Experience the cowboy way of life under the endless sky of the Canadian prairies. Ride where the Blackfoot Indians once camped as they hunted bison across the vast plains and help the friendly crew at this Canadian ranch look after a herd of two hundred and fifty cows and calves. This working cattle-guest ranch in Saskatchewan has plenty to explore with nine miles of water frontage and more than 5,000 acres of rolling pasture. Riders will spend their days joining the cowboys to take part in seasonal ranch work which could be herding cattle or branding calves, all while enjoying the magnificent scenery; an expanse of grassland populated with deer, antelope and golden eagles. After a long day in the saddle, you can treat yourself to a relaxing soak or swim in the lake.
Accommodation is comprised of double rooms in western-style wood cabins with en-suite bathroom facilities. The cabins and washrooms are clean, the beds are comfortable and there is plenty of hot water for every shower. Guests and crew all eat family-style meals together where home-cooked food is hearty and plentiful. The ranch has communal areas for eating and socializing. Guests may find themselves chatting to neighbours, playing pool or darts or even learning to line dance.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from EL of Downham Market on 04/11/2022
This riding holiday has no set itinerary as the riding programmes very much depend on the guests; how much riding experience they have and the time of year they visit. The riding is Western and relaxed, guests can ride at any pace dependent on their ability. Riding is usually centred round the needs of the ranch at that time of year with occasional overnight excursions in the summer. Beginners are welcome to have a basic western riding lessons to allay any nerves prior to the first ride. Everyone interested will have the chance to learn how to handle the rope and work with cattle, or even try their first barrel race in the large outdoor arena. .Groups can easily be split into novice and more experienced riders when riding out. All guests are welcome to participate in the seasonal cattle and ranch work. There is no riding on arrival or departure days.
2023: Please note there is a 7 night minimum stay between 22-29 May and 2-9 Oct and also a 10 night minimum stay between 29 May-8 June.
After a home-cooked breakfast head out to saddle the horses. Riders will be paired with a suitable horse before taking off for an exciting day ride to check the herd and to explore the large ranch property. The cows need to be checked on an almost daily basis and if necessary, the herd may need to be moved or calves need to be caught.
Lunch is served out on the trail where guests can refuel with coffee, beans and sausages cooked over an open fire (depending on pasture conditions) and a snooze in the sun. Depending on the time of year guests could spend the afternoon helping with moving cattle or riding out on the range. From time to time, throughout the summer month, there is the opportunity to pack up the horses for an overnight trip and camp out under the stars.
There is plenty to do for those not interested in riding or on a day off. During the summer month guests can walk down to Lake Diefenbaker for swimming, boating, canoeing, fishing and water-skiing. Guests are also welcome to explore the ranch which has plenty of wildlife with deer, coyotes, foxes and owls, and overhead a golden eagle or a pair of pelicans. Or find a private spot along the 14km ranch shoreline complete with partly sandy beaches.
In the evening, do what the cowboys do. A game of horseshoes, learn how to handle a Lariat or improve your skills by dummy steer roping, or a visit to the ranch Saloon, where there is a pool table, foosball and darts. Listen to country music or sit in the hot tub under the stars. End the day with the crackle of a romantic campfire and roasted marshmallows as a midnight snack.
Special Events 2023: (please note minimum stays)
Season Opening (May 22) First week of the season: Guests will get the taste of cowboys daily spring jobs while calves still come to life. Join the team on daily horseback trips to the pastures to check the herd, treat or ear tag new born calves if necessary. Fences need to be checked and fixed. The cattle facilities at the headquarters need to be prepared and set up for the upcoming branding. (minimum stay of 7 nights)
Round up and Branding the Offspring: (between 29 May and 8 June) actual round up and branding day to take place around June 2 and June 6: One of the most popular times at the ranch is early June, when the cattle are rounded up for an old-time authentic branding. Everyone interested will have the chance to learn how to rope and to participate in the hard work of the cowboys. A minimum stay of 10 nights in 2023 is required to become acquainted with the operation, the terrain and the horses before the round up and the final branding day. Please have some horseback riding experiences!
Fall Round-up week (between Oct. 2 and Oct. 9). Season ending Monday Oct. 9. Within the last highlight of the season, cattle have to be rounded up on horseback and driven from the summer pasture to the headquarters of the ranch. The cattle will be counted, checked, sorted, vaccinated (if necessary), and moved back out into the same or a different pasture. This is a great adventure for guest who love to ride and learn some skills about handling and moving cattle. (minimum stay of 7 nights)
Please note there is no riding on arrival or departure day for week long stays at the ranch.
