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dude ranch recommendations anyone?

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  • dude ranch recommendations anyone?

    A friend of mine had her first trip to the Western US (awesome) recently and wants to do a dude ranch trip. Anyone have any recommendations? Places that were not so good?

    Everyone is an experienced rider and we would want to do a trip with max riding time and small groups.


  • #2
    Vee Bar Ranch in Laramie, Wyoming - we went there and it is what made us get back into horses.

    Tell them Maureen from Canada Sent you.


    • #3
      check out the Box R ranch, you get plenty of time in the saddle.

      I've just booked for the 5th year in a row.

      Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.


      • #4
        they vary widely in terms of what they are geared for- any idea what you friend wants?
        The summer after college, I worked at Trail Creek Ranch in Wilson WY (right outside Jackson Hole). While it was a long time ago, the same folks run it now as did then so doubt it has changed much. It is not fancy schmancy (there are those that are and if that is what your friend wants, this ain't it) but the area is stunning(Grand Teton Park is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen), the ranch has all the basics you would need, the trail rides are great, there are lots of activities in the area and the majority of the guests told me it was the best vacation they had ever had.
        There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


        • #5
          The Spotted Horse Ranch in Jackson Hole, WY gets my vote.


          One of the best vacations I've ever had!! If I had been 20 years younger, I think I would have stayed and just sent for my horses.

          That was the first time I'd ever cried on the way to the airport, to go home.

          I told my SO if we get married, that's where I want to go for our honeymoon!

          Looks like just outside Jackson Hole, WY is pretty much everyone's vote regardless of what ranch each of us stayed.
          Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.


          • #6
            Years ago we went to the R Lazy S in Jackson Hole, WY and I remember it being very nice. I was a bit too young to appreciate it and I wish I could go back!


            • #7
              I've been to Bitterroot Ranch in Wyoming twice and loved it. It is geared strictly to riders, not a real "dude" ranch. FABULOUS riding and horses. http://www.bitterrootranch.com

              Guests divided by riding level in groups no larger than 6. You stay in individual cabins that are scattered all around and out of site of each other. Wonderful gourmet food cooked by the wranglers who come from all over the world to wrangle for the season. You'll get to jump if you want, sort cattle if you want, and enjoy some incredible scenery in the area where all the old Malboro Man commercials were filmed.
              Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


              • #8
                Another vote for Bitterroot - like Sonesta said, it is geared more towards experienced riders. They breed Arabs there, so you'll get a bit of a change from all the QHs at the over places. It is NOT cushy - if you are looking for spa-type treatment you won't get it there (although the food is absolutely fantastic and I'm a gourmet cook myself, so it takes a lot to impress me). Friday night you get to do some team sorting, and Saturday finishes off your week with an all day ride and a picnic.


                • #9

                  E Bar L in Missoula, Montana is the closest thing to Heaven I can imagine.
                  Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                  • #10
                    anybody know about Red Rock?

                    Slight spin off, but does anyone know anything about Red Rock Ranch? I've looked at their website, and spoken with someone on the phone, but would like to get some dirt. How do they treat their help? How do the horses look/feel? Is it disorganized, goofy, romanticized, etc...give me some dirt!
                    The Mighty Thoroughbred Clique
                    Freaky Farm Hermit Clique


                    • #11

                      I'm saving this thread under " favorites".

                      I almost went to the Bitterroot Ranch 2 years ago, for a Tteam clinic, but backed out, as with it's remote location, and leaving 4 small children and husband behind, I started worriying about all the "what if?'s".....

                      But esp. Jackson Hole might be doable. All 3 of those ranches look fantastic.
                      I would love to sneak away for a week.

                      Good luck and happy trails!
                      Last edited by kansasgal; Dec. 23, 2007, 01:33 AM.
                      What's the scoop?


                      • #12

                        A friend and I spent a week at the Rocking Z Guest Ranch in Montana about 5 years ago. Had a fantastic time, lots of riding and many opportunities to trot and gallop. Smaller capacity, family run ranch, only 6 guests the week we were there.

                        Good people, nice horses, great riding.

                        (I just visited their website tonight, it mentioned following the practices of a certain NH person, last name beginning with "P". Enough said...but I saw no evidence of that while I was there.)


