The Hideout Ranch Story
The Hideout Story and Your Experience
The story of The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch consists of many tales and experiences that when melded together create “Your Experience”. These stories try to put into words the type of experience that you can expect while vacationing here in Shell, Wyoming.
The story of The Hideout Staff, our secret…
Our staff comes from different walks of life, background and education. They all have their stories as to why they love to work for The Hideout and why they believe that this is the best valley and place to raise kids and start families. They all share a genuine passion for the West, hospitality, horses, ranching, the outdoors and being a part of offering you the best and most unique guest ranch vacation ever. We want The Hideout Guest Ranch to be the best dude ranch to work at, as we believe that a happy, well respected and passionate staff is part of ensuring an exceptional guest experience.
What sets us aside from most other guest ranches is that we employ our key staff year-around. Read more about our culture.
The Story of our Guests
Many of our guests come to The Hideout looking for an experience that blends equestrian activities, the remote outdoors, an authentic ranch experience and upscale pampering.
Guests arrive from around the world and return frequently. They have many stories to share about The Hideout, but they will all agree that the reason they return is “The Hideout Story”.
In the end, returning guests and word of mouth are the only benchmarks for any organization. We do not take this for granted. On the contrary, it puts more weight on our shoulders to do every year better.
The Story of our Horses
Horses are the heart of any Guest Ranch. We believe that our horses are as good as they get at a dude ranch. Whether you ride every day or are swinging in to the saddle for the first time, we have the horse that is right for you. Natural Horsemanship is a standard practice, which means we handle our horses in a gentle manner, designed to keep their stress and ours to an absolute minimum. Our key wranglers are also trainers and during the off-season, when not riding with guests, they start our colts, train and fine-tune our guest ranch horses and offer clinics and trainings at The Hideout Guest Ranch.
You can read more about our horse culture at www.ahhorsemanship.com or elsewhere on this website.
The Story of The Hideout Adventures
David and Paula Flitner founded The Hideout Adventures in 1992. They have nurtured it over the years and it has grown and expanded to what The Hideout is today. Paula and David are still an integral part of the ranch, however they have handed over the reins to family members Peter and Marijn and The Hideout staff.
David is a 3th generation Wyoming native. Paula, a Belgian native moved to the US over 50 years ago and has lived, amongst other places, in New York, California, Florida, Belgium, France, and Switzerland and has traveled to many other places. From start they aimed at offering the rare opportunity of an upscale, well pampered hospitality experience on a real Wyoming ranch.
The Hideout started as an upscale working cattle guest ranch. Over the years other adventures and an excellent equestrian and fly-fishing program where added. However we remain loyal to our commitment to offer the best working cattle ranch experience out West.
During the summer season we keep the guest count around 25 riding guests in addition to a number of fly-fishers. Less is more, and we feel this maximizes the guest experience. With a string of 85 horses we assure excellent mounts at all times for our guests. Our horses are bred and raised for this challenging terrain in order to keep our guests safely mounted for a day of herding cattle or fun and exciting trail rides. Other activities like overnight stays, fly-fishing, trap shooting, hiking and riding lessons are also available.
Our Fly-Fishing program is handled by our partners from The Humble Fly.
Authentic, true Western Horse & Stockman ship with an open mind…
In 2006, Peter De Cabooter, nephew of Paula Flitner, and his wife Marijn Werquin took over the reins of The Hideout. Together with their two twin sons Edward and Victor they moved over from Brussels, Belgium to Shell, Wyoming.
Over the last 6 years they kept the working cattle ranch experience but closely monitoring the wishes and desires of the growing number of repeat guests, they added a much stronger focus on a quality horse, stockmanship, riding and horsemanship culture. Better quality horses were added with more focus on horsemanship and the riding experience.
In addition to quarter horses and gaited horses, the first well trained mustangs were added to the string of guest horses. Today we work closely with the BLM, specialized trainers and The Mustang Heritage Foundation.
The rough cowboy approach to horses and livestock has been replaced by Buckaroo and soft hand True Western and Authentic Horsemanship in synch with old time ethics and ways of handling animals. Today’s seasonal wranglers are required to have solid horsemanship and a consistent approach to the above culture. By preference, this includes a combination of English and Western riding backgrounds following our open minded approach to horsemanship.