Transfer 2023 from Saskatoon Airport
2 - 3 people round trip approx. CAD $250 per person
4 or more people round trip approx. CAD $190 per person
1 person round trip approx. CAD $300 per person
Above prices include taxes and are payable upon booking. Transfer days are Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Earliest outbound flight 10:30 am, latest pick up 7:30pm. Keep in mind that it is a 2.5 hour drive either way.
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO WAIT IF OTHER GUESTS ARRIVE THE SAME DAY AT A LATER TIME. SAME ON THE WAY BACK TO SASKATOON IF SOMEONE HAS TO LEAVE REALLY EARLIER EVERYONE HAS TO BE ON THE SAME TRANSFER. THERE IS ONLY ONE TRANSFER PER DAY.
Alternative Arrival and Departure - Rental car, very affordable and stress free. Relaxed driving and easy to find the ranch. 230 KM from Saskatoon (YXE) airport. 600 KM from Calgary (YYC) airport. Self-drive Arrival days: Monday, Thursday and Saturday Only. Check-in 3:00PM onwards / Check-out rooms 11:00AM. PARKING OF RENTAL VEHICLES ON RANCH PROPERTY AT OWN RISK.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There is a herd of 24 horses on the ranch with a mix of sizes and breeds, although the predominant breed is quarter horses as they are well-suited to working with cattle. Horses have huge spaces in which to roam and are relaxed and sure-footed out on the trail. Western saddles and tack are used exclusively. As well as miles of trails, the ranch also has a large outdoor arena where riders can check their skills in handling horses around cattle such as sorting, penning or even roping if they’re confident with a lasso. Guest can also try barrel racing which is always a lot of fun. There is no riding on arrival or departure days.
There is cattle work such as round up and branding weeks twice a year (generally June and October). In July and August riding will mainly be exploring the ranch and checking on cattle and fencing although a small herd of longhorn cattle are always kept on-site for practicing rope work in the arena, which guests are welcome to have a go at.
Riders of all ability are welcome at the ranch as the riding activities can be adjusted according to the experience of the rider. Care is taken to ensure first time riders feel safe and confident and will be taught the basics in an arena. Similarly experienced riders will have the opportunity for faster riding as groups can be split according to ability.
The minimum riding age for this ranch is 10, however it is usually possible for children to ride from 8 years old depending on their height and build.
The weight limit for this ride is 231 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Guests stay in western-style wood cabins decorated to make any cowboy feel at home. There are six cosy log-cabins each with two double beds and private bathroom/shower. Also two 1.5-story cabins with a loft, which sleeps up to 6 persons in 2 double beds and 2 double size bunk beds. The Cabins are cleaned weekly or with each arrival. Bedding and toiletries are supplied. Everything needed in a home away from home.
Breakfast and supper are served at the ranch while lunch is eaten out on the trail. Guests and the ranch crew eat home-cooked family-style meals together. Guests should expect wholesome and plentiful cowboy cuisine which includes plenty of Canadian dishes, home-baked goods and strong coffee. At breakfast guests will look out over the rolling hills and plan the day ahead. Lunch is eaten out on the range, often with a campfire and some campfire coffee. At supper-time you can kick back and share a few laughs about the day's adventures.
Please note that unfortunately vegan diet cannot be accommodated at the ranch.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.
NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.
Dependent on your country, Passport and Visa requirements can change from regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.
Visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa.
To visit Canada, you will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:
• have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
• be in good health,
• have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
• convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
• convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
• have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)
Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.
In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/canada
In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Canada.html
Saskatchewan summers are usually warm and dry. High temperatures range from 15 C (60 F) in May to the mid-30s C (90-95 F) in July and August. Saskatchewan averages the most sunshine of any Canadian province; nights tend be cool. Winter normally begins in November and temperatures generally remain below the freezing point.
COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
The cost of medical treatment can be very expensive in Canada. For emergency health care you can go to a hospital’s emergency room or to a large number of walk-in clinics where an appointment is not required beforehand.
Giardiasis is present so do not drink water from streams. Tap water is safe to drink.
Rabies is endemic in Canada, do not approach stray dogs.
Lyme disease can be a risk in wooded regions; it is a rare tick borne disease.
Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Canada and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.
In Canada the supply voltage is 120V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 120V).
There is electricity in the cabins to charge cameras and batteries. Wifi is available in the main ranch only.
