The Gentle Giant

by Big Cedar Lodge 30. July 2013 09:29

Meet Willy, our newest Horse of the Month!

He is a Belgian Draft horse which are known for their sensitive, kind natures. As our “go-to” carriage horse, this handsome fellow stands 17.1 hands high (that’s 5ft 7inches at his shoulder!).
A true gentle giant, Willy’s favorite things in life include rolling in the mud, getting fussed over by our female wranglers, and getting his breakfast (and lunch… and dinner… and snacks…).
Willy is truly worth his weight in gold and is as sweet, genuine, and willing as they come.
Next time you’re in town, stop in to say “hello” to this good-looking guy or book a ride around the property and let him show you the beauty of Big Cedar Lodge and the Ozarks.


And he's a model too! Perhaps you recognize this iconic Big Cedar photo? Well, that's our pal, Willy! 


Through the Eyes of an Intern

by Big Cedar Lodge 18. July 2013 15:00

I began working at Big Cedar Lodge in February as a culinary intern here from Le Cordon Bleu in St. Louis. During my internship I was able to experience several different parts of the culinary industry, all while being on a single resort property. My experiences included working at the Worman House, helping at the Celebration of Tastes food and wine festival, helping open Arnie’s Barn, working in Production, helping some in Banquets, and working in the resort Bakery.
 My internship was completed in the middle of June, but I was offered a position and decided to stay here at Big Cedar. Currently I am continuing to work in the resort Bakery and am building on my Patisserie and Baking skills. I can’t even begin to describe all of things that I have learned while being here for the past several months. Every day is different from the last, and I look forward to coming to work every day and seeing what the day will hold. One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about Big Cedar is how every associate is always willing to help someone else out, everyone here is so kind!





The Life of a Wrangler

by Big Cedar Lodge 11. July 2013 14:09

Meet Katie, a Big Cedar and Dogwood Canyon wrangler. She'll take you through some of the ins and outs of working the stables at these two properties.

Well, I am privileged to have the task of giving you all a glimpse into the life of a wrangler at Dogwood Canyon and Big Cedar Lodge stables. How exciting, right?!

Our days can be long, starting around 5:30am and not ending until close to 9:00pm. We do all aspects of care for our geldings (and one little mare): feeding, grooming, maintaining, caring, riding, and driving our herd of between 60-70 head of horses. On some days, we are catching, grooming, and saddling 30 horses for trail rides, cattle drives, and advanced rides at Dogwood Canyon, then high-tailing it to Big Cedar to ready our horses for the wagons and carriages that evening – that’s a busy day! It’s a pretty common occurrence to have a trail ride in the morning and then a wagon ride in the evening with your same wrangler.

We have a big job, and it’s not one for those who are afraid of hard work. However, I guarantee that if you ask any one of my teammates if they enjoy their job, the answer is going to be a resounding “yes.” We have a running theme that when someone asks us how we are, we reply, “Livin’ the dream!” Though said in jest, there is such truth in that phrase. To me, it really is a dream to wake up in the morning (though horribly early!) and not dread where I have to go and what my day holds. I get to spend the long hours alongside my coworkers – friends, both human and equine – that I love, enjoy, and respect. Who wouldn’t want that? Sure, when the temperature hits 103* in the summer and 15* in the winter I’m thinking, “Why is it that I do this again?” But as soon as I see that light in a child’s eyes who has just discovered a life-long love of horses, I easily remember why I do what I do.

There’s a saying by Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” While our job is “work”, nothing could be more true. Yes, there will be days of exhaustion and tired, cranky horses, but at the end of a long day, just sitting at the barn listening to the horses happily munching on their hay reminds me of what a good life I have. I work for a company that allows me to do what I love and share that love with people from diverse, varied backgrounds. In my 7 years with Big Cedar and Dogwood Canyon, I’ve met people from Kansas City to Germany and Pensacola to Egypt. Every guest experience and interaction has taught me something new, something valuable, and I hope I have shared my love of Big Cedar, Dogwood Canyon, and the Ozarks with those people, as well.

Next time you’re in town, come by and visit with us at the stables. We’d love to see you and just visit with you about ourselves and our horses, or maybe take you for a ride through our beautiful Ozark hills. I guarantee that you’ll have a great experience riding with us and sharing in what we love. So come see us and keep on livin’ the dream!

- Katie


Happy Birthday, America!

by Big Cedar Lodge 3. July 2013 13:40

We thought this might be a good chance to reflect back on a previous 4th of July celebration at Big Cedar Lodge:


There is something fascinating about watching families spread out their blankets in preparation for a Fourth of July fireworks show.  Each step is done religiously.  As their parents and grandparents did for them; so they train the little ones.  In time, the ritual will be carried out by their children and their children’s children as well. 

The Rite begins with finding the ideal spot.  Fathers must put thought into how the fireworks will be viewed, and then mothers adjust the position according to safety.  One cannot be too close or too far; in other words, the spot must be perfect.

Next, the blanket is placed and properly squared.  Although just a piece of material, on this night it becomes theatre seating under bursting clouds of celebration.  It’s our country’s birthday, and everyone wants a front row seat.

Finally, everyone takes their position for the evening.  “Daddy, sit by me,” can be heard across the lawn, and “When is it going to start?” echoes again and again.  The anticipation is felt by young and old. 