From the start, The Hideout adopted the culture of The 3 C’s being Character, Conduct and Competence, knowing one can train for Competence, not for the Character and Conduct. The 3 C’s are a concept that was developed by the Global Leadership Team at Bandag Inc. The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch added The Code of The West (Jim Owen) to our culture long before it was adopted and signed in to legislation as The Code of Wyoming by the Wyoming Governor.
With an open mind to universal true and authentic horsemanship, you will find that some of our wranglers/instructors have, along with Western, a solid English Riding background in disciplines like dressage, hunting, jumping, eventing (military & cross country) and that experienced horsemen like Tom our head wrangler, have an open mind to learn anything there is to learn about horses.
Consistent with above horsemanship culture we had Bud Williams train our staff in the concept of Low Stress Stockmanship, to be compared with natural horsemanship on the equestrian side.
(Read more on this at www.ahhorsemanship.com)
The Culinary Story of The Hideout
Under the experienced and well-traveled hospitality leadership of Paula Flitner, The Hideout started out offering good Western fare. Over the years keeping up with the trends in the food industry and restaurants The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch has become more and more known for offering an excellent culinary experience.
Over the last three years, with the help of Sheena Ernst our Executive Chef, we have brought the culinary experience at The Hideout to the next level. Sheena is a Wyoming native from Powell. She has studied at The University of Wyoming in Laramie and was schooled at The Tante Marie Cordon Bleu in London, UK. She worked in restaurants London, Wyoming, Colorado adding culinary experiences in Tuscany and Israel. In many ways, Sheena represents what The Hideout Experience is all about. A Western Experience blended with outside quality, sophistication with an open mind and view on the rest of the world. We embrace diversity as an asset as long as it represents quality, ethics and good values.
As much as possible, Sheena sources all of her ingredients locally. Many of the fresh vegetables you enjoy at The Hideout are grown locally on a five acre all natural farm.
The Flitner Ranch Story
In addition to our recreational permits and private lands The Hideout Guest Ranch shares close to 300,000 acres of private, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and National Forest permits with the Flitner Ranch. Nestled alongside the Big Horn Mountains, four generations of the Flitner family have worked the ranch and resided here since 1906. The 100 year-old Flitner Ranch remains an oasis of peace and solitude in this fast-paced world. Paula and David Flitner expanded the ranch to its currents size. This property offers incredibly diverse terrain and spectacular views in all directions.
Depending on the year and the market, the ranch usually grazes around 1,300 head of Black Angus mother cows with calves, and 400 head of yearlings, offering our guests plenty of opportunities to experience riding with real cowboy wranglers in a safe environment. Today the Flitner Ranch is managed by David’s son Greg and his family.
The Story of Shell and The Big Horn Basin.
The Hideout is located in Shell, Wyoming, (population 83, elevation 4200 feet) in the beautiful Shell Valley of the Big Horn Basin at the entrance of the dramatic Shell Canyon. It is only 110 miles east of Yellowstone National Park, and 76 miles east of Cody, Wyoming. The nearest town across the Big Horn Mountains is approximately a one-and-a-half hour drive. The story of Shell starts millions and millions of years ago and the many exposed formations are a visible testimonial of this history. Shell is a popular destination for paleontologists from around the globe digging for rare species of dinosaur remains and other fossils.
Population 2.1 / Sq Mi…
Wyoming is the least dense populated state out West. The area of Shell enjoys a population of only 2.1 people per square mile. Compare to to New York City with over 27,000 people per square mile and you know cattle, horses and wild animals outnumber people by large numbers
The Story of The Big HornMountains & National Park and Cloud Peak Wilderness
At 4,100 feet in the high-desert valley of salt sage, cactus, and prehistoric dinosaur discoveries, we climb the rocky canyons of Shell Creek, White Creek, and Trapper Creek, through wide-open range, to an elevation of over 10,000 feet in the Bighorn National Forest (1,300,000 acres and one of the oldest National Forests in the US) and Cloud Peak Wilderness Area (187,000 acres), which measures close to 13,067 feet. The green alpine meadows and pine forests are home to the majestic elk and mule deer. Crystal-clear mountain lakes and streams harbor native trout.
With this as your back yard, The Hideout Guest Ranch is the perfect spot for your next vacation.