Brush Creek Ranch provides apartment living, horse rider training

(Claiborn Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)

2UW Brush Creek Ranch is a professional equine facility under the same ownership for over 125 years: the Ubel family. Today, Mary Ubel runs the ranch with her mother, Barbara Ubel.

(Photo courtesy of Mary Ubel)
Barbara and Mary Ubel (Photo courtesy of Mary Ubel)

The Brush Creek Ranch offers horse training, lessons, boarding and housing through apartments in the Flint Hills — located 16 miles outside Manhattan — and provides private lessons, horse training, rider training, clinics as well as a horsemanship program.

The ranch offers both Western and English lessons. Horse trainer Clare Haag, who has been with Brush Creek for the past eight years, leads the lessons. Haag said she first found interest in riding at a cousin’s ranch in North Dakota, where she is from. After riding, she said she knew she wanted to be involved with horses but wasn’t sure how exactly.

“My cousins have a ranch up in North Dakota, in Dickenson. So ever since I was little, I would go up there and, you know, I’d get on a horse and ride around for a day or two,” Haag said. “I’ve been doing that since I was eight or something. I’ve always been interested in horses. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do, but I was like, ‘I need to do something with horses.'”

(Claiborn Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)
Clare Haag. (Claiborn Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)

Haag is also the president of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association riding team, which is made up of students grades 4-12 who ride hunt seat, western and dressage. The team not only rides but also learns about ranch management, and does not need a horse themselves to take part in the team.

“I train, coach individuals, horses, club team, high school kids and a bit of ranch management from staff, chores and general upkeep,” Haag said.

Joe Ammann, professional horseman at the Brush Creek Ranch, grew up farming and ranching in South Dakota. With him, he carries 100 years of Ammann family traditions at Brush Creek. As well as being a professional horseman, Ammann is an NCHA 4A judge.

“I’ve judged in Fort Worth and Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; California, lots of places in Mississippi and Alabama,” Ammann said. “I have probably been to 25 states with judging.”

(Claiborn Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)
Joe Ammann with horses. (Claiborn Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)

Additionally, Ammann competed for many years, which provided experience and connections in the industry.

“I competed from 1986 or 1987 till — well, I still do periodically — but the last time I really had horses that were really competitive was a couple of years ago, like 2019,” Ammann said. “After I got started in the sport, I got to meet those people [competitors he watched before competing himself] and remembered them. … It was so cool to get to know them as life went on.”

Another amenity that Brush Creek offers is indoor and outdoor horse boarding. The horses have access to an on-site veterinarian, heated water, jumping arenas, indoor and outdoor arenas.

“Yes, I have high standards because I take care of livestock for people, and I don’t take that lightly,” Ubel said. We have veterinarians set to be boarded here for six years.”

The ranch also provides living through apartments, perfect for people wanting a taste of rural country living. If you have a horse, you have the opportunity to live above it in one of their treehouse suite lofts.

“We have 13 executive rooms available,” Ubel said. “We have private rooms with baths available in the house and off this main lodge. You have a place to live in the country that is gated, that is an executive living lifestyle.”

(Claiborn Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)
Horse boarding and apartments at Brush Creek Ranch (Claiborn Schmidt | Collegian Media Group)

The ranch is beautifully nestled in the Flint Hills, surrounded by scenery for acres. If you’re looking for a place to learn how to ride a horse, board your horse or for a rural place to live, Brush Creek just might be right for you.

“God’s creation is beautiful, and it’s just a great way of life, and it’s loose and free,” Ammann said. “When I ride a horse up the hill, you can look over it and it’s like the most beautiful sight there is.”