Horseback Riding at the Ranch

“Horse Lovers Will Think They’ve Died and Gone to Heaven” says “1,000 Places to See before You Die” about the Bitterroot Ranch.

This horseback riding vacation in Wyoming offers a unique focus on quality equestrian offerings. Many of our horses have been raised and trained at home on the ranch for this purpose. The Bitterroot Ranch maintains a herd of about 135 horses under saddle for around 25 clients, making it easy to provide suitable mounts in top condition throughout the summer vacation season. Rides are kept small and guests are grouped according to their horse riding skill levels. There are 2-3 hour morning and afternoon trail rides. All day picnic excursions on Saturdays enable you to explore the high country and most weeks there is an opportunity to herd cattle.

I loved the quality and dispositions of your horses. It is obvious how much time and effort you spend in training and caring for them. –Chris Rossiter, MD

Trail Riding in Wyoming

Northwest Wyoming is an area of vast expanses offering you an exceptional variety of horse back riding terrain. Some rides wind through cottonwood and spruce trees along the river; others take you through the sagebrush of the high plains desert, where the sandy soil provides good footing for spirited canters. Still others climb up through aspen groves, which become a glorious gold in the fall. In the high country, the rugged pine clad mountains of the Shoshone National Forest give way to Alpine meadows. There are a few abandoned settler homesteads and cowboy camps in the area.

Horse Riding Lessons at the Ranch

You are offered the opportunity to take videotaped riding lessons at beginner and intermediate levels on two mornings a week. These lessons, taught by Certified Horsemanship Association certified Hadley Fox in a small group setting, lead to a heightened awareness of the connection between horse and rider and will increase your confidence and enjoyment. We also host riding clinics for those interested in a more focused educational experience.

The reason I chose Bitterroot was I wanted to become comfortable on a horse and ride most of the time. Each horse offered a new challenge, but provided a feeling of safety. The lessons were excellent and instructions simple. All the different abilities in the family were catered for. Maxine and Mike Hill, Texas

Cross Country Jumping Course

We have a cross country course with over 80 jumps which advanced riders who have prior cross country experience can try during the week. It is not an intimidating course since no jump is more than three foot, but there are a wide variety of obstacles including ditches, drops, oxers, pickets, coops and walls. Riders are required to warm up over small jumps in the arena to make sure they will not interfere with their horse.

Every aspect of the stay lived up to and beyond my expectations, starting of course with the EXCELLENT horses and challenging terrain! I definitely expanded my expectations of what it was reasonable to ask a horse to traverse and it was such fun doing it in the company of other bold, experienced riders not having to hold back, but enjoying the group runs and the gorgeous scenery. I appreciate too that you were willing to give a rather rusty jumper the great fun of riding your cross country course. Mary McGerald, California

Cattle Drives

Since the Bitterroot is also a working ranch you will have the opportunity to move cattle on our summer grazing lease in the national forest through July, August and September. The cows frequently need to be checked to be sure they have not been eaten by grizzlies or wolves and they are periodically rotated around the allotment, part of which is in the wilderness. On Friday afternoons, we have a friendly team sorting competition in our arena which provides a great introduction to working cattle from horseback.

This holiday was so far and a way beyond my most fanciful dreams that I cannot put proper words to it. You’ve created a relaxed peaceable kingdom while retaining a down to earth working cattle ranch and horse breeding farm. Ann Cole, Vermont

Tack

Our horses are trained Western so they are used to neck reining and going on a loose rein. We mostly use Western saddles, but there are endurance and English saddles available for those who prefer them and have an independent seat and hands. We are very careful to check that the saddles fit each horse well, are in good condition and we are happy to share our expertise in this area with anyone who is interested. We recommend Fallis Western saddles, Sharon Saare endurance saddles, and Arabian Horse Company English saddles, all of which fit the horses well and provide a balanced seat for the rider.

I researched a riding facility that would focus on horses, not ersatz “cowboy” experiences. For our limited riding experiences Bitterroot was perfect. Vivi was a superb and encouraging instructor. All of the wranglers kept us within our boundaries, yet let us progress. The horses were well chosen for our skills and I really appreciate the benefits of riding in groups where the animals are familiar with one another. –Ralph Cooper, PA

Horseback Riding Safety

Your safety as a horseback rider is of vital concern to us. We keep rides small, carefully match horses to riders, see that people of similar skills ride together and train ride leaders carefully. We insist that everyone wear a hard hat and our trail guides carry mobile phones to summon help in case it is needed. For more detailed information about our philosophy on horse riding safety, read this article on equestrian safety by ranch owner Bayard Fox.

Owner Participation

The Fox Family feels that the quality of our equestrian program is of paramount importance; therefore Mel, Bayard, Hadley and Richard lead rides personally, nearly every day, which shows their dedication.