He found love and his life's calling on a ranch.
At Redlands, Michael Moon ’89 often could be found composing songs in a stairwell at Bekins Hall. Today, he and his wife, Dawn, share their original music around the campfire at Home Ranch, a 4,000-acre working guest ranch in Colorado’s Elk River Valley, located about 18 miles from Steamboat Springs.
The couple met more than 20 years ago while working at Home Ranch and discovered their shared passion for music.
“We sat together around the campfire and sang before we even dated,” says Michael. “Music has remained an important part of our relationship."
Over the years they’ve traveled and served together in Ecuador, through the Peace Corp, and at other ranches, including the Nature Conservancy’s Matador Ranch in Montana, the Quivira Coalition Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Chico Basin Ranch in Colorado. Along the way they had four kids: Aidan (19), Ruth (16), Cole (13) and Eli (11).
Now they’ve come full circle, back to Home Ranch.
Michael’s position as Home Ranch’s operations manager and land steward allows him to focus on things he is passionate about: effective environmental stewardship of ranch lands, pasture management and sharing with ranch guests his love of livestock, specifically horses.
“Ranching is head and hands, it takes both. We have to improve our ability to develop better sustainable and regenerative use of land,” he says, adding that Home Ranch offers a chance to talk with and show guests that working landscapes and working wildernesses can be managed well.
Throughout the years, Michael has cared for large properties where cattle ranged over 88,000 acres, as well as smaller properties such as Home Ranch where horses predominate. “The same principles apply regardless of the size of the property or animal. Livestock must be moving in a natural pattern of grazing that mimics wild herds. I love that aspect of my work. Caring for the land and caring for the horses.”