Fancy leading the life of a true cowboy? Then this adventurous horse riding holiday is for you! Imagine herding 30-50 young horses up to 20 miles a day across varied terrain; mountains, high desert canyons, forests, meadows and creeks all set within 120,000 acres of private ranch land.
For experienced riders, this popular holiday will be one of the most exciting things you've done on horseback - with long trots and canters most days it can be wet or dry, cold or warm, dry or dusty, fast or slow..in fact anything can happen because this is the real thing! The holiday starts and ends at the ranch house, in simple yet comfortable rooms which are lit by traditional lamps as there is no electricity at the ranch. The hot outdoor shower is a favourite with guests! On the horse drive you will camp each night, bathing in natural springs and eating hearty meals around the campfire before retiring to your tent or to sleep under the bright starry night.
At the ranch or campsite there are plenty of other activities to enjoy when you're not riding: practice your roping with the best in the business or perhaps try your hand on the shooting range. Hiking is also popular of course, where you can discover the beautiful landscapes of Idaho on foot; from the rocky mountains to the shimmering streams and everything in between.
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 SS of London on 13/09/2018
The transfer departs at 3:30pm and you will embark on a scenic 85 mile drive to your remote destination nestled in southeastern Idaho along the Idaho-Montana border and the impressive Continental Divide. Arrive in time for a welcome dinner and introduction to the ranch family, crew and other guests. You will be accommodated for the night in a cabin or bunk room.
Meet your mount and receive your riding instructions. It doesn't matter if you haven't ridden Western style before as today you will spend the day riding through mountain terrain (making sure every rider is confident at a walk, trot, and lope) to build the trust between you and your horse before leaving on the horse drive. Spend the night at the ranch where you can enjoy some of the ranch activities like roping, horse shoes or hiking.
After breakfast you'll pack up enough clothing for 3 full days of riding and camping before rounding up and saddling the horses. You will round-up and drive horses 20 plus miles through desert canyon country. At the end of the day you will end up at Warm Springs. There is not a more welcome site than riding over the ridge with a herd of horses and spotting the chuck wagon and camp. You're going to be tired and dirty after a long day of riding. There is a natural warm spring here and it's the perfect spot to take a nice relaxing bath. You end the day with a hot delicious meal and lots of stories of the day’s adventure. You will be ready to retire for the evening to a nice tent or sleep under the stars if you wish.
You will awake to the smell of coffee brewing over the fire and hot cakes on the griddle! Life just doesn’t get any better than this! If you would like, after breakfast you can take “another quick dip in the spring.” You will help break camp, catch the horses, and be on your way. Today is a slow-paced ride to maneuver across the terrain, from Warm Springs to Weber Creek. Your belongings will be waiting for you here and you can enjoy some camp songs around the fire as the stars come out.
Awake to the sounds of the horses near-by, coffee brewing over the fire and the smell of bacon sizzling! You have traveled over 40 miles and are now in some beautiful back country. You have got to see this! You will leave the herd horses and the camp behind and do a little exploring. There is a beautiful mountain lake just 6 miles from camp and with abundant wildlife around you might just get a close look at a moose, elk or even a bear. Another great adventure is just around the corner, and today you will be sure to find it! Dinner cooked over the open fire will put an end to another perfect day.
After a whole day off with nothing to do, the colts are ready and anxious to get going, so after another great breakfast, you will help break camp, gather and saddle your horse, round up the colts, and get them headed to their final destination. This is another great day of riding and moving horses through some of the most beautiful country you can imagine. By now you definitely know what you are doing and feel confident doing it. You are a cowboy!! You will arrive back to the ranch in late afternoon ready for a hot shower, a cold drink and a warm cookie; reward for a job well done! You will end the day with a farewell dinner, lots of stories and a good night’s rest in your cabin.
After breakfast, the transfer to the airport leaves at 9:30am. You will have memories for a lifetime. When you return to the fast-paced life of the city you will close your eyes, smell the coffee and the fresh mountain air, see yourself riding through the beautiful mountain ranges of Idaho and this will get you through until your next adventure.
