Working Cattle Ranches Are Great For Young Adults

As your kids grow into adulthood (17 to early 20s) their individual interests begin to branch off into new and different directions.  As parents you long to plan trips that will fully engage them and create long-lasting memories.  But how?  How do parents get their burgeoning young adults to fully abandon their pocket technology and other distractions and simply hang out as a family…and love it? These questions popped up regularly in our house as my husband and I considered where to spend our family vacations.  Colorado Cattle Company Adult

We wondered if a dude ranch might hold some answers but, as a family of four from Ohio with mixed horse experience and knowledge, we had some reservations.  Our family: Brian (20), Emily (18), Bill, and Kristin. We were concerned that our 20-yr-old son, and complete non-horseman, would not enjoy it. We didn’t worry about our daughter (18); she is our resident equestrian, riding English since third grade. 

My husband grew up in rural Ohio with a “pet” horse but no formal training and no continued riding experience as an adult, while I had what I termed horse familiarity as a “barn mom” – but no actual riding experience. Well, after a number of years of cautious consideration we finally pulled the trigger and booked at Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch, owned and operated by Tom & Darcy Carr in New Raymer, CO.  Looking toward the main ranch gate–nothing but pastures, rolling hills, and bluffs for miles and miles and miles, in all directions. What can we share?  First and foremost, we shouldn’t have waited so long!  If you’re on the fence about booking a similar trip with your “emerging adult children,” Go For It!  And Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch would be an excellent option

... Read the rest of Kristin Shawd's experiences here.  Kristin is a wife, mother-of-two and soon-to-be-empty-nester who has just launched TuesdayPause.com - a travel blog with a go-often, go-local twist.

 

For more information about working cattle ranches throughout the west, look to these additional states to offer a similar experience to Kristin's. Wyoming

The Klondike Ranch is nestled in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains of north central Wyoming, and has been in their family since the 1920's. You are invited to take part in their way of life, and experience the thrill of a real Western ranch in the beautiful atmosphere of the Old West. You will  become a part of the family and they take great lengths to ensure you are comfortable, well fed, taken care of and get as much riding in as you can handle. At Klondike, they enjoy making your stay there as memorable and enjoyable as it should be.

Nebraska

Step back into the Old West and satisfy the cowboy in you as you come alongside the cowboys of the 1+1 Ranch. This 7,000 acre ranch, set in the beautiful sand hills of Nebraska is the perfect setting for your getaway & some of the most spectacular horseback riding ever. Get involved as much or as little as you want in daily ranch activities such as cattle drives, branding, working cattle, gathering & sorting, roping, checking cattle & windmills in the wide open pastures. Arena activities are also available as time allows - riding lessons, team penning, tracking & roping lessons. You will be matched up with one of the ranch raised quarter horses that you can call your own during your entire stay.

You can read more stories about cattle work on our blog and contact the Dude Ranchers' Association with any questions.

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What About Dude Ranch Horses?

Elkhorn 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 for their saddle horses. Two teams of Belgian, two teams of Percherons and one team of Shire-cross are used for their sleigh and wagon rides. Most of the horses are either born and raised on the ranch or born on one of the owners' brothers’ ranches. The horses are worked with and handled at an early age to begin adapting them to their future uses. As two-year olds, their official training begins, getting them used to the saddle and working them in the round pen. They then graduate to the arena. And then to some short trail rides. A training system called the “Basic Handle,” founded by Monte Forman and Pat Wyse is used. This system creates a safe, responsive, and sensible horse. As three- and four-year-olds, these horses are used as mounts for the trail guides. Then, as five-year-olds, they begin their career as mounts for our guests. They use both mares and geldings and rotate mares in and out as they produce more offspring for our future string. Click here for more information about Western Pleasure's individual horses.

Riding for All Levels - Experienced Riders to Can't-a-lopes

With relaxed instruction from our capable wranglers, you will soon feel safe and comfortable on horseback at Elkhorn Ranch in Montana. As the terrain permits, more experienced riders will lope their horses from time to time.  Wranglers are always happy to instruct any guest who needs a little extra help sharpening their riding skills. Grown-ups, fossils or can’t-a-lopes as they are affectionately known, will be offered a variety of horseback trips each day designed to suit their interest and ability. They will get them into the high country as the week and their confidence progress.  Rides are small, normally with less than eight guests in a group. Our youngest, the Peanuts, ride, play and eat together.  On the trail, they go for carefully supervised rides.  may include a river swim, a visit to an old cowboy fort or a trip to the Bear Caves.  Teenagers also band together, and invariably have spirited rides full of adventures that always seem to grow in the retelling.  Whether you choose short and relaxing or long and challenging, sharing a mountain trail seems to build friendships for guests of every age.  As you brush your horse down before heading back to your cabin, you will  smile at the prospect of returning to the barn tomorrow – well-fed, well-rested, and ready to enjoy another spectacular summer day on a high country trail in the Montana Rockies.

Mountain Trails and Arena Events

Paradise Ranch Horses

Paradise Guest Ranch's riding program is very flexible, and features a number of choices. They offer two hour rides as well as both half-day and full-day rides. Some day rides include lunches packed on mules & cooked along the trail. Horsemanship classes are available.  Hook up with one of our seasoned wranglers and spend a morning riding through the wildflower strewn mountain meadows in the surrounding Bighorn National Forest. You’ll ride trails through mountain scenery that will take your breath away. Or spend an afternoon in our private rodeo arena practicing team penning or barrels and poles. These are timed events and competitive with fun for all. Special team penning classes are available. And the week ends with a special kids' rodeo featuring the ranch's most kid friendly horses. Unescorted Explorations Eatons' Ranch offers our guests the unique opportunity to ride one of our 220 horses unescorted with the permission of the Ranch. This allows guests the remarkable freedom to fully explore this beautiful 7,000 acres of country. Guests can ride out from our Wyoming Dude Ranch twice a day Monday through Friday, choosing among morning, afternoon and evening rides. We also have all-day rides into the Bighorn National Forest as well as breakfast and dinner rides. Riding is a bit more limited on weekends; there are only morning and afternoon rides on Saturday, and on Sunday there is only a morning ride as the rest of the day is our horse holiday. Wranglers are always available to guide rides and offer instruction. Watch this video about Eatons' Ranch and their riding program.

Rowses 1 + 1 Cattle Drive Horses`

Work Cattle in True Cowboy Style When you stay at Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch, you’ll live a real ranching life, and experience the simple pleasures of our western American heritage. It’s a land where neighbors have lent a helping hand for generations. A place where the front door is always open and fresh coffee’s waiting.  Spring, Summer or Fall…Each season is different and special at the 1+1 Ranch. No matter the season you’ll get plenty of time in the saddle on the best of our ranch horses. Spring brings the excitement of calves and foals being born, working cattle, cattle drives, and brandings. Summer brings long pasture rides checking cattle, cattle drives, working cattle, cowboy socials, team roping, and team penning. October is fall Round-Up, which involves long cattle drives on horseback, team roping, and penning.


 

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