Horseback riding lessons and clinics are the quickest way to better your skills in riding, your safety and understanding of horses. The Dude Ranchers’ Association offers the best options for a vacation experience designed around your skills and abilities with horses. Are you a novice with very little experience? A seasoned horse person? There’s a dude or guest ranch with the most proficient of instructors ready to share their areas of expertise. Buck Brannaman, Pat Parelli and Chris Cox are a few of the styles of horsemanship taught at the ranches below. These teaching styles aren’t just big names, but with small class settings and personal attention, you’ll feel right at home and get the direct attention you deserve. A knowing eye can identify areas of improvement for every rider and most importantly, you’ll be spending time with the horse – the best instructor of them all. From Wyoming and Montana to British Columbia these are great locations to book a few day’s or a week’s worth of horseback riding lessons and or clinics.
McGinnis Meadows Ranch in Montana offers an immersive experience for those who are looking to study the Buck Brannaman style of horsemanship. Their head trainer Shayne has ridden in over 400 clinics with Buck over the last 20 years and is very knowledgeable, and most importantly a great teacher. Their entire program and staff consistently engages the thoughts and style of Buck, Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance. Each guest is challenged according to each situation and their own ability. From the beginner to the advanced rider, you will get exactly the instruction you would need in a small class environment.
McGinnis Meadows does the majority of their horsemanship clinics in a heated indoor arena during the winter time, from the fall until the weather turns in the spring. The fun and learning do not stop there. The ranch also runs a cow/calf operation and you’re invited to practice horsemanship in every situation at the ranch. And every horse here is gentle, patient and well trained in very advanced horsemanship movements. You are welcome to ride one of the ranch’s horses or bring your own horse.
McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch – Libby, MT
The Rocking Z Ranch in Montana invites guests to experience Parelli Natural horsemanship put to a purpose. From the first introduction to horses to the highly experienced rider, each person will have the opportunity to expand their skills at the ranch. You can work cattle, ride long trails or play at liberty in a round pen. You can have your own private and/or semi-private horsemanship lesson with no extra charge. The Wirth family shares their very own special lifestyle and incredible herd of horses to meet every rider’s goals.
By hosting small groups of guests, the ranch can cater to each family’s needs individually. Horse-crazy teens and the excited novice will have fun here. There are also fun activities to do in the evenings, such as playing pool or soaking in the hot tub. With spacious en-suite rooms with fireplaces and super comfortable beds, you and your family can have a blast at the Rocking Z anytime of the year.
Rocking Z Ranch – Wolf Creek, MT
The Triangle C Ranch in Wyoming is home to Chris Cox, a well known horseman and clinician from Australia. With a practical and straightforward approach him and his staff invite guests to study a style of horsemanship with horses that gets proven results. You can learn from the group lessons and also receive personal instruction with Chris to gain an understanding of how the horse thinks and why. Communication is key and you will get to learn about the best tools to accomplish whatever you desire with horses.
The Triangle C Ranch is only an hour from Jackson Hole and surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain views in the world. You’ll stay in some beautifully designed cabins with western furnishings and all the accommodations needed for that perfect cowboy vacation. The ranch offers 3- and 6-day clinics and has horsemanship leadership youth camps – one for boys and one for girls.
Triangle C Ranch – Dubois, WY
Laramie River Ranch says that having a relationship of trust with your horse is key to a safe and enjoyable experience. Using natural horsemanship methods, you can have the vacation of a lifetime. You will be able to see this in action at the ranch with weekly demonstrations on how young horses are trained to be accustomed to humans, grooming and saddling. These sessions are followed by opportunities for you to do some ground work with your horse.
Jelm, Colorado is only a few miles from the Wyoming border and it is here that the Laramie River Ranch offers guests a glimpse of time standing still. Not much has changed over the last hundred years and your time at the ranch with your family will receive genuine western hospitality. You can fish, push cows between pastures, ride out into the open meadows or kick back on the porch with a glass of tea.
Laramie River Ranch – Jelm WY/CO
The Campbell Hills Guest Ranch has natural horsemanship packages suitable for the beginner and the advanced. The ranch owner, Bernadette, has a great passion and focus on building trust and harmony between the horse and rider. You’ll be in a group of 5 people at the most during your Horse Communication Course and work on energy use, rapport, connection and communication with the horse in an arena setting. When you ride here, you’ll leave the bit at the barn and get to know the ranch’s happy horses.
Located in the sunny interior of Canada in the heart of cattle country, mountains, forests and lakes the Campbell Hills Guest Ranch offers a relaxing experience. With rooms in the main lodge or your own intimate and rustic cabins you’ll be comfortable and given ample opportunity to relax. You’ll even be able to look out into the forest from your cabin!
Campbell Hills Guest Ranch – Kamloops, BC
The Red Rock Ranch offers Martin Black clinics for all types of riders. From top horse trainers in English and Western disciplines everyone who attends will make progress for a better connection with horses. Martin will help build confidence in the horse and rider and take you to the next level. Please join the Red Rock Ranch in August for this annual exciting and educational horsemanship/cattle working clinic.
For over 40 years the Red Rock Ranch has been owned and operated by the same family and you’ll find a traditional Wyoming dude ranch vacation with the charm of the old west where your family can come for a change of pace. The ranch is located just outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and only a short distance from Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. This ranch is known for an outstanding and engaging kids program and exceptional ranch cuisine.
The Red Rock Ranch – Jackson Hole, Wyoming