was poured out of an old cement truck we limped home from Toston to mix aggregate we pulled off the land. The frame welded and designed ourselves and hung off forks of a tractor mounted on the back of a semi-trailer. No joke. We were inventive. The corrals we built to be portable, but they quickly became permanent and now house over 400 horses when they are all home and being worked.
We made a lot of horses here. We've had some high adventure - horse drives, photo expeditions, ranch weeks, and trail challenges. We've ruined a lot of people here by creating horse nuts. We've seen generations of deer, birds, and cattle. We have had dry seasons, tough seasons, wet seasons, and a recession. We've watched trees and grass grow, a thousand trains go by, horse trails form, years come and go. We've even seen the old rough gravel road turn to pavement. We built a great reputation and viable business based at what we call The Mantle Ranch.
Most people ask why we're selling. We are proud of our accomplishments, we have created a nice place, a good ranch, a real ranch, and seen it grow to become the largest working horse ranch in Montana. Now; we're ready for a change. Our investment over many years has been in this place, we have fed it and fought for it like a child and it has matured. While here, so have we.
We'd love to see someone buy this ranch who will love it like us, it is a unique and wonderful place. It is ready for the next step, this could continue to be fantastic working guest ranch, trainers paradise, maybe a young couple starting out, a family looking for a place in the country, someone looking for a dreamy vista to build their version of perfection, a small livestock operation, or a developer interested in creating many fine homesites in this perfect location.
This place has been very good to us. We know you'll be happy here and wish you the best of luck with your endeavors.