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, backgrounds 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 Lodge & Guest Ranch to be the best guest 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-round.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 better every year.
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 guest 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 Lodge & Guest Ranch.
You can read more about our horse culture at www.ahhorsemanship.com or elsewhere on this website.
The Story of The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch
David Flitner and Paula De Cabooter-Flitner founded Hideout Adventures Inc. in 1992. In 2006, Peter De Cabooter (Paula’s nephew) and his wife Marijn Werquin took over the reins and have expanded The Hideout to what it is today. The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is an upscale riding, working, adventure guest ranch and independent ranch that operates year-round.
While David continues working with his son Greg on the operational ranch, you will see Paula who turns 80 in 2017, still actively involved in the Guest Ranch. Paula, like Marijn and Peter, is a Belgian native, who moved to the US almost 60 years ago. She has lived, among other places, in New York, California, Florida, Belgium, France, and Switzerland and has traveled throughout the world. Peter, leaving an international corporate job, moved with Marijn and their twin sons Edward and Victor from Brussels to Shell, Wyoming. The Hideout welcomes a growing number of visitors from around the world each year, and leverages diversity as an asset.
In 2012 Rebecca and Tom Bercher with their children Augustus and Seamus, joined The Hideout crew moving to Shell from Northwest Arkansas. Prior to this Rebecca and Tom had been guests at The Hideout three times. Tom is The Hideout’s head wrangler and Rebecca manages the office, reservations and guest services.
Over the years The Hideout has evolved from a predominantly working cattle guest ranch to become one of the foremost upscale riding ranches in North America. However, we remain loyal to our commitment to offer one of the best working cattle ranch experiences out West.
Even during our high season we limit our riding guests to approximately 25 per week. Less is more, and we feel this maximizes the guest experience. With a string of approximately 90 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 moving cattle or fun and exciting trail rides. In addition to Quarter Horses, we also have a growing number of Mustangs in our riding string for intermediate and advanced riders.
Authentic, True Western Horse & Stockmanship 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 9 years they have kept the working cattle ranch experience while 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 Paint 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 skills 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 several years, with the help of experienced chefs, we have brought the culinary experience at The Hideout to the next level.
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 per Square Mile…
Wyoming is the least densely populated state in the West. The area of Shell enjoys a population of only 2.1 people per square mile. Compare this to New York City with over 27,000 people per square mile, and you realize that cattle, horses and wild animals outnumber people by large numbers
The Story of the Big Horn Mountains, the Big Norn National Forest and Cloud Peak Wilderness
At 4,200 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 and Cloud Peak Wilderness. The Big Horn National Forest comprises 1,300,000 acres and is one of the oldest National Forests in the US. The Cloud Peak Wilderness Area at 187,000 acres, has elevations which measure up 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 Lodge & Guest Ranch is the perfect spot for your next vacation.