Horseback Riding in Montana
Horseback Riding in Montana
Horseback Riding in Montana
Horseback Riding in Montana
Horseback Riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback Riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana
Horseback riding in Montana

The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña meaning "mountain". Here, horseback riders can completely lose themselves in the glorious environment and unsurpassed beauty. This equestrian adventure is set at 7000 ft and surrounded by 2 million acres of wilderness, only on 1.5 hours drive from Old Faithful geyser in the Yellowstone National Park. The ranch is very remote and well located for some of the most spectacular scenery of the Rocky Mountains. Horseback pack trips can be arranged before or after the ranch stay.

The ranch is owned by Kameron and Sally Kelsey. They make every effort to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your visit and love sharing their life with friends from all over the world. Guests that stay here say that year after year it feels like “time stands still”.

With 120 Appaloosa and Quarter horses to choose from for beginner, intermediate and advanced horseback riders, this ranch has something for everyone. The Ranch offers excellent fly-fishing streams (both on and off site), a stocked casting pond, and fly-fishing guide for their guests.

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 RB of Grimsby on 19/08/2014

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
The ranch was exceedingly good. 10/10 in all aspects. The quality and guidance was everything I anticipated. They were very approachable.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
I was lucky to get the same horse each day. A steady, experienced horse which was good.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
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What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
0
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
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May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
Any other comments:
Overall impressions: Very good! Ticked all the boxes, and more. It exceeded my expectations, and I was expecting it to be great! The hosts were great, made you feel like guests in their home, rather than clients. Many people go back year after year, which is a testament to the hosts. I would love to go back next year.
Unicorn comments: So pleased you had such a great time Rod - that's you addicted to riding now right? Danni :)

RIDING ABILITY: No previous riding experience is necessary to ride on the ranch. The rides gradually increase in difficulty and time, so no training is needed before riding out.

HORSES AND RIDING: There are usually two daily outrides of about 2 hours daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and during the week there are two full-day rides of about 4-6 hours. The pace depends on the groups' ability. All rides are done on mountain trails with open meadows and small timber trail riding included on most rides.

PACK TRIPS: The pack trip is offered as a part of the rider's stay. An additional fee of $25 per person is payable on site and covers the Forest Service fees. Riders should bring their own sleeping bag and ground pad for the two-day pack trip. There must be a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve people for this activity; the minimum age is 13 years old, 10 years old if accompanied by a parent and has qualified riding ability. Longer custom pack trips are available by prior arrangement.

ACCOMMODATION: The accommodation is in comfortable log cabins, all with their own living area and verandah. The main lodge, where the living and dining areas are situated, is extremely spacious and solid with animal decorations and a huge open fire. This building was built as a movie set and opened by Cary Grant. Mobile phone service is not available at the ranch due to the mountainous location, but there is wireless internet access in the main lodge area for guests.

FOOD: The food is typical ranch style and there is little chance of losing weight here! Family style breakfast meals, lighter lunches and full dinners with a separate childrens menu is available. Beer and wine can be purchased in the ranch store, and a stop will also be made at the local shops on the way from the airport so guests can buy alcohol, western gear or telephone cards they need before heading out to the ranch. There is a cocktail hour every day where the ranch provides ice and mixers while the children are taken care of.

OTHER ACTIVITIES: Apart from the full horseback riding programme with a weekly gymkhana, there are also guided or unguided fly-fishing, soft ball, horseshoes court, children's playground, hay wagon rides, cook outs, an unheated swimming pool, and an evening entertainment programme. A massage therapist is available at an extra charge. For those with rental cars, Yellowstone National Park is on the doorstep and the Old Faithful geyser is a one and a half hour drive away. The ranch supplies a packed lunch which can be enjoyed at one of the many picnic spots along the way. There is a tour company who will pick up at the ranch for a Yellowstone tour called Yellowstone Tour Guides in Big Sky, Montana. There are plenty of activities to keep non-riders amused! The ranch saves one week of the season for quilting parties. Please contact us if you are interested in this.

