Round"em Up! Take the Family on a Modern-Day Cattle Drive Vacation
By Peter Shannon
Looking for a rewarding and memorable family vacation idea? A cattle drive may be just the thing. We're talking about real ranchers on real working cattle ranches. Ranch vacations are a good way for them to help support the ranch. But it's not all business with them. They want to share their way of life and educate people about a quickly disappearing aspect of our American history and culture.
Don't worry if you've never sat in a saddle before. Sure, some riding experience is helpful but the activities are geared for whatever skill level you have. All the ranches provide horse riding instruction for anyone who needs or wants it..
In general, the more experience you have, the more you can expect to get into the thick of things on the cattle drive. Less experienced riders put in the back or at the sides. But that doesn't mean you will be bored. There's still plenty of action and hard work for everyone.
Yes, I said hard work. This is not a lay-about-on-the-beach vacation. But that's the idea. You work hard and you play hard. This is a chance to tackle unique challenges in a fun and adventurous way. A cattle drive vacation can be a rewarding experience, particularly for children. It's a tremendous opportunity to build their self-confidence and self-esteem.
You can typically expect to spend between 4 and 10 hours a day in the saddle. This will most likely mean a little discomfort but the rewards are worth it. Just be sure to bring a long pain relievers for muscle aches and antibiotic cream in case of a saddle sore or two.
Some ranches have cabins or lodges where you sleep at night. Others put you in a tent on the trail. Some will even have you sleeping out under the stars.
Besides cattle drives you can also participate in real cowboy stuff. You can help sort and brand the cattle. Learn roping. Check out the fence lines. And it's not all work and no play. Relaxing around the campfire, playing cards, pitching horseshoes or some good old-fashioned saloon dancing.
Every ranch has a different program so check them out for what suits you and your family. Whatever ranch you choose, I think the whole family will be challenged and have a heck a lot of fun too.
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