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Use the form on the right to contact us. 

3059 County Road 103
Carbondale, CO, 81623
United States


Cedar Ridge Ranch located in Roaring Fork Valley just outside of Aspen Coloradooffers;  horse boarding and training, Artist Spaces & Studios for Creatives, Entrepreneurs, and artists ranging from florists, ceramicists, photographers, film, screen printing . The ranch is a beautiful venue for Special Events and Weddings in the Rocky Mountains, Glamping Accommodations in Yurts and Safari Tents,  Organic farms and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  The Farm is also home to Large Black Heritage Breed Pigs and Merrill’s Family Farm which sells natural local pork raised on the farm and fresh eggs and Zebu Cattle. 


Training & Riding Lessons

Learn how to ride a horse with mountain views on a working Rocky Mountain Ranch. All experience levels welcome.

Horseback riding lessons


"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."

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Private & Group Lessons available

Lessons for all ages & Pony Rides 3 years +

  • $185.00/1 hr 45 minutes initial private lesson

  • $90.00/hr private- riding packages available
    $55.00/30 min for Wee Riders/Pony Rides (ages 3-7)

  • Group lessons begin once rider can canter bareback

    Inquire about Natural Horsemanship demonstrations and custom Sundowner trail ride Experiences

Natural Horsemanship Riding Lessons

What is Natural Horsemanship?

Natural horsemanship is a distinctly American method of horse training that emphasizes gentle handling and a relationship with our horses.

Through careful observation of America's wild horse herds and the interactions of mares and foals, trainers including Tom and Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, and Buck Brannaman developed methods that work fabulously.

Why Natural Horsemanship?

We believe a strong partnership built on trust and respect with your horse is the foundation to a safe, enjoyable, and memorable riding experience. Horses raised with natural methods are calmer around people and more at ease out on the trail.

Try it for yourself!

We provide Natural Horsemanship demonstrations followed by opportunities for our guests to do ground work with their horse. The foundation of Natural Horsemanship is built through ground work - the person works from the ground with the horse on a lead rope or free in a round pen. Ground work is lots of fun and sorely lacking from many equestrian educations. How often do you get time to love on a horse?


I have been looking for the right person to give my 11 year old daughter riding lessons for several years and finally found her in Merrill. Merrill’s approach is organic and empowering. She teaches so much more than just how to ride a horse. She teaches you about the horse, signs the horse gives you, energy of the horse and rider. She also pays attention to addressing the confidence of the rider. My daughter expressed that she learned more from Merrill in one session then she learned in a week of riding camp.
— Lauri Rubinstein 05/2019
Riding Lesson with Merrill Johnson
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We are so pleased with Merrill Johnson and Cedar Ridge Ranch! She is knowledgeable and kind and ensures that the my sons have fun while they are learning about horses, including safety, grooming, riding, etc. Hers is a comprehensive program where people can learn all about horses from the ground up in a safe, positive environment. Her horses are just the right combination of bombproof and responsive, perfect for brand-new riders or those wanting to hone their skills. In addition, Merrill is flexible and easy to work with in terms of scheduling. Cedar Ridge Ranch’s facilities, including a lovely indoor arena, are a dream. We feel lucky to have found Merrill and Cedar Ridge Ranch!
— Mary
I feel so incredibly lucky to have found Merrill and Cedar Ridge Ranch after moving to the Valley from Maryland. I tried a few barns in the area, but there’s really no one else who is more passionate or talented than Merrill. Merrill has a true gift in the way she works with and understands horses and how she helps each rider to build strong relationships with their horse. After riding English exclusively for the past 5 years, starting off riding bareback has been so refreshing and fun! I’ve never felt more centered and balanced while riding to the point that I’m now jumping bareback, which is something I never imagined doing. I also love that she is able to work with both English or Western riders. Although I plan to continue riding English primarily, I’m excited that I have the opportunity to learn to ride Western too. Most importantly though, Merrill’s joy and excitement when you learn something new or things click is absolutely infectious. She is always so positive and encouraging which has helped me become a much more confident rider, and I love that she is willing to challenge and push me to learn new things. I’m just so happy that I’ve found my barn home in the Valley.
— Liz Edwards
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Natural Horsemanship and riding bareback at Cedar Ridge Ranch with Merrill Johnson
I cried leading Merrill’s horse in slow circles as the sun climbed the dark mountains and broke through the arena window. I wish I could say that was the first time horses have opened up the flood gate, but this time was different: I was crying from feeling relief. My first lesson with Merrill Johnson at Cedar Ridge Ranch completely transformed my horsemanship experience and allowed it to include deep healing. Merrill is incredibly skillful at addressing challenges unique to each student and guiding her/him through a healthy and safe process of improvement. She has a holistic approach that includes physicality, an in-depth understanding of horse behavior, and emotional awareness. I am honored to be her student and I can’t recommend her enough for beginners and advanced riders alike.
— Kim Short

"I simply love seeing our little girl learning how to ride horses with Merrill Johnson, and of course Nick the palomino! Merrill is gentle, communicates clearly and keeps our four year olds attention the entire time she is working with Nick. I'm sure most parents would agree that is no small feat! Merrill not only teaches riding lessons but also horse safety and loving care. I highly recommend Merrill Johnson's horseback riding lessons to anyone who is considering giving the gift of loving and riding horses to their child."
- Cholla Nicoll mother of Violet Nicoll


"A year ago I didn’t know where I would land. My 10-year-old daughter and I are so glad we landed in Colorado. Since our arrival in July it has been a whirlwind of change and adaptation. Having left behind family, friends and most of our support system, it was a gift from the Universe to find Merrill and Cedar Ridge. We immediately felt accepted and surrounded by caring people who were interested in who we are and how to best meet my daughters needs in her horsemanship and riding skills. My daughter left behind a horse “best friend” and felt lost without him but in only a few rides began to bond with Nick and make a new horse buddy. Merrill’s animals are loving and willing to bond with their riders, of any age. Cedar Ridge is an open, loving and accepting place. A place set up to provide my girl room to grow within her skills and her self. We could not have asked for a better place to land." - Kelly & Maeve Doubleday

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