Ranch Rider offers an extensive collection of ranches where guests can participate in cattle work, but the latest addition to the riding holiday specialist’s Colorado portfolio comes with a fresh twist on the usual cowboy fare. The tour operator is also introducing a Medicine Lodge Winter Horse Gather at the Silver Spur Working Ranch in Idaho, and luxury dudes will be able to experience new “heli-wine tasting” tours at British Columbia’s Siwash Lake Guest Ranch from May 2015.
A western adrenaline rush, at Colorado’s Zapata Working Ranch guests are often invited to gather the 400 strong herd of domestic bison. Once hunted to near extinction in the nineteenth century, ongoing conservation programs like those at Zapata have helped to stem their demise and today over 500,000 can be found in North America. The ranch also manages 2,500 head of wild bison, the opportunity to get close to them on horseback an even more thrilling experience. May is a particularly exciting time to travel as cattle branding weeks are available and during this month the bison give birth, the young calves banding together in playful groups. Dramatic landscapes are spied at every turn so there is no shortage of horseback adventures; desert grasslands, alpine forests, wetlands, sand dunes, creeks and high meadows surrounding the ranch. Guests can ride across the back of the Great Sand Dunes National Park throughout the season and those travelling in July have the option to participate in a four night pack trip to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (19-25 July). Departing on 08 March, the ranch is also running a special photography week dedicated to the spring migration of the Sandhill Cranes. Additional pursuits include, guided nature hikes, fly-fishing and yoga. Six nights with Ranch Rider from £1,495pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities (including riding), use of ranch facilities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes transfers and return flight from £895pp. Departures March to November.
The new Medicine Lodge Winter Horse Drive is the ultimate equine challenge. Offered by Idaho’s Silver Spur Working Ranch, guests will be tasked with herding between 30 and 55 head of horses to their winter pastures. A great way to see the Gem state’s backcountry, the holiday includes three days of horse gathers across snow laden trails. The Targhee National Forest in the Beaver Head Mountain Range is one of the most impressive locations on the itinerary, the landscape composed of timbered highlands, towering peaks, streams and waterfalls. At the end of each day riders will swap the saddle for a sleigh loaded with Alfalfa hay and feed the horses before returning to their solar powered cabin; the ranch’s facilities including hot showers, and a lodge complete with a roaring log fire. The horse drive can be combined with a skiing holiday at Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Resort or a drive through Yellowstone National Park. A great time of year to go, the wildlife including, elk, bison and grey wolves will be easier to spot in the glistening snow. Six nights with Ranch Rider from £949pp (no single supplement) including accommodation meals, horses, tack, activities and taxes. Excludes transfers from £59pp & return flight from £859pp. Departing 15 February, 01 March and 15 March.
One of the world’s premier luxury guest ranches, British Columbia’s Siwash Lake Ranch is surrounded by 80,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Breathtaking rides to view the Crater Lake and hikes through the sun-drenched meadows are popular pursuits and experienced equestrians can saddle up solo. The ranch’s menu includes an exciting range of organic gourmet dishes, and in 2015, oenophiles might also want to sample this exclusive piece of western heaven on new “heli-wine tasting” tours. The adventure will take guests from the ranch to the semi-arid grasslands of the mighty Fraser River Valley, the helicopter touching down for a hike along sage strewn bench lands. Adventurers will then heli onwards for wine tasting and a picnic in the vineyard at the Fort Berens winery in Lillooet – the town located at the start of the province’s historic Gold Rush Trail. Six nights with Ranch Rider on request to include accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes heli-wine tasting tours, car hire and return flight. Departures May through September.
Ranch Rider will release its 2015 brochure in November. To request a copy please visit the website http://www.ranchrider.com/brochure-request/ Ranch Rider: 01509 618 811; firstname.lastname@example.org; ATOL PROTECTED No 4660 ABTA 96395/V9150.