Restorative Ranch Vacation in USA

Join Rocking Z Guest Ranch to ride, play, dine, laugh, rest, and develop your natural horsemanship at their ranch in Montana, USA. Rocking Z Guest Ranch prides themselves on matching horses and people to the best of their ability so that both the horse and rider are happy and comfortable. Rocking Z Guest Ranch doesn't believe it's possible to enjoy a riding holiday without enjoying the horse you're riding, so they will take care all of the guests' horses to ensure that they are personable, mature, responsive animals, each with their own unique attributes. Restore and inspire yourself with time centered on horses, horsemanship, and riding!

Key information

  • Horse Breed: Quarter horses, Mustangs, Belgians, Morgans, and many cross breeds

Highlights

  • Cattle working and roping activities
  • Approximate daily riding time: 1 to 8 hours
  • Horse riding with a horse that is matched for you
  • Hiking to the trails of the beautiful property
  • Hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • All drinks provided in the lodge
  • 10 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


10 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Table tennis
  • Volleyball court
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Bar
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Special menu request
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Laundry
  • Tour assistance

There are two guest buildings referred to as the Lower and Upper because one is up a small risfe. Both buildings have four en-suite rooms, all possessing their own natural gas fireplace. Each room is named after a local historical figure. The Upper building is attached to the guest laundry facility and the outdoor hot tub and has a view of the mountains of the field, while the Lower building has an air-conditioning and overlooks several of the horse corrals.

The Lower building's rooms are Malcolm Clark (one queen-sized bed and one twin-sized single bed), Three Mile Charlie (three twin-sized single beds), Henry Sieben (two queen-sized beds), and James Fergus (large California king bed). Meanwhile, the Upper building consists of rooms including Nicholas Hilger (one queen-sized bed and one twin-sized single bed), Bernard Barnes (one queen-sized bed and one twin-sized single bed), Fanny Sperry Steele (one queen-sized bed and one twin-sized single bed, as well as a double futon), and General Sherman (California king bed and a single futon).

Rocking Z Guest Ranch's accommodations are super comfortable, with spacious en-suite rooms complete with a natural gas fireplace (except in the lodge rooms), chairs, and some rooms have an air-conditioning. The rooms are huge and the beds very comfortable. They even have extra-long beds to accommodate tall people. You will enjoy a truly peaceful night, with nothing breaking the silence except the sounds of nature. Furthermore, all the amenities are free of charge. The amenities include:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Telephone access (including international calls)
  • Outdoor hot tub Jacuzzi
  • Laundry facilities
  • 24-hour access to the lodge for tea, coffee, and snacks
  • Saloon with pool table and games table
  • Complimentary beer and wine
  • Every room is en-suite and has a fireplace
  • Air-conditioning in the lower guest building

Program

Ranch life

Everyone at Rocking Z Guest Ranch wears two hats - one for working on the ranch, and one for working on the guest ranch. Usually, Rocking Z Guest Ranch operates under both of these hats at the same time, but this area is focused on giving you insight to what the ranch hat means. With 75 horses, 45 head of cattle, and multiple dogs and cats, there are a lot of chores to do.

In the winter, all the animals need to be fed daily. In the summer, all the animals need to be on good pasture and the pasture needs to be managed. Additionally, hay must be grown, irrigated, cut and baled to prepare for the coming winter. All jobs on the ranch are seasonal, but the core remains the same; animals need to eat and be safe, and so do people. Montana is beautiful, but where Rocking Z Guest Ranch is, there isn't a lot of rain. That means that making sure water troughs are filled and that irrigation is working are high order tasks.

Daily schedule

  • Arrive near midday
  • Orientation that includes an introduction to your horse starting on the ground with the Seven Games developed by Pat
  • When you are ready, you will be introduced to how the horses are trained for riding them and set out in your own time depending on your own abilities and confidence level
  • Go ride, play, relax, and restore yourself as you wish (Rocking Z Guest Ranch's schedule is very flexible because they personalize it to you)
  • Departure time is before 11:00

Please tell Rocking Z Guest Ranch what you want. Rocking Z Guest Ranch is happy to teach roping in the morning, barrel racing all afternoon, or go out for a six-hour fast ride and finish the day with liberty work in the round corral. It is hard to describe without experiencing it, but Rocking Z Guest Ranch works hard to make sure that each person gets what they want out of each day.

Once all guests have gone through the orientation upon arrival, the group's activities are up to you. Your days on the ranch will be spent on long rides, short rides, cattle work, arena work, ground work, playing at liberty, playing in the creek, and generally relaxing so much that you sleep very well at night after dinner.

Horses of the Rocking Z

The horses at the Rocking Z Guest Ranch are all trained or re-trained on site. Many were bred and raised on-site, and all are known individually by the head wranglers on the ranch. There are over 70 horses on the ranch, from new foals to retired masters. The herd is full of many breeds, dominantly Quarter horses but also Mustangs, Belgians, Morgans, and many cross breeds. All are trained using natural horsemanship and are excellent at building relationships with their humans. The skill level of the herd encompasses every age and every difficulty. Each horse is as individual as each human, and they have needs and likes just like you do. Some can teach, others like to be told what to do, and still, others just want to play with the people.

