Category: Dude Ranch FAQ's

5 Horseback Riding Tips for Trail Riders (All Levels!)

 
5 Horseback Riding Tips for Trail Riders (All Levels!) is a simple guide to follow for enjoyable trail riding, no matter what your skill level is. If you’ve never been on a horse before or if you’ve only mounted up for a few short rides, exploring the Black Range Mountains of New Mexico on horseback can seem equal parts idyllic and daunting. After all, you are entrusting your safety to an animal with a mind of its own.  What you need are some useful horseback riding tips. Therefore, we present to you 5 Horseback Riding Tips for Trail Riders.If you take the time to understand a few of the basic principles of horsemanship, you will be better equipped to successfully and confidently partner your horse – and fully enjoy your ride.  Follow these five horseback riding tips to make the most of your trail rides. 5 Horseback Riding Tips for Trail... Read More

6 Things to Know Before Booking a Dude Ranch Stay

 
A common misconception when it comes to a dude ranch vacation is that it is a working vacation, as in you are paying to work as a ranch hand. Not so, my friends. In fact, a dude ranch vacation is one of the most relaxing vacations you can take. Take it from me and my family -- who now have experienced three dude ranch vacations -- and look forward to our next!  Your dude ranch stay will move at a pace that best suits the guest, and in this fast-paced world, it is  a gift to be able to take advantage of such a schedule.   You won’t be roughing it….unless you really want to.     Take a look at one of the cabin’s at Rawah Guest Ranch Photo Credit: Allison Taylor   With three dude ranch vacations under our belts, I can safely say that my family’s experiences were the farthest thing from being... Read More

Riding Lessons Before My Ranch Stay?

 
The Dude Ranchers' Association often receives inquiries about riding lessons before going on a dude ranch vacation. Recently, Philip W asked, "Should I attend a Western riding school here in England before? Or, would it be better to wait till I am at the ranch in case the teaching here is not as good as (or would conflict with) that which I would receive on the ranch?" In short, I responded "I think it would be a great idea to take riding lessons before you go." The long explanation below has a little more information. English and Western riding styles vary but the essential muscles used are the same. Taking lessons from a quality location will teach you about basic interactions with horses and help get you in shape for a weeks worth of riding. However, please understand that horse training and styles of riding can be related to intense perspectives. The... Read More

7 Things You May Not Know About Dude Ranches

 
What comes to mind when you think of dude ranches? Putting on cowboy boots and saddling up your steed for a trail ride? You’re halfway there. Now picture this: indulging in a luxurious spa treatment and eating a gourmet cuisine after an action-packed day of whitewater rafting and archery. While dude ranches (also known as guest ranches) are known for providing guests with authentic, one-of-a-kind Western adventures, many have also expanded their offerings to cater to a diverse crowd of travelers – from families to couples to singles – with activities, attractions and services that extend far beyond the trail. Read on for seven surprising things you may not know about a ranch vacation.   Surprising Things You May Not Know About Dude Ranches   Dude Ranches Span The Country Accredited DRA ranches are located in numerous states from Montana and Wyoming down to New Mexico and Arkansas. Many are located in some of the most... Read More

What About Dude Ranch Horses?

 
Horses are the magnificent, noble center piece of which dude ranching is built around. Horses have been carrying riders for centuries and provide the most in depth way to experience and explore the historical American West. Members of the Dude Ranchers' Association offer the best and most reliable horses you and your family could want. Please take a look at the following ways to enjoy different horseback riding programs. There are many ways to find your perfect horses: From the way the horses are raised, riders experience levels and to the locations or types of riding you want to do. Be specific and select the ranch that matches you and your family's dude ranch vacation dreams. There is perfectly fitting ranch for everyone. Ranch Raised Horses Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Standpoint, Idaho is very proud of their four-legged working partners. They maintain a herd of about 40 registered Quarterhorses, Appaloosas, and Paints... Read More

9 FAQs of Dude Ranching

 
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of Dude Ranching 1. Why choose a Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) ranch? With more than 100 DRA  accredited ranches, the perfect ranch experience is out there for you. The DRA’s expert staff helps travelers and travel agents customize the experience, guiding visitors to the perfect ranch to suit their needs and desires. The DRA requires its members to uphold the highest quality and standards within the dude ranching industry. Membership into the DRA is obtained only after a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process. 2. What are some of the typical activities for those visiting a dude ranch? While most people usually associate dude ranches with cowboys and cattle drives, they are so much more. Dude ranches are the original all-inclusive vacation, committed to preserving and sharing the Western way of life. Guests are able to customize their ranch experience to plan their ideal vacation. From... Read More