Riding hat if you want to wear one
Jeans or jodhpurs
Long sleeved shirts
Casual dinner wear
T - shirts
Sweater / fleece
Trainers or soft shoes
Riding boots or any boot with a heel
Broad rimmed hat for sun protection
First week of the season: Guests will get a taste of the cowboys daily spring jobs during calving season. Join the ranch hands on their daily horseback trips to the pastures to check the herd and treat or ear tag new born calves if necessary. Fences need to be checked and fixed. The cattle facilities at the headquarters need to be prepared and set up for the upcoming branding.
Round up and Branding the Offspring:
One of the most popular times at the ranch is early June, when the cattle are rounded up for an old-time authentic branding. Everyone interested will have the chance to learn how to rope and to participate in the hard work of the cowboys. Guests should plan to visit for at least 10 days/9 nights to become acquainted with the operation and their horse before round up and the final branding day.
Fall-Round up week
Within the last highlight of the season, cattle have to be rounded up on horseback and driven from the summer pasture to the headquarters of the ranch. The cattle will be counted, checked, vaccinated (if necessary), and moved back out into the same or a different pasture. This is a great adventure for guests who love to ride and want to learn some skills about handling and driving cattle.
2023: Arrivals on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 22 May to 9 Oct.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,085|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||single supplement||285|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 8-11)||799|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 4-7)||659|
|2023 per night||per night||1||double pp||155|
|2023 per night||per night||1||single supplement||41|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 8-11)||115|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 4-7)||95|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,219|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||single supplement||319|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 8-11)||899|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 4-7)||745|
|2023 per night||per night||1||double pp||175|
|2023 per night||per night||1||single supplement||46|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 8-11)||129|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 4-7)||105|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,319|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||single supplement||345|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 8-11)||975|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 4-7)||805|
|2023 per night||per night||1||double pp||189|
|2023 per night||per night||1||single supplement||50|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 8-11)||139|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 4-7)||115|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||double pp||13,719|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||single supplement||3,579|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 8-11)||10,139|
|2023 - 7 nights||8d/7n||6||Child (aged 4-7)||8,349|
|2023 per night||per night||1||double pp||1,959|
|2023 per night||per night||1||single supplement||515|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 8-11)||1,449|
|2023 per night||per night||1||Child (aged 4-7)||1,195|
- The Penguin History of Canada - Kenneth McNaught. A basic but useful primer on the country's history. - City to City (also published as O Canada!: Travels in an Unknown Country) - Jan Morris. This is a collection of essays written after she travelled in Canada from coast to coast.
When not in the saddle, there are plenty of other activities for guests and non-riders. During the summer month guests can walk down to Lake Diefenbaker for swimming, boating, canoeing and waterskiing (subject to availability). The Lake also offers a great opportunity for fishing. Guests can explore the large ranch property on foot and try to spot some of the local wildlife which includes deer, coyotes, foxes and owls. Or relax along the 14km ranch shoreline with narrow but partly sandy beaches.
On some nights we visit the nearby (22km) famous White Bear Saloon for some hot wings and drinks. Otherwise evening entertainment can be found on site at the Old West Saloon which has a pool table, foosball, darts and lots of country music. On many nights, some of the neigbors will stop by to see old friends and meet new ones creating a warm and friendly atmosphere for guests, ranch workers and neighbours alike.
The praries in this part of Canada are home to a huge variety of wildlife. Guests may spot species such as golden eagles, bold eagles, mule deer, white tail deer, antelopes, coyotes, foxes and pelicans.
People migrating from Asia crossing the Bering Strait first settled the North American continent. They formed a number of tribes that can be distinguished by language: the Algonquian in the eastern sub-arctic and maritime areas spreading into the prairies and plains of the mid-west; the Iriquioian speaking tribes mostly in the St Lawrence Valley and around Lakes Ontario and Erie; the Salishan, Athabascan and other linguistic groups lived along the rivers and coastline of British Columbia. Small, isolated Inuit bands developed a unique culture in the harsh environment of the Arctic.
John Cabot, a Venetian working in the service of the English sailed to Newfoundland in 1497. This and later explorations formed the basis of the English claim to Canada. The Frenchman Jacques Cartier undertook a series of explorations, mainly along the route of the St Lawrence River during the 1530s and 1540s and he claimed the land for France.
It's the edginess between Canada's indigenous, French and British traditions that gives the nation its complex three-dimensional character. Add to this a constant infusion of US culture and a plethora of traditions brought by migrants, and you have a thriving multicultural society.
Canada is between 3.5 and 8 hours behind GMT depending on where you are in the country. They use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +1.