                        • #13
                          Tanque Verde Ranch

                          The Tanque Verde Ranch was the site of my very best vacation ever. It was many years ago, but from the website http://www.tanqueverderanch.com/ it looks much the same.

                          There are plenty of riding, including overnight excursions into the desert, lots of other stuff to do for the non-horsey in the party, and the food was absolutely wonderful.

                          The ranch is located very near Tucson, AZ, so there are plenty of other places to visit, including the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum http://www.desertmuseum.org/about/ which is fascinating.

                          I'm going back some day, after I retire. And that's a promise.
                          If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                          Desmond Tutu


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kansasgal View Post
                            But Montana, esp. Jackson Hole might be doable. All 3 of those ranches look fantastic.
                            Jackson Hole is in WY
                            The link for the place I worked is http://www.jacksonholetrailcreekranch.com/
                            I have heard nothing but good things about Bitterroot (actually tried to get a job there before I ended up at Trail Creek but they were done hiring by the time I called).
                            There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                            • #15
                              This year we are going to Gaspe area of Canada (about 5 hours from Quebec) July 27 - Aug 2. Maximum of 6 riders. We have two openings if any of you want to go with us!


                              Not a dude ranch, but should be a great ride. Anyone done it?
                              Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


                              • #16
                                Years ago I went to the White Stallion Ranch in Tuscon, Arizona for my spring break/college graduation present and had a great time.

                                I've also been to Laughing Water Ranch in Montana and had a great time there. They even let my ride in my english saddle!

                                I went to both places 10+ years ago, but it looks like they are both still in business.
                                Crayola Posse - Pine Green
                                Whinnie Pine (June 4, 1977 - April 29, 2008)
                                Autumn Caper (April 27, 1989 - May 24, 2015)
                                Murphy (April 28, 1994 - May 5, 2017)


                                • #17
                                  Another vote for the Vee Bar in Laramie, WY.


                                  • #18
                                    I second White Stallion Ranch. My family's been going every April vacation for like 6 years now. It's right across from Tanque Verdee, actually.

                                    They have great horses, lots of different stuff to do. Their all-day ride is fantastic. And you can get in a maximum of five rides a day I think if you do everything.


                                    • #19
                                      I wish I could remember the name of the place I went so that I could tell you to avoid it like the plague. Nice little cabins in the woods, half decent horses. All the riding was up and down mountainsides so never much more than a walk in any directions and your legs hurt like hell after hours of downward riding. Granted it was lovely scenery.

                                      However, the worst bit was that on the last day the guy leading the ride decided to cross a raging torrent of a river (I am not exaggerating). Everything went nuts, people came off their horses and kids ended up having to be rescued out of the river. To this day I cannot get the image of one horse, owned by a young female wrangler working there for the summer, rolling over and over down the river, screaming. I have never heard a horse scream before or since and I never want to. They found it about a mile down river, dead. It was heartbreaking. The girl had owned it since a weanling and had brought it up there with her for the summer. The s**t that owned the place acted like nothing had happened. I still wonder if any of the parents of kids sued his ass for endangering their kids, which he surely had.


                                      • #20
                                        63 Ranch


                                        63 Ranch in Livingston, Montana. My family of five went about two years ago and had a blast! The cabins are so cute, the owners are the nicest people, and the food is amazing. My brothers and dad don't ride but they still had fun, even though I don't think they'd ever admit it.
                                        The trails are awesome. They offer beginner and advance trails, and also have a full day group ride once a week I believe. I think (don't quote me on this one) they offer both a morning ride then an afternoon ride. The scenery is amazing and there is tons of wildlife- on one ride I watched a bear chase a moose, and another we rode past a bear watching us in the forest.
                                        They're very safety orientated, and made everyone go into the ring (a few at a time) before setting off on any trails to make sure you could go, stop, turn, and got along with your horse.

                                        Another plus, its not to far from Yellowstone National Park. We took a day off from riding (my brothers and dad couldn't take it anymore) and went to Yellowstone. The owners of the ranch even made us bagged lunches so we wouldn't have to buy any food!

                                        Its something I will never forget, and it still ranks number 1 in my book for vacations...even over our 2 week Hawaii trip this past summer.