WILDLIFE: There is a multitude of wildlife on the ranch and in the area. Everything from elk, moose, deer, antelope and small mammals to black bears and grizzly bears may be encountered on rides.

SHOP There is a ranch store on premise for souvenirs and personal purchases. Beer and wine can also be purchased here.

Please note that all the ranch prices are fully inclusive of all taxes, charges and gratuities. 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%), accommodation tax ($1-5/night) and gratuities (12-15% is commonly expected as the staff are paid largely via tips). Our prices include all of the these and are guaranteed not to be affected by currency fluctuations once booked.

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and if you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

Anything written by Nicholas Evans is a brilliant and captivating read, in particular The Horse Whisperer and The Divide.

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.

Horses & Riding

The horses are mainly Quarter horses and with some Quarter Horse cross and Appaloosas and range in size from 14.3hh to 15.3hh. There are about 120 horses on the ranch at any time of which 100 are available for riding. The horses are all ridden in Western tack and the Western riding style is utilised. The horses vary from schoolmasters to responsive. Hints and tips on Western riding will be given particularly on the first day to those with no previous western riding experience. There are usually two , outrides of about 2 hours daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and during the week there are two full-day rides of about 4-6 hours. The pace depends on the groups' ability. All rides are done on mountain trails with open meadows and small timber trail riding included on most rides.


Rider requirements

No previous riding experience is necessary to ride on the ranch. The rides gradually increase in difficulty and time so no training is needed before coming out. There is a weight limit of 225lb (102kg) for riding activities, and pregnant women are not allowed to ride. Children may ride from 6 years, under this age they will have other supervised activities including a lead-around ride if they are capable.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 225 lb/102 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The accommodation is in log cabins of a good standard, all with their own living area and verandah. The main lodge, where the living and dining areas are situated, is extremely spacious and solid with animal decorations and a huge open fire. This building was built as a film set and was opened by Gary Cooper. There are 9 single bedroom cabins, 11 two-bedroom cabins, and one each of three and four bedrooms respectively. Some are close to the main lodge while others are more remote and private. Each cabin has a private bathroom en-suite. The 3 and 4 bed cabins have more bathrooms. There is no television or telephone in the cabins, the ranch telephone can be used with appropriate calling cards if necessary. There is a wireless satellite internet connection available for those bringing their own laptop computers.



Laundry facilities are available. Breakfast is served at the table and offers amongst others eggs to order, breakfast meats, muffins, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, cold and hot cereal, coffee, juices etc Lunch consists of family style dining with dishes served on the table for guests to help themselves - soup, sandwiches, salad, fresh baked bread, and dessert. Coffee, tea, lemonade etc Dinner can include prime rib, halibut, pork tenderloin, and steak, all fresh ingredients, and home baked breads and deserts. Children's meals are created to their tastes. Beer and wine are available for purchase in the ranch store. There is a cocktail hour every day where the ranch provides ice and mixers while the children are taken care of. A guest fridge is provided for adult beverages.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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

You will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need.

You should be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen on or after 1 March 2011, you are normally not eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa.

Passport and Visa 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 should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/united-states

Climate Summary

Typically the night time temperatures drop to the low 40's F and daytime temperatures are usually in the 70'sF but can reach the 80'sF in July and August. This means it is cool enough to sleep under a blanket and pleasant to ride in during the day.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.

BE AWARE: There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the US. The USA Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA.

Medical treatment is expensive and there are no special arrangements for British visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

You should take suitable steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks. There are occasional outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.

Health authorities have classified the USA as having a risk of Zika virus transmission in Florida and a few parts of Texas

You can contact the emergency services by calling 911.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in the USA and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

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 further information on health, visit the Department of Health’s website at: www.dh.gov.uk.

Electricity

In the USA 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).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Camera with plenty of film – it is nigh impossible to video, ride and carry out cattle work simultaneously!
Cameras can be charged every night. There is no mobile phone reception at the ranch (nearest reception is Big Sky or West Yellowstone) but WiFi is available in the main lodge area. A guest phone is available for long distance calls made with either a credit card or calling card. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.