Please note that all our ranch prices are fully inclusive of all taxes and charges. Extras that are commonly charged on site at ranches which we include in our prices are: state taxes (2-8%), local town taxes (1-5%) and accommodation tax ($1-5/night), staff gratuity (10%). Our prices include all of the these and are guaranteed not to be affected by currency fluctuations once booked.
The most convenient airport to fly into is Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA), a short 1.5-hour drive to the ranch. Alternatively guests can fly into Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) located in Wyoming, about a 3.25-hour drive to the ranch.
Another option is Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) located in Utah, about a 4.5-hour drive to the ranch. As of May 2016, Delta Airlines will be operating a direct London Heathrow to Salt Lake City flight. From here guests can take a short flight to Idaho Falls airport, ride the Salt Lake Express Bus to Idaho Falls (the SLC Express Bus is a great alternative) or hire a car a drive to the ranch.
We have an extensive range of Western Riding holidays across the world. Please click on the link below to go to our listings page:
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 are around 100 working horses on the ranch which have been bred from Mustang and Quarter Horses. They are well trained, sensible horses whilst at the same time forward going and independent. Western tack is utilised and you will be shown how to tack-up and ride Western if you have not done so before. The horses are used to being ridden in spurs.
For the horse drives riders need to be comfortable at walk, trot and canter and be fit enough to spend 6-8 hours in the saddle on riding days. A sense of adventure and flexibility is also required as anything goes on a horse drive; you could be faced with a variety of weather, terrain and experiences and when on the drive, nights are spent in basic camps under the stars. Riders are expected to help groom and tack up their own horses, as well as assist in meal preparation.
It does not matter if you have not ridden Western before; indeed your hosts believe that having the discipline of riding English style will help you to quickly learn the Western way of riding. There is a chance ride Western style before you go out on the drive.
There is a minimum age of 18 years old on all programmes at the ranch.
The weight limit for this ride is 18 st/250 lb/114 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Accommodation is simple and remains true to the cowboy way of life. There is no electricity at the ranch and rooms are lit by gas lanterns. There are 5 bunkhouse rooms each sleeping 2 guests and there are a further 2 cabins which sleep 3 in each. There is an outside shower with hot water and an outhouse containing the toilet facilities. The bathroom facilities are shared between the guests. All bedrooms are shared and it is not possible to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room. Camping on the horse drive and pack trips is basic. Communal facilities include the cook cabin which houses the kitchen, communal dining room and living room for relaxation. Meals are a hearty cowboy affair with pancakes, eggs, bacon and hash browns to start the day!
The trip is vehicle backed up, so you will be met at night with your luggage. Some luggage can be left safely at the ranch too.
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. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
All travellers are required to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel. For more information, and to apply online please visit the following website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Electronic travel authorities once obtained will be valid for a period of two years, or the validity of the travellers passport (whichever is shorter). There is a $14 charge for this service (2015). Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely to be detained and sent home.
On 5 January 2004, the US Authorities introduced the US-VISIT Programme. This means that all those aged between 14 and 79 travelling to the US are now finger-scanned and digitally photographed on arrival at passport control.
There are British consulates at many locations in the US, please check with the Foreign Office website for your closest one. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 020 7008 0232/0233 or see www.fco.gov.uk
Although the ranch mainly operates from June to September there are certain horse drive dates which run in May and into October. The weather in Spring and Autumn can have highs of between 15-20C and lows of between 0-5C. In the summer months highs can be between 30-35C and lows of usually around 5C.
Although it can get hot by midday, the early mornings and evenings will be cold and it is not unknown for it to still be frozen underfoot in early June. There is also the risk of snow in early October. There is usually little risk of rain although this cannot be ruled out.
No specific health precautions are required for visits to the USA.
Medical treatment can be very expensive; there are no special arrangements for British visitors. The British Embassy and Consulates-General cannot assist with medical expenses.
Comprehensive travel and medical insurance is essential; at least $1,000,000 cover, which includes hospital treatment and medical evacuation to the UK, would be wise. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake including horse riding.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org
There are no specific health requirements, but do bring plenty of sun block!
