There are establishments all over the globe offering genuine Western Riding and Ranch experiences. From Latin American Gauchos in the traditional Estancias and Fazendas of Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico to the classic cowboy ranches of Canada and the USA. Western riding is becoming increasingly popular and is available in a number of less obvious destinations such as Italy, Hungary, France and Portugal. With such a diversity of options, the following pointers will help you find your perfect Ranch Holiday.
Choosing a Ranch Holiday
1) Riding – Are the quality of the horses important to you? Are you looking for a well-established family ranch that breeds its own stock or are you happy with a ranch that hires in horses seasonally? Are you looking for a holiday with fast paced riding, working livestock, daily trail riding, tuition, cattle drives, pack trips, team penning or arena games? Ranches fall into one of the following categories:
Working Ranches - These are working cattle or sheep units. Your riding adventures will be determined solely by seasonal work related to the ranch livestock. Be prepared to experience these activities first hand as part of a team, from moving livestock, checking fencing, routine health management and general farm duties. These holidays are ideal if you are looking for the true “Cowboy” experience, especially for those confident in the saddle. Accommodation and facilities are often rustic but realistic.
Dude Ranches – Horse riding is the predominant feature at these ranches. You’ll experience a variety of Western riding and outdoor activities. These are ideal for family holidays, where tuition and guidance is available for all ages and abilities. Some Dude ranches offer the fantastic opportunity to take a horse pack trip into the wilderness for an overnight camping adventure.
Ranch Resorts – Whist Western riding will always be available at ranch resorts, guests will also have access to an array of other diverse leisure and sporting activities. These tend to be larger ranches, with a range of accommodation from family suites and bunk houses, to luxury cabins. They may have additional onsite spa facilities, such as swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, massages and beauty treatments. These ranches are again ideal for family groups, especially where some guests are non-riding.
2) Location - The location of the ranch determines the terrain; consider the riding environment that appeals to you, when choosing a ranch holiday. Do you long to venture on horseback over fragrant meadows, lope amongst the cacti in arid desert, trek into vast prairies or traverse snow-capped mountain trails?
3) Dates - Your final consideration should be the time of year you choose to holiday. Popular Ranches tend to be booked up well in advance, so plan ahead. Typically if you are looking at a US based holiday, the ranches in the northern states (and cooler climates) are busiest in the summer months, while the southern ranches offer warm weather riding in the winter months.
If you would like any further information on Western Ranch Holidays, please contact us.