Horseback Riding Vacation In Wyoming
"Horse Lovers Will Think They've Died and Gone to Heaven"
says "1,000 Places to See before You Die" about the Bitterroot Ranch.
Horseback riding is the main activity at our WY dude ranch where many of our horses have been raised and trained. 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.
Trail Riding in Wyoming
Northwest Wyoming's Wind River valley 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
There are several certified instructors 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 with a maximum of 6 guests lead to a heightened awareness of the conncection between horse and rider and will increase your confidence and enjoyment. We also host Centered Riding Clinics.
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.
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.
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.
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 Bayard Fox.
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.