10 Surprising Dude Ranch Activities

 
Does “dude ranch” conjure images of office workers doffing their Dockers in favor of denim? Do you envision time in the saddle, or sleeping under the stars, and think it might be fun for a day or two … but you’re not sure about an entire vacation? There’s good news for travelers who would like a taste of the dude ranch experience blended with a heaping serving of other vacation-type activities. Today’s dude ranches cater to a diverse crowd – from families to couples to singles – with activities, attractions and services that travel far beyond the trail. “While dude ranches still provide that one-of-a-kind ‘cowboy-style’ vacation you can’t find anywhere else, many have also expanded their offerings to appeal to the diverse and discriminating tastes of today’s traveler. So if you’re considering a dude ranch vacation and would like to spend time out of the saddle, consider these 10... Read More

4 Types of Dude Ranch Vacations

 
Whether you’re a staunch horseman who loves being in the saddle, or a rider that prefers activities to choose from in addition to riding, one of the members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association will fit the bill. All of the member ranches uphold the highest standards in the industry and are committed to preserving the Western way of life. The below sampling of ranches is sure to appeal to a variety of travelers: Working Ranches Located at the base of Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains, Klondike Ranch can accommodate six to 10 guests at a time. Guests are encouraged to work cattle with the ranch hands. Other activities include camping, fishing and hiking.       Traditional Ranches In addition to the riding program, guests of all ages at C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado can enjoy fly fishing, trap shooting, a ropes course, and an outdoor heated pool and hot tub. At... Read More

A Dude Ranch Vacation is a Lot More Fun Than You Might Believe

 
Chicago Parent By Andrea Guthmann Monday, June 10, 2013 This isn't my first rodeo. Well, actually it is. Maybe that's why I'm having so much fun living out my cowgirl fantasy on our family's dude ranch vacation! Prime rib, Caesar salad, shrimp and a dessert table? Whatever happened to franks-n-beans? Apparently, they're long gone, like much of what I expected to find at a dude ranch. Thankfully, some of the iconic images are still here. There's a lot of horseback riding, as well as an occasional old-fashioned chuckwagon cookout, complete with a country-western crooner and cowboy doing incredible rope tricks. But you'll also get to indulge in spa treatments, a luxurious pool, wine tastings and cooking lessons.  (read more)... Read More

Dude Ranches are Nothing Like Reality TV

 
For a truly memorable vacation, nothing beats a Western cattle drive. Straight from the big screen, these working cattle drives, offered through various accredited members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, transform a movie moment into a real-life vacation experience unlike any other. Please do not confuse the “Big Screen” with “Reality TV” as it is my opinion that a recent reality TV show inaccurately portrayed what vacationing at a DRA “working ranch” is all about.  All DRA working ranches are about YOU, the guest, having the time of your life while learning skills that cowboys use to be successful ranchers.  The wranglers that work on these ranches are some of the most knowledgeable folks in this field.  Having been in the business for over 11 years, I know firsthand that “Western Hospitality” comes first and foremost on any DRA-accredited ranch, and as such I can assure you there will be no... Read More

High Lonesome Ranch Review - A Colorado Dude Ranch that is the West at its Best

 
Splash Magazine published a great review of The High Lonesome Ranch so I wanted to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy it! By Andrea Gross; photos by Irv Green With well over thirty dude ranches in Colorado, you wouldn’t think that there was a need for another one. But in May of 2012, High Lonesome Ranch, a luxury getaway for fly fishermen and big game hunters, began welcoming wannabe cowboys as well. The property, which is situated on the west slope of the Rockies, consists of 300 square miles of leased and permitted land. As such it is bigger than 25 of the nations 58 national parks. Paul Vahidiek Jr., a Houston attorney who began buying some of the property in 1994, is determined that this land—a mix of high mesas covered with sparse vegetation and deep valleys filled with greenery—be preserved and protected from rampant development. Opening the... Read More

Hosting Guests Helps Ranchers Endure Lean Times

 
Fount this article at Capital Press and thought you might enjoy it! By JOHN O'CONNELL Capital Press When cattle and sheep prices dipped eight years ago, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, rancher Ken Andrus and his family supplemented their income by opening their home to visitors. The customers still come from throughout the world to ride horses and experience the open space and cowboy life at the Andrus Guest Ranch. Andrus, the Republican chair of Idaho's House Agricultural Affairs Committee, enjoys the stable revenue the side business generates and the opportunity to employ his children on the ranch, which he runs with his brother. They raise 350 head of cattle and another 350 head of registered Suffolk sheep. They also offer two-hour trail rides for $50 each, a bed and breakfast for $100 per person and a six-day guest ranch experience for $800 per adult, with reduced rates for children. "Compared to the... Read More

What Should I Pack for Summer Dude Ranch Vacation?

