Lloyd Kurtz, grandfather of Jimmy Kurtz, the current owner of Kurtz Corral, was a horse trader who made his first trade at age 14 with a band of traveling gypsies. He loved horses and never thought a few were enough.
The roots of Kurtz Corral go back 55 years to a small pony ring in Egg Harbor. Lloyd had acquired several ponies and decided they would make a nice attraction for summer tourists. In the mid-1960s, the operation was moved to the family farm on County T, and the stable continued to grow, with Lloyd and Jimmy raising and training most of the horses themselves. (Jimmy recalls that it was easier to saddle break them in the winter, as piles of snow were softer to fall on than packed earth!).
In 1972 Jimmy purchased the business from his grandfather and six years later bought his maternal great-grandfather’s birthplace at 5712 Howard Lane, off County I, the current location of Kurtz Corral. After major renovations, the herd was moved to the new location that has more than 500 acres available for trail rides, including meadows and a wooded area along County I.
The 46 horses at the corral include paints, Tennessee walkers, paso finos, quarter horses, mustangs, thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, Arabians, Belgian/quarter horse mixes, mustang/paint crosses, standard breds, palominos, Belgian/pony mixes, saddle breds and a few TBDs. The operation is known for its outstanding care of the horses and for carefully matching horses and riders.
In good weather, the horses spend nights in the surrounding meadows, coming in at 8 am when they hear music playing.
Mounts are available for all levels of riding experience, with a pony ring for very young riders. A short safety/care DVD in the registration area is required, as well as a get-acquainted ride with treats for the horses in the ready ring before heading to the trails.
Rides available include a 20-minute children’s arena ride, one-hour wooded walk and wooded walk/trot rides, a two-hour advanced-skill ride and a two-hour wine tour that includes a visit to Simon Creek Winery. A full-day understudy program offers participants an opportunity to learn horse body language, horse care and leadership skills.
Kurtz Corral ranks first on TripAdvisor among 10 outdoor activities in Door County. Riders in 2015 ranged from a 3 1/2-year-old girl from Amsterdam to an 87-year-old woman, both of whom did amazingly well on trail rides. A typical comment posted on Facebook by a happy rider: “Ya know, I’ve ridden horses all over the USA, and England too, and Kurtz’s still cannot be topped for authentic good riding, and most beautiful country! Miss it SO much!”
Kurtz Corral operates year round. From June to October, it is open from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, seven days a week, with trail times between 9 am and 3 pm. Reservations are requested for groups of six or more. Winter hours are 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Friday through Sunday, with trail times at 11 and 1 by reservation only. It is recommended that riders come early in the day for the best selection of horses. Upcoming special events are posted on Facebook and the Kurtz Corral website. For more information, call 920.743.6742 or email [email protected].