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Couple start ranch as an equine educational destination

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 8:31 pm

Double Hearts Ranch opens out by Mark Twain Lake

By Stan Schwartz

When Tamitha and Tom Ague were still living in New London, Mo., on 5 acres, two  years ago, a horse became available. It was Christmastime, Tamitha recalled, and Tom had texted her a photo of Snickers, a 20-year old registered Rocky Mountain mare. Tamitha grew up with horses and this would be a good start to getting back into riding.

She realized their property in New London was not set up for horses. They deiced to board Snickers at the Double Eagle Ranch in Elsberry, which had at one time been home to the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales.

Tamitha said she didn’t realize the ranch belonged to one of the owners of the St. Louis Blues hockey team.

“We’re both big hockey fans,” she said or her and Tom.

One day while riding Snickers at the Double Eagle, Tamitha said, a man approached her and asked if she would like another horse—at no cost. Soon they added Blue, an 8-year old registered Paint mare to their family.

At the advice of their accountant, who outlined how much they were spending on boarding and transportation, they went in search of land where they could have their animals at home.

Eventually, they found 8 acres outside of Monroe City, just across the road from Jellystone Water Zone Park. It fit the bill. Good pasture for the horses, a machine shed with stalls and a pavilion at the center of four campsite hookups. They moved into the ranch in July of last year.

Once Snickers was let out in the pasture with Blue, Tamitha said, she started whinnying. It turned out the mare had once belonged to the woman who owned the property next door. Those horses came barreling across the field and plowed right through the Ague’s fence to see their old friend, Snickers.

“It was a heck of a way to meet the neighbors,” she said.

After having friends out to the ranch, Tamitha said, they thought the property had a lot of potential.

That’s when the idea of creating a learning ranch found a true home.

Out in Oklahoma, they rescued DeMan, a 14-year old Registered American Quarter Horse from a kill pen. While collecting DeMan, they spotted a donkey in another kill pen.

They added Ernie to their family, too.

Anyone coming onto the property is greeted by Grace, an Aussie Shepherd, who is also a rescue. Tamitha said they found Grace on the side of the road.

The name Double Hearts Ranch came from when she and Tom were first dating. He bought a  bamboo plant that had been shaped into two hearts. She still has the plant.

They continue making improvements to the property. A square arena is in the works and they have to clear the ground under their circular holding pen.

In addition to the four, full camping hookups, the front pasture can be used for tent camping. They offer camping kits, where the tent, air mattress and sleeping bags are provided. They will even set up the campsite for people who book ahead of time.

It’s perfect, she said, for the novice campers who want to see if camping is something they’d like to try without the major expense of buying all the equipment.

Campers also have access to free Wi-Fi, a barbecue grill, the pavilion, picnic tables and a full bathroom. The pavilion also doubles as a movie theater with surround sound. There is also access to a bonfire pit and yard games, such as cornhole, bocce, flying discs and badminton.

Although she does not offer trails rides at the moment, Tamitha said the ranch is close to the Mark Twain Lake horse trails. The park offers two riding trails. If travelers hauling horses want to stay Double Hearts Ranch instead of in the park, they are welcome.

She is planning to have events every month through the spring, summer and fall seasons. In fact, they are hosting Campfire Ministries along with Brush Arbor Church on Friday evenings starting this past weekend and running June 14 and 28, July 12 and 26, and Aug. 9 and 23.

Tamitha said they are going to have Cowgirl Getaway Weekends for mother-daughters or sisters or just friends who want to hang out. The following month they will host Cowboy Cookout Weekends, for some father-son time, a brother’s get-together or just buddies bonding time.

Tamitha is also working through the state to start Veteran Equine Therapy once a month.

She offers equine assisted learning, to promote the development of life skills for all ages.

To contact Tamitha and Tom to make reservations, they can be reached at 573-735-7258 or at Check out their website and Facebook page for more information.