The Bitterroot cattle spend the summer grazing on the adjacent national forest land the last week of September is spent gathering the herd before the winter arrives. This cattle drive in Wyoming is challenging work since the cows are scattered over a 50 square mile area of aspen & pine forests and small clearings. Groups of riders with a wrangler set off from the ranch, taking a picnic lunch each day and driving back whatever cattle they encounter. These are counted out of the forest and by the end of the week we are often following difficult tracks through rough country as we try to find the remaining elusive cows. This is a true adventure and there is a feeling of great satisfaction for a job well done as the cattle are loaded onto the semis that will take them to the lower ranch for the winter.
There are over 120 riding horses on the ranch, consisting mainly of Arabians and Quarter Horse crosses (14-16hh). The Arabian horses are raised and trained exclusively for the use of the guests.
The horses are trained western and are used to being neck reined; they do not go on contact. All guests are asked to post the trot and to stay in two point or galloping position for the canters and when climbing hills. This is important to us as it keeps the horses from getting sore backs. Some of the days this week can be long and hard and it's important that participants be riding fit.
Western and endurance saddles are used because we have found them to be the most suitable equipment for this mountainous terrain.
Helmets are required, there are some available to borrow.
Quarter horses, Arabians
Mostly slow, sometimes challenging
Western and endurance saddles
The ranch has a limited number of horses for riders over 180 lbs.
There are no separate activities planned for non-riders, who can take advantage of this unique location to fly fish, hike and visit with the ranch animals. With a rental car the town of Dubois is about 40 minutes away.
Hadley teaches four flowing yoga classes a week in the ranch’s yoga yurt, Monday and Wednesday afternoons, Friday mornings, and Saturday afternoons. The classes are designed to stretch the muscles that typically become sore during riding. They are friendly for people without much (or any!) yoga experience, but they also offer something to the more experienced yoga practitioner.
Start the day with orientation and an evaluation of riders before enjoying a short morning trail ride. This afternoon guests are encouraged to participate in team sorting in the arena. This helps riders become acquainted with some of the techniques used in working cattle.
Take a picnic lunch and go looking for cows in the East Fork Basin area of the national forest above the ranch. They could be anywhere in this area of about 15 square miles. The terrain is comprised of the wide, grass covered valley of the East Fork Basin as well as forests hiding many large and small clearings which must be checked. Riding will be at 8,500 to 10,000 ft. elevation.
Today’s ride will cover the Castle Rock section of the allotment. Castle Rock will be towering above all day. Far across the valley riders will see the perpetually snowcapped Wind River Mountains forming the Continental Divide. Stop to enjoy a saddle bag lunch. The elevation today will be over 9,000 ft. with riding through forests and open meadows rounding up any strays.
The itinerary for this ride is subject to change and totally dependent upon the location of the cattle. Riders participate in the routine of a working cowboy gathering scattered cattle, driving them down from summer pasture, and sorting animals. This routine is varied and unpredictable but requires long hours in the saddle. Please note that weather, unexpected movements of cattle or Forest Service instruction could change plans.
A 10% gratuity charge will be added to the total.
Rates include accommodations, all meals, fishing and daily riding except for the first and last days.
Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.
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The Bitterroot ranch in Wyoming offers excellent riding for a broad range of ability levels. Everyone can enjoy varied trail rides through stunning scenery, with options for lessons weekly... Read more
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Starting at $3,300 / per person