WHY A GUEST RANCH VACATION
How to Choose a Vacation Ranch
If you are interested in spending your vacation riding horses and experiencing the wild west, then vacationing at a ranch may be the answer. But with so many ranches out there, the task of selecting one can be confusing. Therefore, take the time to choose a vacation ranch that meets your desires, and in doing so, take the following steps into account.
Establish a vacation budget.Doing so will help you determine which vacation ranch you can afford. They are all different and offer a variety of activities, so determining what exactly you want to do while you are at the ranch will also help you with your choice.
Decide where in the country you would like to visit.The location of vacation ranches and their terrains vary significantly, so make sure that you take that into account when you select a ranch. You don't want to pick a ranch with terrain so rocky you cannot ride safely, especially if you have children or you are a novice rider. Your choices include mountainous areas versus the plains. The climate you prefer would also make a difference in your overall experience, for example, some people prefer a ranch experience in a desert location, whereas others prefer horseback riding on the beach. Where some ranches offer an assortment of diverse terrain with quiet trails and scenic views, others are limited to less luxurious trails. Additionally, where some ranches are in remote locations, others are close to civilization, highways and noise. You need to take all of these factors into consideration when selecting a vacation ranch that is right for you and your family.
Learn about the ranch owner, wranglers, and staff.If they are passionate about riding, show gentle compassion for their horses, and ride often; or if the ranch is family owned with those same attributes, they will likely offer a vacation program that is authentic, personable and consistent.
Find out if the horses reside at the ranch full time or if they are rented.The answer should be a determining factor when selecting vacation horse ranches. Resident horses are familiar with the location and the ranchers; in the same token, ranchers are familiar with the horses and their temperaments and capabilities. A rancher can better match you with a horse if he knows the horse, and he cannot know a rented horse, because it takes much more than 1 season to get to know a horse. Additionally, a ranch with a variety of horse breeds in residence can match you with the best horse for your riding level.
Inquire about rider/horse ratio on the ranch you are hoping to vacation at.Anything less than 2 horses per veteran rider will likely leave the horse exhausted before the season ends.
Select a vacation ranch with riding group sizes that meet your pace, especially if you have children.If you have a preference to trotting, check what the ranch allows before making a final decision. You don't want to be stuck at a facility that takes large groups out on the trail and doesn't allow more than a walk. You could also opt for a ranch that tries to enhance each person's riding experience by offering diverse riding groups. These groups are customized to meet the individual's needs, and riders are matched to horses by ability.
Evaluate the safety precautions at each ranch you look into.When calling ranches, ask the owner about how they match riders to horses and whether riders receive instruction on handling their horse. Ask too about the pace of rides and the experience and qualifications of ride leaders. Go further by quizzing ranch owners to summarize their safety policy; doing so will prompt you to ask further questions.
Choose a ranch for an authentic ranch experience.If you are looking for the real western experience, select a ranch with working cattle. Some ranches allow guests to partake in team penning or sorting, but doing so may depend on your riding abilities.
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