Green ranching

This is the motto Rocking Z Guest Ranch lives by. Ranching and farming culture reuses everything that it possibly can, from used horseshoes becoming bridle racks, to old barn wood becoming beautiful picture frames; Rocking Z Guest Ranch reuses even the humblest of things. Here are a few of the things that Rocking Z Guest Ranch does in order to conserve both their finances and environment.

  • Horse-power, using Rocking Z Guest Ranch's team of Belgians for feeding hay
  • Solar-paneled movers for irrigation
  • Pure vegetable oil for running the irrigation pump
  • Bio-diesel for starting and cleaning the pump engine
  • Hydroponic-sprouted barley fodder for horse feed

Ranch activities (cattle, roping, horse riding, hiking)

Cattle working

Cattle working at Rocking Z Guest Ranch is focused both on horsemanship and on stockmanship. For the horse, their nature is to chase and follow one another in the herd for dominance. This transfers to dominating cattle, or herding, seamlessly. As for the stockmanship, Rocking Z Guest Ranch will teach you how to gauge the cattle's intentions in order to herd them precisely and confidently.

At Rocking Z Guest Ranch, they raise Corriente cattle for roping and horse training. These cattle are quick and challenging. They are the primary breed of cattle used in rodeos, and Rocking Z Guest Ranch trains them for rodeos through their yearling up to three-year-old years. These cattle are unique and their habits are sometimes more similar to deer than to Hereford or Angus cattle.

Working these cattle is a fantastic experience. They love to run and to be worked fast. For gaining experience, they are perfect because you can work with your horse for quite some time while your horse is focused and locked on. Cattle become a moving focus for the horse and following your focus is the goal of training with cattle. The result of this training is that you will feel yourself riding the horse and controlling their moves and speed with your eyes.

Roping

Often called lassoing, roping is vital to understanding why a "Western" trained horse is trained as he is. Western horses need to be a partner, a teammate who can be relied upon to do his or her job while you do your part. Roping is the essence of why it is so important that your type of horses become mature, dependable partners. Rocking Z Guest Ranch will start you on the ground, and if over the time you have the skill and the desire, Rocking Z Guest Ranch will also teach how to rope from the back of a horse.

Horseback riding

The main activity on the ranch is horse riding. Anywhere from one hour to eight hours of your day with Rocking Z Guest Ranch can be on the back of a horse. Rocking Z Guest Ranch adjust the rides to meet the needs of their guests day by day. Some riding is across vast mountain tops, where you can canter for miles. Another riding is up beautiful trails opening up to a stunning vista. Some riding is slow and some can be very fast. Best of all, it can be whatever your riding level and fitness need it to be as long as the horse still comes first.

Your guides, which will very often include a member of the family, will judge the terrain and the horse's health every moment of the ride and keep everyone informed of all their options. It is important to Rocking Z Guest Ranch that each of the horses will go the speed you ask - if two people want to canter, one person wants to trot, and two people want to walk, the horses are trained to be happy to leave, stay, be alone, and go at the requested pace. If you're unsure, Rocking Z Guest Ranch will teach you every step of the way to independently control your horse so that you don't feel as though he or she is "just following" but instead that the pair of you can work as a team.

Rocking Z Guest Ranch offers a huge variety of groundwork to play with their horses. By utilizing Pat Parelli's "Seven Games of Natural Horsemanship", Rocking Z Guest Ranch can teach you how to connect with a horse using his or her own language. All of the horses are trained using these methods and, as Pat says in his principle number seven, "Horses teach humans and humans teach horses." Rocking Z Guest Ranch regularly brings in cattle in order to work the horses and so that people can learn to work with the herd. Working cattle is vital to the way in which western horses are trained, and experiencing it is the best way to understand the way of riding while having a ton of fun.

Coming on a riding holiday can be daunting. Whether you are a very experienced rider, afraid of being placed on an ancient slow animal, or a complete beginner, afraid of taking on more than you can handle - it is a big decision to trust that a stranger will put you on the right horse. It is important to Rocking Z Guest Ranch that you are matched with an animal that is safe but fun and just challenging enough to be interesting. You can be bold and brave here, as Rocking Z Guest Ranch listens to what you want and do their best to match.

Hiking

Additionally, there are many trails to either go walking or hiking on the property. Rocking Z Guest Ranch has eagles, sand-hill cranes, and blue herons to observe as well as killdeer, curlew, and many more. In the evening, a short walk can provide photo opportunities of hundreds of muley and whitetail deer foraging in the hay field. In addition, if you are very quiet, you can walk around and observe beaver, muskrats, marmots, coyotes, fox, bear and, rarely, mountain lions and wolves.

Moreover, at the ranch buildings there is a saloon complete with a pool table and card table, a volleyball net, and, of course, the hot tub. During the heat of the day, you are welcome to dip in the creek, which is quite clean and has a solid bedrock bottom. At some evenings, you will have a campfire and sing songs, which is always a treat.

