Posted on Friday, April 4, 2014 by Heather Dodd
Booking a ranch holiday abroad can be a challenge – especially if you want to try something a bit different or travel somewhere off the beaten track. Horsey holidays in particular can be tough to gauge at a distance. Do they offer the riding experience you are looking for? Can they cater for a family member who isn’t an experienced rider? Are they family friendly? Will you be given the opportunity to ride responsive horses, not weary ‘riding school’ types? Top50 Ranches can’t help with all your holiday bookings, but they can help you choose the right ranch holiday so you can focus on channelling your inner cowboy/cowgirl. All their ranches are regularly checked by an experienced member of the Top50 team to ensure standards remain high, so you’ll never get the sinking feeling when you arrive on your first day.
Here are Top50’s top 10 ranch picks for UK equestrian enthusiasts:
Latigo Ranch, Colorado, USA – Are you looking for a relaxing ranch holiday with a focus on improving your riding? Then Latigo Ranch is the destination for you. Offering a wide-range of equestrian experiences, from scenic overnight pack trips to ‘learn to ride’ courses, this ranch suits guests who appreciate horses and nature. In addition, they are known for their outstanding children’s programme and excellent hospitality – the number of staff almost equals the number of guests.
Alisal Ranch, California, USA – Alisal Ranch is a working cattle ranch, which offers guests a taste of the ‘old west’. You’ll have the opportunity to ride over 10,000 acres of privately owned land with experienced, entertaining wranglers. The ranch has a family slant (there is even a petting zoo!) and provides a wide range of package holidays, from mother-daughter trips to wine-tasting weekends.
Lone Mountain Guest Ranch, Montana, USA – Based in the mountains near Yellowstone Park, Lone Mountain Guest Ranch excels in a wide range of activities, including fly fishing and skiing. However, it’s the excellent children’s programmes that keep the families coming back each year. With kids’ rodeos, overnight backpacking, canoeing and confidence-building roping courses, it will be a trip your children will never forget.
Estancia Ranquilco, Neuquen, Argentina – Stay in the foothills of the Andes and experience unparreled remoteness. Estancia Ranquilco offers pack trips into the mountains where you can swim in hidden lakes and sleep under the stars, and luxury stays on the ranch itself – you can even combine the two! There are also exciting volunteer programme for interested guests, where you can help make the estancia sustainable.
Bar W Guest Ranch, Montana, USA – Want to build up your ranching skills? Bar W provides a relaxed mountain atmosphere where you can try roping cattle, barrels, sorting cattle or trail rides. Based only minutes from a resort town but nestled in the mountains, you have the best of both worlds. Other activities include wine tasting and local spa visits.
Tod Mountain Ranch, British Columbia, Canada – Tod Mountain Ranch puts the equestrian experience at the centre of your visit. This ranch is perfect for visitors who want to be involved in all aspects of riding and horse care. On arrival, you are matched with your perfect horse and he is yours for the duration of your stay. Expect scenic wilderness trail riding, where you might see black bear, coyote and cougar.
Rankin Ranch, California, USA – Six generations of Rankins have lived and worked on this 31,000-acre cattle ranch, so if authentic is top of your list then Rankin could be the ranch for you. Great for families, Rankin has a supervised children’s programme. Plus, don’t miss the ride out on the ‘Sunrise trail’ – the perfect way to start your day.
Free Rein, British Columbia, Canada – Free Rein is the ultimate in personalised ranch equestrian experiences in a secluded wilderness location. Riding is planned around guests, rather than on a pre-defined schedule, and caters for beginners up to advanced riders. Equestrian guests can also arrange lungeing and ground work sessions.
The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch, Wyoming, USA – If space is what you are looking for, The Hideout can give it to you. The ranch itself is 300,000 acres, but there is access to 650,000 acres on horseback! Elevations range from 4,200 to 13,100 feet, which gives visitors the opportunity to experience a diversity in landscape and scenery. A wide range of riding abilities are catered for and The Hideout limits riders to 25 per week to ensure everyone has a personalised experience.
Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch, Nebraska, USA – With up to six hours in the saddle each day, Rowse’s 1+1 is for guests who want the full, working ranch experience. All levels of rider are catered for and there are plenty of authentic cattle working opportunities, including cattle drives, roundups, team penning and roping.
To book or to find out more about any of these equestrian ranch experiences, visit www.Top50Ranches.com.
Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 by Heather Dodd
Did you know that Guest Ranches offer similar amenities and benefits to all-inclusive resorts and hotels? Whether your family is looking for a working dude ranch, luxury ranch, or spending the holidays at a Guest Ranch, there is likely a ranch that fits your needs. As the holiday season approaches, many families are looking for different and unique ways to spend time with their loved ones. Here are the top 8 reasons to take your family to a Guest Ranch this holiday season.
You know the price up front. Most Guest Ranches are all-inclusive so you know the price before your arrival. Typically holiday ranch packages include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day. Most ranches include holiday festivities such as tree trimming, a kid’s holiday program, sleigh rides, cookie decorating, visits from Santa, and caroling with crew and other guests. Knowing what is included in your package gives you peace of mind for your holiday budget.
It’s not always about the horses. When people think of a Guest Ranch, horses are often the first thing that comes to mind. Some ranches do offer trail riding during the winter; however, many Guest Ranches do not offer winter horseback riding. With that being said, there are so many other activities for everyone to enjoy. Some of the winter activities offered at ranches include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice skating, dog sledding, and nearby downhill skiing. There is always something for all ages and skill levels to enjoy.
Holiday Children’s Programs. There are many Guest Ranches that offer a children’s program during the holiday season. This gives kids the opportunity to meet other children from around the world, interact with counselors and learn new things about the ranch. Children will often take part in activities such as cookie decorating, visiting with Santa, reindeer tracking, sledding, building igloos, cross country skiing, learning about wildlife and so much more.
Family Time. We all know that family time can be limited in our everyday lives. Parents are working, children are in school, and grandparents live in different states. Holidays always seem to bring families together from all over the country and what better way to enjoy this Christmas then at a cozy, inviting Guest Ranch. This gives families a chance to reconnect with one another, spend time away from their busy lives, and appreciate each other’s company.
Connect with Nature. Whether you live in a metropolitan area of the northeast, in a warm, humid southern city, or live along the west coast, there is a Guest Ranch for you. Are you looking for beautiful majestic mountains, a white Christmas, and pristine snow-laden forests? Spending time away from your home town can be a great way to disconnect, and experience the natural world. Many guests do not spend much time in their cabins, but rather enjoy the fresh air and the wonderful offerings a Ranch provides.
Unplug from technology. So often in today’s world, technology is a way of life. Many guest ranches do not have television, phones or internet service (unless you really need it J). This gives families a chance to unplug from technology and enjoy spending the holiday season with their loved ones without distractions.
Meet other families. One great thing about traveling to a Guest Ranch is the opportunity to meet families from all over the world. Ranches will host guests from New York, California, Georgia, as well as England and Australia. Many guests coming from another part of the world want to experience the holiday season and meet other families from the United States. Learning about different cultures can be so rewarding and often times, families will make lifelong friends.
Great food. Who doesn’t love great food? Guest ranches are known for providing guests with wonderful, hearty food and the holiday season is no exception. Many Guest Ranches have a fabulous Christmas Eve Dinner, a huge holiday spread for Christmas Brunch, and another Christmas Dinner. Don’t worry! You will be able to burn off those delicious holiday calories with the many activities that Guest Ranches offer.
To find out more visit www.duderanch.org
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