The voltage is 110V in the USA and you will need a flat blade plug and possibly an adaptor depending on the appliance. Check the voltage input required for mobile phone and digital/video cameras before leaving.
There is no electricity on this holiday! Make sure you take along enough film and batteries to last you for the week. There is no internet access or mobile phone signal at the ranch.
Riding pants - jodphurs, jeans or similar
Riding boots, paddock boots or riding sneakers - must have heel and be comfortable to walk in
Half or Full Chaps
Long-sleeved shirts - lightweight
Riding helmet (recommended for all trips)
Riding Hat with brim
Lightweight rainwear - poncho/slicker (recommended)
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Underwear and socks
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries - bring biodegradable soap if possible to bathe in the creeks and springs!
Antiseptic cream (for an emergency)
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and enough extra films and batteries
Sunglasses with strap
Suntan lotion and lip balm
The ranch provides sleeping bags (with liner), pillows, saddle bags and water bottles (2 or 3 depending how hot it is!). If you prefer, of course, you are welcome to bring your own of any of these items.
Riders will be given each bags for the duration of the horse drive for their personal belongings and they can leave anything safely behind at the ranch they do not need. All bags and gear are transported by the chuck wagon and there is no room for additional luggage or suitcase style luggage.
This is a 7 day/6 night programme with 5 days riding available on set dates throughout the year.
2019: 23 (FULL), 30 (FULL) Jun; 7 (FULL), 14(full), 28 Jul; 4(full), 11(full), 25(full) Aug; 1 (FULL), 8 (FULL), 15(full) Sept.
2020: 18, 25 May; 1, 8, 22, 29 Jun; 6, 13, 27 Jul; 3, 10, 24, 31 Aug; 7, 14 Sept.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019 Horse Drive||7d/6n||5||double pp||1,919|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019 Horse Drive||7d/6n||5||double pp||2,095|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019 Horse Drive||7d/6n||5||double pp||2,349|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019 Horse Drive||7d/6n||5||double pp||22,475|
Monty Roberts particularly ‘The Horse Whisperer’.
For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com
Also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com
Apart from the extensive riding programmes guests can also fish in the nearby creeks and lakes which contain Rainbow Trout and Cut Throat Trout. Fishing equipment can be provided by the ranch.
Guests may also hike and take in the blissful peace of wild and mountainous Idaho.
Like to see some wildlife? The ranch and its surrounding area have quite a selection. Keep your eyes open for deer, elk, moose, antelope, bear, badgers, coyotes, ground hogs, hawks, bald eagles, golden eagles, sand hill cranes, sage hens and pine grouse.
There is also an abundance of beautiful flora, including sage, wildflower, willows, indian paintbrush, buttercups, wild daises, Douglas Fir, Lodge Pole Pine, juniper and mahogany.
The ranch is family owned and operated, having been in the family for 50 years - cowboying is what they know and what they do best! The elevation of the ranch land is from 6,400ft to 10,000ft so some degree of acclimatisation will be required.
It is essential to approach this holiday with an open mind and be ready for the challenges of life as a cowboy - you will become part of the ranch crew and work with real cowboys learning the time-honoured skills of riding Western, roping, working cattle and training horses. In return you can expect to be made part of the family and your hosts will take great pride in sharing their lifestyle with you - as they like to say 'the lantern will be on and the coffee hot!'
Alcohol is not provided at the ranch but you are welcome to take your own along for the week.
The USA has 4 main times zones - Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST) and Pacific Standard Time (PST).
Vermont is on EST, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah are all on MST, California is on PST.
Weights and measures are imperial although weight is always expressed in pounds, not stone. The US gallon is 3.8 litres in contrast to an imperial gallon which is 4.2 litres.
Mobile telephone: In 2015 3G is widely available throughout the US in cities, towns, villages and along main highways with AT&T having the best overall coverage and T-mobile offering better speeds in cities. 4G is beginning to be available in cities. There are still a few rural areas which have no GSM reception but do have the older CDMA telephone networks. To be able to call from these areas we recommend buying a cheap Verizon phone from eg Walmart (from $13) and topping up with credit. Almost all hotels and airports offer free wifi connection.