Disconnect to Reconnect
There are many different ranches and each ranch has a unique personality, but one thing all Montana Dude Ranch Association ranches have in common is a time-tested recipe for a life-changing vacation. Whether you decide on a dude ranch, resort ranch, or a working ranch, there are three connections you’ll experience firsthand at all of our member ranches.
It’s understandable that the strains of day-to-day life can distract us from our true priorities. Engaging in meaningful conversations with ourselves and loved ones are not always on the top of our ‘to do’ list. Sometimes we need to hit the pause button and recalibrate.
Think of a dude ranch vacation as a week-long Sunday dinner. Where someone else plans the menu, does the grocery shopping, lovingly prepares healthful and satisfying meals, and cleans up. You and the loved ones you invited to the table get to eat and engage in real discussion. Isn’t that what a vacation is really all about?
When the daily schedule is laid out, the meals are included, and the accommodations are clean and comfortable. That leaves SO much time for everyone to be present and simply enjoy one another’s company. There’s no taking votes on what restaurant to go to, or endless decisions about which activity to do, until ultimately no one can agree. It’s no wonder folks return from vacation and say, “I need a vacation from my vacation.”
By enjoying uninterrupted interactions, people get to pay genuine attention to one another during conversations which leads to deeper personal connections.
Have you ever noticed after spending the day outside, whether it’s fishing, watching your child’s soccer tournament, or even raking leaves, that food tastes better and a sip of lemonade is so thirst quenching and sweet? Why is that?
There’s undoubtedly a scientific explanation, but here’s ours: Our senses are awakened when we hear the sound of a stream gurgling, smell the piney aroma of the forest, and feel the breeze on our cheeks, our instincts are alive and fulfilling their primal duties. There is something incredibly healing about being in nature. The result is almost medicinal; people are rejuvenated and ultimately happier after spending time in nature. Imagine if everyone spent an entire week immersed in nature.
Montana’s natural wonders are around every corner, the wildlife is abundant, the waters flow clear, the mountain peaks are dramatic, and the sky really is big. Ranch vacations offer ample time in the great outdoors. Ranches provide a wide variety of ways to explore the outdoors; whether that’s in the saddle, fishing the streams, or reading a book in the hammock, we just like the idea of people getting outside. Call us old fashioned, but we believe a hearty dose of the natural world is good for the soul.
Riders and their horse are paired together for the duration of the vacation. Before you arrive, ranches gather basic information about riders including: age, height, weight, and riding experience (beginner, intermediate, or advanced). That information is passed along to the head wrangler who carefully assigns riders with their equine teammate. Like people, horses have unique personalities and quirks to consider which makes the “matchmaking” process a thoughtful one.
Like any partnership the foundation is built upon mutual trust and respect. Once that partnership is established riders and their horse navigate forested trails, run a barrel pattern, and work together moving cows. Throughout the week the horse and rider friendship grows and the result is incredibly bonding. Before you know it, your trusty steed has captured your heart and you’ll be wishing they fit in your suitcase.
When your Montana Ranch Vacation is over and you return home, you can be assured the shared lessons and memories of your time together are cherished.