Packing List

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
- Gloves
- Bandana to protect from dust
- Riding Boots/ Cowboy Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
- Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
- Jacket
- Long sleeved shirts
- Fleece
- Casual dinner wear
- Short sleeved shirts
- Sweater
- Sneakers or soft shoes
- Fly-fishing gear
- Rain gear (no ponchos)
- Hat with straps
- Sunscreen
- Chapstick
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding

Beer and wine is available to buy at the ranch store and guests may bring their own. A guest refrigerator is accessible for adult beverages.

Programmes

This is an 7 day / 6 nights programme available from mid June to mid September. Arrivals are on Sundays and departures are on Saturdays.

Two day pack trips are scheduled each week for an additional fee of $25, payable on site. These trips generally go into the Yellowstone high country with a camp on a mountain lake or stream. If you plan on the overnight pack trip, all you will need is a sleeping bag and ground pad - the ranch supplies everything else.

Departure Dates

2024: Sunday to Saturday from 16 June to 24 August (High Season) 25 August to 14 Sept (low season)

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.

Child prices available - please ask your Travel Consultant

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp3,205
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement705
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 6-14, sharing with 2 adults2,749
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 0-5, sharing with 2 adults1,089
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp2,809
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement709
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp3,865
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement849
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 6-14, sharing with 2 adults3,319
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 0-5, sharing with 2 adults1,315
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp3,345
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement849
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp4,339
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement949
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 6-14, sharing with 2 adults3,729
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 0-5, sharing with 2 adults1,479
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp3,755
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement949
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp45,055
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement9,869
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 6-14, sharing with 2 adults38,685
2024 High Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6child 0-5, sharing with 2 adults15,329
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6double pp38,989
2024 Low Season 6 nights Rate7d/6n6single supplement9,869
Recommended Reading

E. Annie Proulx’s three books of Wyoming short stories (“Close Range”, “Bad Dirt”, “Fine just the way it is”)

Mary O’Hara’s “Flicka” triology.

The Virginian” by Owen Wister (a classic one) and

Zane Grey’s Western novels.

C.J. Box (i.e. “Open Season”) and

Craig Johnson (i.e. “The Cold Dish”).

Cowboy poet Baxter Black 

“Where Rivers change Direction”, a memoir by Mark Spragg about life on an early dude ranch.

Where the Rivers Run North” by Sam Morton, a historical novel.

“The Meadow” by James Galwin.

Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans by by T. Fehrenbach 

Discovering Natural Horsemanship: A Beginner's Odyssey by Tom Moates.

.Monty Roberts books, particularly ‘The Horse Whisperer’

Notes From A Big Country by Bill Bryson and

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck.

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


Other Activities

Apart from the full horseback riding programme with a weekly gymkhana, there are also guided or unguided fly-fishing, softball, horseshoes court, children's playground, hay wagon rides, cookouts, an unheated swimming pool, and an evening entertainment program. For an extra charge, a massage therapist is available.
If you have a rental car Yellowstone National Park is on the doorstep with Old Faithful geyser being about a one and a half hour drive. The ranch will give you a packed lunch, which can be enjoyed, at one of the many picnic spots along the way. There is a tour company who will pick up at the ranch for a Yellowstone tour called Yellowstone Tour Guides in Big Sky, Montana.

Wildlife

Like to see some wildlife? The ranch and its surrounding area have quite a selection. Keep your eyes open for elk, moose, deer, badger, mountain lion, coyote, beaver, fox, antelope, wild turkey, eagles and more whether you are on foot or on horseback.

Other Country Information

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: 4G and 5G 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. There is NO cell reception at the ranch, but there is WiFi in our saloon and office. There are still a few rural areas which 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.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Bozeman Airport, USA (BZN)
Transfer:
2024: Return from Bozeman approx. $450 for the first person and $50 for each additional person. Payable on site. (Subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London To Bozeman return from £600pp. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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