 
Choosing what to pack for your dude ranch vacation can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it is your first time visiting one of these great ranches.  Most ranches are very laid back and casual attire is the name of the game.  Occasionally you will find a ranch that has a dress code for the dining room, so make sure you look into this as you pack. Whether you are going to Arizona in January or Montana in July, jeans and comfortable shirts are absolute essentials on a ranch.  Temperatures can vary, so make sure you bring a variety of layers to stay comfortable.  Sunscreen is always a must and it is also a good idea to bring a hat.  Most ranches will have a gift shop with those little items you forget and many ranches also have guest laundry facilities. Following is a list of suggestions to include in... Read More

To Stand or Not to Stand?

 
By John Fisher of The Home Ranch, Granby, CO Let’s not beat around the bush.  Why do you stand up in the saddle when your horse is urinating?  Although this question may sound humorous, what is probably more humorous is that I have developed an obsession with this question I operate a guest ranch in Colorado, so already my sanity comes into question. It all started about 10 years ago.  We had a new wrangler in from Virginia.  This woman had an incredible resume with numerous credentials in the horse industry.  She was giving instruction to a group when one of the horses started urinating.  “Stand up! Stand up!” she cried.  The befuddled guest remained motionless.  “Stand up in the stirrups when your horse is urinating!” she demanded.  The poor guest hadn’t noticed that the horse had changed positions and was now urinating.  Myself, having never heard of such a... Read More

Saddle up! - Group Adventure Travel

 
March 28, 2012 Looking for a unique, authentic way to enjoy the best of Arizona? Consider a visit to a dude ranch. At one of the nine ranches affiliated with Arizona Dude Ranch Association, it is possible to savor the real western lifestyle, where the world moves at a more relaxed pace and where horseback riding is an everyday treat. A girlfriends getaway, an intergenerational adventure or any other group outing can be enjoyed. The ranches are as diverse as the state, “ranging from the more traditional smaller, remote ranches, where horseback riding and ranching are the primary focus, to our larger resort-style guest ranches, with all the amenities,” said Lacy Gambee, a spokesperson for the association. Circle Z Ranch  Circle Z, located 60 miles southeast of Tucson, is a guest ranch operated continuously since 1926. Here, guests ride ranch-bred horses through the foothills of the historic Santa Rita Mountains. As... Read More

How to Select the Perfect Ranch for Your Dude Ranch Vacation

 
Now is the time to start planning your next Dude Ranch Vacation!  We thought it might be helpful to provide some information on how to find the perfect ranch for you.  Everyone has different ideas and visions on what that ideal ranch vacation should be like, so here are some suggestions to help you weed your way through all of the options.  While you are on your quest for that ultimate ranch experience, don't hesitate to call us here at the office for help!  We would love to talk to you!  You can reach us at 1-866-399-2339 or 1-307-587-2339. How do you choose the ranch to match your dreams? Riding should be your first consideration - choose the riding environment that appeals to you; open meadows, prairies, mountain trails or southwestern desert. The location of the ranch determines the terrain. Then, choose the type of riding you'd like; working livestock, cattle... Read More

How To Have the Best Horseback Riding Vacations

 
I thought this was a great post from Colorado Trails Ranch...so I am posting it for all of you to read.  Enjoy! 08.18.2011 Colorado Trails Digest Did you know that you and your horse are supposed to work as a team? That’s the secret to a truly enjoyable experience on any type of horseback riding vacations. Here at Colorado Trails guest ranch, we understand that spending a week in the saddle having a great time begins by matching each guest to the right mount. A mismatched team is always a problem. This is true of married couples, poorly chosen sports teams, business partners and the list of bad matches goes on and on. The same is true of horse and rider. Having spent many decades in the dude ranch business, we long ago discovered that our horses know what type of personality is on their back and will act accordingly.... Read More

Meet Your Host - Colleen Hodson of the Dude Ranchers’ Association

 
Meet Colleen Hodson, Executive Director of the Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA), located in Cody, Wyoming. It is her job to ensure that the more than 100 ranch members of the association provide the most complete and memorable experience possible to guests. From Arkansas to California and all the way through British Columbia, Colleen has traveled to evaluate each ranch, ensuring that guests receive the type of experience they seek. Equitrekking: You have visited a lot of ranches in your career with the Dude Ranchers’ Association. What’s been your favorite part of the experience and has it made you a better rider? Colleen Hodson: I have visited over 110 ranches and being able to see the amazing places these ranches’ are located in is probably the best thing about my job. That being said, the ranchers, ranch managers and the entire staff at every DRA dude ranch goes way above and beyond to make sure... Read More

Where will I Stay, What will I Eat and What will I do at a Dude Ranch?