Then it happens.  The first notes are played from the song engrained in every American heart, the song that silences every crowd, the song that symbolizes what it means to be American… The Star Spangled Banner. 

The sky erupts as color and sound collide.  Each rocket streams upward and envelops the sky in shimmering beauty.  One after another, each color is a little brighter and bolder than the one before.    

Big Cedar Lodge offered Bar-B-Q, pony rides, live music, and kid’s activities throughout the day on the Fourth; but guests came to see the fireworks.  The show is without a doubt, the best display in the area. 

Families travel from across the lake and across the country to find their “front row” blanket seat amongst the Ozark Mountains.  And as each exploding plume cast light on the faces below, the ritual is complete.  Big Cedar Lodge was the perfect spot!   

Happy Birthday, America.


Going to the Chapel?

by Big Cedar Lodge 28. June 2013 10:52


This week, Big Cedar Lodge would like to introduce JoAnna Stribling, Wedding Coordinator at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. JoAnna is not only wonderful helping couples plan their special day--she is also planning her own! This is what JoAnna had to say about her experiences as a Wedding Coordinator:

As the Wedding Coordinator at Dogwood Canyon I have been blessed to meet some very awesome people and share their special day with them. I am proud to call a lot of them friends, and keep in touch with them after their weddings, and to hear when they are expecting their first born and how their families are doing! It is exciting to watch each and every wedding because they are all very different, even if it is in the same intimate little chapel. I too will be getting married at Dogwood Canyon this September and can’t wait to walk down the aisle and say “ I Do” to my best friend, as I have seen over 80 other brides do in the last 2 years! It is touching to see the emotions and tears, and watch the parents give their children away and the joy that all weddings bring. Dogwood Canyon holds a very special place in my heart, and I would love to share Dogwood Canyon with you too! To find out more about Dogwood Canyon Weddings please contact me at


Thank you, JoAnna for all your hard work!  And we should also mention, JoAnna was our Associate of the Month for May.  Don't hesitate to contact her with any questions about your up-and-coming wedding.  She can help make your Dogwood Canyon wedding picture perfect!



Welcome Our June Horse of the Month, Amigo!

by Big Cedar Lodge 19. June 2013 15:46

Our June Horse of the Month is an Appaloosa horse named Amigo! Amigo came to us in April 2011 through Casey Trost, a wrangler at the stables. Before becoming a trail horse, Amigo was used for roping and other rodeo sports. Amigo not only goes on the hour trail rides at Dogwood Canyon, but is a great cattle drive horse as well as a fun horse for the advanced ride! Next time you come to Dogwood Canyon Stables, be sure to meet Amigo!!



Get Back in the Saddle at Dogwood Canyon

by Big Cedar Lodge 7. June 2013 09:05

Gather your crew and head out to Dogwood Canyon for a private one-of-a-kind horseback view of the majestic Ozark Mountains!  A wrangler will guide your group of up to 6 people on an unforgettable 2 hour trail ride.  Travel up to the tops of the ridges where you will take in some of the most breathtaking 360 degree views the Ozarks have to offer.  Then make your way down the winding valleys and across rolling pastures filled with buffalo and longhorn cattle.  An adventure like this can only be experienced from the back of a horse. Come join us!


Are You Ready to Spin?

by Big Cedar Lodge 22. May 2013 14:28

If you are interested in a high intensity, calorie burning, exciting new workout, then Big Cedar Lodge’s Spin Class is perfect for you!  Our Fitness Instructor, Denette, pumps up the music as riders pump the pedals for an energizing 45 minute class.

Denette begins the class with a simple explanation of the basics.  This includes hand positions on the handle bars and adjusting the tension for different inclines. Riders are then fitted to their bikes and away they go!

With her coaching, riders shift tensions for simulated flat surfaces, small inclines, and large inclines.  Riders sit and stand as the tension is released or tightened.  By the time class is complete, you'll know why Spinning can burn up to 500 calories per session; but don't worry, it's great for all fitness levels and each rider selects their own tension.  In other words, this is a personal workout and you set your own pace. But don’t forget your towel and water—you’ll need them!

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Horse of the Month: Skipper

by Big Cedar Lodge 17. May 2013 11:19


Our May Horse of the Month is Skipper, one of our oldest trail horses at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. He was born on June 6, 1986. He's a Quarter Horse, and his registered name is Lucky Skippernel! Skipper has taken countless adults and kids on trail rides at both Big Cedar Lodge and Dogwood Canyon. He is an all around horse and one of our favorites for sure. Next time you visit Dogwood Canyon, be sure to ask for Skipper!


April's Horse of the Month: Bandit

by Big Cedar Lodge 12. April 2013 15:28

Our April Horse of the Month is Bandit! Be sure to request him next time you go on a trail ride at Dogwood Canyon. He is a great horse that can do almost anything: trail rides, cattle drives, and advanced rides!  We are lucky enough to have a picture of Bandit when he just a young foal.  He's 17 years old now and still as handsome as he was back then!  He's always ready for a trail ride so come say hello.















Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar is tucked into the wooded hillsides of the Ozark Mountains just 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri on Table Rock Lake. This popular vacation paradise - complete with Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park - offers cozy accommodations, delicious dining options and first class service.

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