If you’ve ever wanted to be a cowboy or cowgirl? Want to experience a real western horseback adventure? Then a ranching holiday is for you. There are a range of different ranching experiences available, so it’s a good idea to do a bit of research to help you book the best ranching holidays.
Whether it’s cattle herding, visiting ghost towns, camping out under the vast skies, tracking and viewing local wildlife or a luxury ranching break – there’s a ranching holiday out there for you.
A ranching holiday is where you experience life on a working animal ranch. Ranching holidays come in a few different flavours, and understanding the different types on offer will help you to choose the one most suitable for you.
It may be a vacation, but on a working ranch you’ll be required to muck in. These are ranches where people earn livings and where you’ll be working with real animals. It’s the unpredictability that makes working ranch holiday so special.
You’ll learn a set of new skills – chief amongst them is how to ride. The horse is an essential part of any ranch and you’ll need to learn how to be comfortable on horseback.
You’ll also learn how to saddle and care for your horse, herd animals, stay safe in the wild, and countless other skills. It’s not exactly relaxing on a sun-kissed beach, but nobody ever learned life-changing skills sipping a pina colada.
Ranches that are adapted to cater for guests are often called dude ranches or guest ranches. There will still be an element of getting involved and helping out. But the experience will also be centred around your comfort and enjoyment.
You’ll learn lots of new skills and get to work on your riding, but the experience is not quite as rough and ready as you’ll find on a working ranch.
Taking the dude ranch experience one step further, there are also luxury ranch experiences available. Stay in high-end accommodation and simply enjoy the benefits of life on a ranch. There are even ranches that combine this experience with yoga, spa treatments and other relaxation options.
Almost like a cross between a dude and working ranch, family ranches specialise in giving the whole family an authentic ranch experience. Introduce the kids to alternative lifestyles and how to work with animals, all within the safe confines of the family ranch.
Family ranches even offer specialist services such as childcare, so that everyone gets to enjoy the vacation they’re looking for. And adults will love having the chance to have a bit of time to themselves while the kids are happy learning new skills.
We’ve taken a closer look at two example ranches to give you more of an idea of the kind of ranching breaks available.
Located in Walker’s Basin, deep in the heart of the enigmatic Tehachapi Mountains of California, you’ll find Rankin Ranch. This is a place that specialises in history, horses and classic Western hospitality.
Rankin has been a working cattle ranch for over a century and has been welcoming guests since the mid 1960s. Lack of experience is not something you have to worry about.
As one of the oldest family owned ranches in California, with six generations of the Rankin family having worked here, they love to show guests what they’re all about.
You’ll be sure to meet a whole host of Rankins during your stay, and the emphasis is really on welcoming you into the family. It’s open to visitors throughout the spring, summer and autumn, with the summer being especially suited to family breaks.
They run a supervised kids’ programme so that the adults can enjoy a few of the tougher experiences or simply some time by themselves.
Recommended activities include taking the ‘Sunrise Trail’ up the ridgeline of the Walker Basin in time for the sunrise. Taking in this spectacle from horseback will be a memory to treasure.
Rankin Ranch takes its role as protector of the environment and way of life very seriously. They do their best to care for the land and animals in the right way, preserving it for future generations. They see their role in spreading this word to guests, especially from the younger generation, as a vital part of their work. It also explains why so many guests go back year on year, becoming part of the extended Rankin family.
The George and Yost families have owned and run Latigo Ranch for almost three decades, and demonstrate an obvious passion for their way of life. They get involved in every aspect of ranch life which is something they pass on to all their guests too.
From the moment you arrive you’ll be immersed in ranch life, which is just one of the reasons why Latigo was named as Colorado’s Best Dude Ranch. Others include the exceptional quality of horses on the ranch, and the wonderful staff who make guests feel like part of the family.
During your stay, you’ll learn all sorts of new things, including an in depth knowledge of the plant and animal life on the ranch. Your hosts will also give you an insight into the history and geology of the region, anchoring you in your surroundings and connecting you to the land.
Latigo is particularly suited to guests seeking a genuine and relaxing ranch experience, around both horses and nature. You also get to enjoy scenic overnight trips with owner Jim Yost. Dispense with the unnecessary accoutrements of everyday life, and experience the fun and excitement living with just the bare minimum you need to survive.
There’s an exceptional guest to staff ratio at Latigo, so there will always be someone on hand to answer your questions, teach you new skills or help you in any way.
The best time to visit is during the summer months between June and September. The wild flowers are blooming, trees changing and the landscape exudes a magical quality that brings guests back year after year.
Top50 Ranches organises the world’s best dude, guest and working ranch holidays. Whatever kind of ranching vacation you’re looking for – whether it’s getting your hands dirty with the herd or simply relaxing surrounded by beautiful nature – they know the perfect ranch for you.
Top50 Ranches was created to help you take the guesswork out of finding a ranch holiday. They understand ranches and how they work, as well as having an in depth knowledge of what different guests are looking for. They specialise in matching visitors with the ideal ranch, and do all they can to create your perfect ranch break.
All of their ranches are vetted and inspected for quality, and they only work with ranches that meet their exacting high standards – so you’re in good hands. Only the very best are offered by Top50, and they include ranches in Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and of course United States.
In the US there are Top50 approved ranches in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
So, if you’re excited by the prospect of a ranch holiday but find yourself a little confused about the various kinds, packages and destinations, let Top50 Ranches do the hard work for you.
To find out more about Top50 Ranches check out their website: www.Top50Ranches.com