 
  A Dude Ranch Vacation is all about YOU the guest. All member ranches of The Dude Ranchers’ Association are committed to making sure you have the vacation of a life time. With our warm western hospitality, our outstanding horses, great food, accommodations and our spectacular locations, we guarantee a vacation you and your loved ones will not soon forget.. Come experience the Original Western Vacation at its Best.   Where will I Stay? Imagine yourself sitting in a big overstuffed chair with your favorite book by a crackling fire. Now, imagine glancing out the big picture window to a view that simply takes your breath away. No noisy streets, no high-rise buildings, just you, your book and that spectacular view. Dude Ranch accommodations will vary from ranch to ranch from luxurious to elegant rustic to Cowboy Chic. Whether you are staying in your own private cabin or in a lodge room,... Read More

Horse Vacations

 
Written by Jennifer Walker | 02 May 2011 Posted in Articles  Dude Ranches/Guest Ranches Dude ranches, also known as guest ranches, are the classic vacation idea to get the complete western experience. They are generally all-inclusive, with accommodations on-site in cabins or quaint inns and food served in the ranch’s dining room or by the campfire. Dude ranch vacations are usually free-form rather than structured, allowing guests to participate in whichever activities they like. Choices vary from ranch to ranch, but horseback riding is universal. Guided or independent trail rides can last anywhere from a couple of hours to all day. Another requisite dude ranch activity is a campfire or cookout. Guests are transported back to the old west, when cowboys sat around the campfire singing songs. Guests will gather around for a delicious cook-out meal and sing songs together—a great social activity. Some other common dude ranch activities include... Read More

Western Wear – What to Wear to a Dude Ranch

 
After you decide to book a western vacation to a Dude Ranch, you now need Western wear, cowboy boots and western apparel for your trip. I really enjoyed Jamie Pearson’s article where she mentions to bring more clothes and she wished she had brought cuter clothes. I have just the thing! Western Clothing and apparel has to be durable and comfortable and I have picked some items for Men, Women and Children that combine Western fashion and function for your dude ranch getaway. Cowboy hats, Western wear, Cowboy Boots & Western Accessories are some things you want to stock up on. Look great while on your western Dude Ranch vacation! Make sure you have the “cute clothes” Jamie refers to. I’m going to let you know what’s hot in western wear plus durable enough to withstand a day in the saddle. Let’s start at the top: Cowboy Hats - Although most... Read More

Dude Ranch Vacations Five things to know before you go

 
April 4th, 2011 | by Jamie Pearson 1. Find the right ranch I know you wish the ranch fairy would fly down and just tell you which ranch is perfect for your family.  I wished that too, but it didn’t happen.  So I made a list of all the things we wanted (not too many guests at a time, a high staff to guest ratio, riding clinics at no extra cost, luxury accommodations, and river rafting), and then researched until I was cross eyed. After talking to some horsey friends and Googling myself silly, I chose Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.   If you don’t know a working ranch from a guest ranch and have no idea what you’re looking for in terms of amenities, I highly recommend you start with The Dude Rancher’s Association website. Knowing your family helps.  If you have shy kids, don’t choose a ranch with... Read More

What To Consider When Taking a Dude Ranch Vacation

 
Since every ranch is a direct reflection of the family operating it, there are no two dude ranches alike. For our first time guests, we've created a list of basic questions. We encourage you to visit the ranch web sites and The Dude Ranchers' Association web site  For guest comments, try looking the ranch up on tripadvisor.com or a similar web site. Call or e-mail the ranches that you are interested in and ask them to help you. If they don't offer everything you're looking for, they will recommend a ranch that does. Association dude ranches work together in a spirit of cooperation to insure that your next vacation is your best vacation, a ranch vacation! How do we get there? When making your reservations, discuss your travel plans with the ranch. They will gladly advise you. Most guests travel by commercial airlines and have the ranch pick them up at... Read More
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