Type of horses:
Quarter horses, Paints and Appaloosas
Nature of horses:
Safe and gentle
Height of horses:
15 - 16 hh
17 stone 8 pounds /113kg / 250lb
Discover a true working ranch experience at this historic ranch in the picturesque Porcupine Hills of southwestern Alberta. Surround yourself with 4,000 acres of vast, open country where the ranches Texas Longhorns and Crossbred cattle graze alongside herds of elk and deer.
The ranch was established in 1881 and remains a testament to a bygone era. After a day in the saddle you can spend the evening beside a crackling campfire or relaxing on the deck. Taste the crystal clear spring water which flows through the ranch into a pond that is home to colourful ducks and geese. This family-run ranch welcomes up to 8 riders at a time to experience their western lifestyle and the beauty of the landscape. If you are lucky then you may get to see a black bear checking out the beehives or a beaver swimming in nearby Lyndon Creek. Moose and deer are regularly sighted but the Porcupine Hills Cougar is elusive!
The ranch breed their own riding and working horses which include Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas. They also breed Percheron horses, having fallen in love with the breed in 1969 when they bought a pair of registered mares - Royal Daisy and Drake Farms Ann from Ontario. Royal Daisy was a prolific show winner and in 1975 the family toured France and England to find a Percheron stallion to take home. "Farman" was the first French Percheron to be imported from France to Canada since 1930 and was shown successfully as Lucasia Big John. In 1976 he won three Grand Championships and two supreme Percheron trophies in Alberta. That autumn he was named Grand Champion Stallion at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair. The progeny of these horses has enabled the family to successfully show quality Percheron's for many years.
With the ranch being only 1.5 hours drive from Calgary it is the perfect location for those wishing to combine a ranch holiday with a visit to the famous Calgery Stampede rodeo - although the popularity of this rodeo will mean you have to book early to avoid disappointment!
You stay in either the main house or in one of two cabins.
The Main House has two rooms - one with a Queen bed (Roping Room) and the other with a Double and Single bed (Wildlife Room). Both rooms share a bathroom and sitting room.
The Pioneer Cabin is a rustic, refurbished turn-of-the-century Pioneer log cabin. It has a Queen and a Double bed. A cot can be added if you are a family. There is a half bath but if you wish for a shower then you can use the shared bathroom in the main house.
The New Cabin is a hand-crafted log cabin with a seating area and kitchen. There is a Queen and Single bed upstairs and a Queen bed downstairs - both these rooms have private ensuite bathrooms. There is also a loft with a double-sized futon which would share one of the other two bathrooms.
All meals are served in the main house, with breakfast at 8:30am, lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7pm.
Meals are home cooked and include ranch-raised beef with plenty of vegetables. Desserts are varied, homemade and delicious!
Hearty ranch breakfasts are also served so you are unlikely to go hungry.
Unfortunately the ranch cannot cater for special diets. Vegetarians can eat the salads and vegetables that are on offer, but no special meals can be created.
There are many ranch activities on offer for when not riding - perhaps learn the basics of roping the dummy or challenge someone to a game of horseshoes.
Hikers will have plenty of trails to follow into the hills to observe wildlife or birds.
There are other special tourism sites within driving distance and so non-riders or novices who don't wish to ride all the time may benefit from hiring a car. Waterton National Park, Banff, Calgary or Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump are all possible within a day trip. Off-site activities and meals are not included in the package price.
Please note that whilst the ranch does have satellite internet there is no cell phone signal.
Health requirements: General good health
Age limit: 12 years and older
Tuition: Only the basics of Western riding
Included: Accommodation, all meals, riding and ranch activities
Not included: Flights, transfers, off-site activities
There are a few different options for getting from Calgary to the ranch.
You can either hire a car and drive yourself - we can provide driving instructions.
Alternatively you can take the "Red Arrow Bus Shuttle Service" which runs between Calgary Airport and the town of Claresholm - your hosts will then collect you from Claresholm for CAD 52.50 return per person.
If you prefer to be transferred directly from the airport then this is also possible for a charge of CAD 315 for the first passenger plus CAD 52.50 per additional passenger. Airport pick-up is from noon until 6pm on Sunday; Airport drop-off is from noon until 6pm on Saturday.
Airport: Calgary International Airport
On a normal Ranch Stay week you will ride in both the morning and the afternoon with the wranglers, for approximately 2-3 hours each time. Most of the riding is trail riding through the hills and forests and the pace is mainly walking due to the terrain. A small amount of cattle work is usually included during a Ranch Stay week and you are welcome to help with the daily routine around the ranch. If you wish to miss a half or full day of riding to relax at the ranch then that is not a problem at all and your hosts are flexible. Get away from it all and gain an insight into an authentic family-run working ranch - ride the foothills, check the cattle, fix fences or learn to rope the dummy. During a week-long stay a complimentary visit to either Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump or Historic Fort MacLeod is included.
Arrival day is Sunday and departure day is Saturday. There is no riding on a Sunday as this is the horses day off. If you wish to visit for two weeks then please bear this in mind and plan to relax or explore the area on Sunday.
The special Cattle Drive weeks and Branding week are particularly popular and need to be booked in advance. These are for experienced riders only who can ride independently across varied terrain and are comfortable in the saddle for long hours.
The May cattle drive is the smallest, as the team help their neighbours to move 100-150 yearlings from their ranch into the forest reserve.
The June Branding week is a traditional branding experience which echoes the practices of the past. Help your hosts to gather, sort and brand the cattle - you can either observe or pitch in and learn the basics.
The August cattle drive is when the ranch sort all their cattle, split their bulls and move the cows and calves to join the rest of the herd in the forest.
The September cattle drive is the largest as both the ranch and their neighbours cattle need to come back. September can involve 7-9 hours in the saddle for four days, riding up and downhill through the trees to search out the cattle. All cattle are collected onto the neighbours ranch where they are sorted to determine which cattle stay on the ranch and which return home to prepare for the sales. Sometimes it is necessary to head back into the forest reserve to find missing cattle on the following days a well. Please note that this cattle drive starts on a Thursday and ends on a Tuesday, but it is possible to add extra days at the start and end to arrive/depart on a weekend - please enquire.
|Minimum group size:||1|
|Maximum group size:||8|
|Ability description:||All abilities can be accommodated on the normal ranch weeks, but only experienced riders are accepted on the Cattle Drive weeks which include up to 9 hours a day in the saddle.|
|Type of ride:||Ranch stay|
|Total riding time:||7 days / 6 nights / 5 days of riding|
2017: Arrival day is Sunday and Departure Day is Saturday. The ranch is open from May to October.
Ranch stay: 23-29 July; 30 July-5 August; 20-26 August; 27 August-2 September; 3-9 September. Other dates may be possible - please enquire.
Cattle Drive: 28 May-3 June (FULL); 13-19 August; 27 September-3 October (FULL).
Branding Week: 4-10 June.
£858 per person for 6 nights/7 days in Main House or Pioneer Cabin
£57 per person to upgrade to the New Cabin (with ensuite bathroom)
Special Cattle Drive or Branding Weeks: £1090 per person (6 nights/7 days in Main House or Pioneer Cabin).
£57 per person to upgrade to New Cabin (with ensuite bathroom)
Two week stay (12 nights/13 days): £1693 per person
£86 to upgrade to New Cabin (please note there is no riding on Sunday).