Location

This vacation will take place in Montana which is located in the USA and shares a 545 mile-long border with Canada. The Rocking Z Guest Ranch is in the western half of Montana and is central north-to-south. Helena is the state capital of Montana and is just 30 minutes' drive south of the ranch.

TheRocking Z Guest Ranch is equidistant from Glacier National Park in the north and Yellowstone National Park in the south of the state. These parks are truly two of the most spectacular and unique places on Earth, and if you are interested in seeing wildlife, an incredible natural phenomenon like Old Faithful or Triple Falls, and the best scenery in the world, Rocking Z Guest Ranch highly recommends you visiting the parks.

Features

Activities

  • Horse riding
  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi
  • Table tennis
  • Volleyball court

General

  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Bar
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Special menu request

Services

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Laundry
  • Tour assistance

Food

Mornings are relaxed here. At around 6 a.m., coffee is on, and a pot of tea is always flowing by 6.30 a.m. Rocking Z Guest Ranch serves American coffee as well as a selection of teas, including proper Yorkshire and Tetley's English Breakfast, as well as a selection of herbal teas, so whatever you fancy you can pop a teabag in the pot and enjoy a cup. Dry foods are laid out, so if you're peckish before breakfast you can help yourself. Rocking Z Guest Ranch's lodge is relaxed, cozy, and inviting as well as being always open - even at 3 a.m. when jet lag has you needing a brew.

Breakfast starts at 8 a.m. with mountains of pancakes and a variety of bacon and eggs as well as fresh fruit and yogurt. Juice, hot beverages, and food keep coming until you're ready for the day ahead. Lunch is a varied occasion. Sometimes it is a sandwich and fruit on the trail with a bottle of water. When possible, it is cooked over a fire when out and about by Maria. Often it is a dinner-type meal in the lodge with cookies. When the lunch is at the lodge, it is usually accompanied by a respite before getting back in the saddle.

Dinner is served around 6.30 p.m. and is family-style. Everyone eats together, so it is a great time to go over the day and have a laugh. The meals are varied - it could be brisket that's been smoked for 24 hours served with barbecue-baked beans and cornbread or lasagna with fresh-baked garlic bread. Rocking Z Guest Ranch even randomly does a Mexican night with enchiladas or fajitas, corn on the cob, and margaritas for the adults.

For alternative diets, Rocking Z Guest Ranch has a variety of options such as meatless lasagna with zucchini (also called courgette) or polenta and six-hour bean sauce, and many more. Just be sure to let Rocking Z Guest Ranch knows your dietary needs and they will do the best.

Drinks are included in your package, with beer on tap in the saloon and wine at the lodge. You are welcome to take your drinks with you in plastic cups into the hot tub or anywhere around the ranch. You are also welcome to bring liquors and mixers to the ranch, as Rocking Z Guest Ranch only serves liquor that goes with a particular meal. Soft drinks are also all included.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Pescatarian
  • Lactose Free
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Archery and shooting with Ben and Maria Anderson
  • Bareback riding
  • Barrel racing
  • Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park visits
  • Grasshopper cross-country course playing
  • Roll-backs and western-style moves learning
  • Team driving with Ben Anderson
  • Wagon riding during camp-style cookouts

What's included

  • Cattle working and roping activities
  • 1 to 8 hours' horse riding sessions
  • Trail hiking on the ranch property
  • Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and drinks
  • 10 nights' accommodation

What's not included

  • Aiport round-trip (please ask directly upon reservation request)
  • 2% bed tax by the State of Montana (to be paid upon arrival)
  • 15% gratuities

How to get there

Driving directions from Helena

  • Take Interstate 15 to Montana
  • Drive to Exit 216 (the exit's name is Sieben, and for those who are not American, USA's interstate exits are numbered by mile-marker, so if you were in Helena at Exit 194 on Interstate 15 you would know automatically that the ranch's exit is 22 miles north)
  • Turn west once you are down the ramp (the road is paved for two miles, and Rocking Z Guest Ranch is 1.8 miles down the road)
  • Drive to until you see two large rocks on the north side and a large "Rocking Z" brand on a rock at the turn

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Helena Regional Airport (HLN) or Great Falls International Airport (GTF). Transfer from and to these airports is available upon request.

The nearest airports are Helena Regional Airport (HLN) and Great Falls International Airport (GTF). Both airports receive connections from Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Minnesota. The nearest direct-flight airport from Europe is Calgary, Alberta, just six hours stunning drive north of the ranch. Rocking Z Guest Ranch offers transfer services from and to Helena for free on Sunday at 11.30 a.m. (pick-up) and Saturday at 10.30 a.m. (departure). They also offer transfer services at any other time for the price of 175 USD round-trip from Helena and 225 USD round-trip from Great Falls (price is per vehicle).

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 35% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on departure.
11 days / 10 nights
from --
Availability

This vacation is available from July to October 2018. Please select an arrival date below.

 

Low season
  • October 1 - 31

 

Mid season
  • September 1 - 30

 

High season
  • July 1 - August 31

 

Pricing information
  • Having three or four people together in a room reduces the rate by up to 4% per person
  • Children aged three and under are free

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