What could be more exciting for a horse lover than an active riding holiday on a US dude ranch?
Live out your cowboy dreams with an active riding holiday in the US wild west of Montana, Oklahoma, Arizona or Wyoming.
Forget Olympic dressage, think rounding up the greenhorn cattle, tracing the hoof-prints of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or enjoying a local rodeo.
Whatever your cowboy ambitions, Ranch Rider has a fabulous range of horse riding options if saddling up and heading west makes you want to don a pair of leather chaps and yell a big 'Yeeha!'
The company's MD Tony Daly says, 'All of our new ranches are focused on the lifestyle of the real working wrangler, but this year we've also introduced options for those who want to dig a little deeper into the traditions and ways of the west.'
Costs do not include flights.
The Padlock Ranch with its half a million acres combines luxury and authenticity, straddling both Wyoming and Montana. From cattle branding in June, driving the herd through the Big Horn Mountains in August and gathering the yearlings in September, with its 10,000-strong herd it's the perfect place to learn the ropes as a trainee cowhand. Five nights: £1,189pp (two sharing).
The Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle & Guest Ranch is geared up to nature lovers. Only two hours from Yellowstone, this site offers wildlife viewing opportunities that are said to rival those in the nearby National Park.
Book up for a horseback photo-safari or enjoy an after-supper 4X4 drive to spot nocturnal animals. With its 220-head of Red Angus cattle, visitors can also help round up the herd, or saddle up for half- and full-day rides. Take a tour of Diamond City (a ghost town located on the property's 25,000-acres), and try your luck with a gold panning trek. Seven nights: from £1,119pp (two sharing).
The Highpoint Horse Ranch in Oklahoma puts horsemanship at the centre of its holiday options. Taking only three guests, the owners offer tailored and intensive courses with professional trainers in their indoor and outdoor arenas. You can also take a break from the saddle with a spot of pond fishing, and visits to the local rodeo and Oklahoma City, the state capital which is an hour away. Seven nights: from £705pp (no single supplement).
The Klondike Ranch in Wyoming makes branding and cattle driving part of the programme. Visit the famous Outlaw Cave, a favourite hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, sign up for an overnight camp-out, or try trout fishing on Crazy Woman Creek. Seven nights: from £1,095pp (two sharing).
The Williams Family Ranch in Arizona promises a sunshine hoseback break, with early morning rides to explore abandoned mine workings, swimming in nearby waterholes, and atmospheric moonlit rides. Seven nights: £719pp (two sharing).
For more information: Ranch Rider.com 01509 618 811
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