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from £2,020 or €2,375

Horse Riding Holidays USA – Bitterroot Ranch, Wyoming

Bitterroot Ranch has been personally vetted by Zara and Jill (as have all our Horse Riding Holidays USA). We do this to ensure that the quality of the horse riding, accommodation, food and scenery combine to provide only the best Horse Riding Holidays in the USA for our clients.

Don’t forget our Horse Riding Holidays GUARANTEE. You won’t find any of our Horse Riding Holidays in the USA at a lower price through any other source… and if you do we will refund the difference.

PRICES & DATES top

Bitterroot Ranch

PRICES 2017

This ride is suitable for intermediates to experienced riders. Suitable for non-riders. Suitable for children. Rates are quoted per person sharing, 7 nights. (note single supplement is mandatory at this ranch if you are booking as a solo traveller.  A 10% mandatory gratuity is also added to final invoices)

  • 7 Nights – £2,020/€2,375/$2,500
  • Children 4-15 – 25% discount
  • Non-riders – £1,215/€1,425/$1,500
  • Fall Cattle Roundup – £2,020/€2,375/$2,500
  • Cattle Range Weeks – £2,100/€2,470/$2,600

Includes – All the riding except on Sundays, accommodation, meals, drinks, wine with dinner, fishing, taxes & service charge.

Excludes – Flights & transfers

DATES 2017

The ranch is open from the 24th May to the 4th October, rides run from Sunday to Sunday.
Fall Cattle Roundup 24 Sep – 1 Oct
Cattle Range Weeks 9-16 & 23-30 July, 6-13 Aug , 3-10 Sep

Getting There
Flights to Jackson Hole or Riverton.

Transfer
A 1 and half hour transfer from Riverton or 2 and half hour transfer from Jackson Hole. We can easily arrange a return transfer to meet & greet you on arrival or you may want to hire a car and drive.

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our Terms & Conditions for full details.

 

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

If you are looking for a quality ranch holiday experience with serious horse riding in the states with wonderful scenery, hosts and horses, you can’t beat Bitterroot Ranch in Wyoming. Owned and run by the Fox family since 1971, this genuine ranch offers a broad range of ranch holiday activities including riding lessons with certified instructors, a cross country jumping course for experienced riders, team sorting, herding cows in the national forest, cattle drives, roundups, and pack trips.

In the heart of Americas Marlboro country, Bitterroot Ranch is a place of outstanding beauty and the trail rides go out in every direction, they offer cantering on open plains, winding through pine and aspen forests, clambering up rocky gorges and crossing rushing streams that pour out of the mountains. At Bitterroot Ranch you may even catch a glimpse of the natural wild animals game that frequent the area and include Antelope, mule deer, elk, coyotes, and the occasional bear! You’ll hear and ride out to John Waynes gorge and visit Butch Cassidys hide out cabin.

Bitterroot Ranch is an honest working cattle ranch as well as a dude ranch and you will have frequent opportunities for cattle drives with their 200 head of Scottish Angus and 20 head of Highland cows and roundups during the summer months when the  Bitterroot Ranch cows are grazing in the adjacent national forest. This is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which is the largest wild area left in the lower 48 states, providing a vast expanse of unspoiled country. You can try your hand at cutting cows in weekly team sorting competitions, a practice involving teamwork between horse and rider and provides a new dimension to the riding experience.

The Bitterroot Ranch brood mares produce a new crop of friendly foals each spring and guests often enjoy interacting with them too – truly there is never a dull moment on the ranch and you will be fully immersed in the day to day life of a Wyoming rancher.

THE RIDING top

Bitterroot Ranch Horses – A herd of some 150 horses – Quarter Horses, Mustangs, Percherons, Appaloosas, Icelandic Horses & crosses, plus homebred Arabians.

Level of Riding & Pace – Beginner to Advanced.

Tack – Western.

Weight Restriction – 200 lbs / 90 kgs / 14 stone.

Bitterroot Ranch Group Size – Maximum 12.

ACCOMMODATION top

Bitterroot Ranch has a series of traditional style log cabins with wood burning stoves, designed with authenticity in mind, keeping the rustic charm of a the bygone cowboy era at Bitterroot Ranch. The main lodge where guests gather for meals and to socialise features a large stone fireplace and broad porch, the perfect setting in which to enjoy your ranch holiday experience and to talk with new friends.

The food is excellent at Bitterroot Ranch – salads are picked fresh from the garden, bread is baked in the kitchen ovens and the beef and lamb are ranch-raised to ensure their quality. Below is a taster of their menus.

Breakfast at Bitterroot Ranch – Eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausages and toast. Also on offer is fresh fruit, muffins, cereal, orange juice and traditional steel cut oats which are cooked overnight (a house favourite).

Lunch at Bitterroot Ranch – Rainbow, Cutthroat or Brown Trout, (fresh from the line of Bayard or his guests!) baked in White Wine, Almonds and Parsley, Sun Dried Tomato, Feta and Thyme Quiche, Roast Butternut Squash Soup with Home Baked Olive Rosemary Bread, Organic Home Grown Green Salad with Arugula, Beet Leaves and Frisee Lettuce, Twice Baked Cheddar Soufflé, Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberry Sauce and Lemon Hazelnut Biscotti.

Dinner at Bitterroot Ranch – Organic Home Reared Natural Beef Fillet with Rosemary and Garlic Roast Potatoes, Fresh Vegetables and a Red Wine Jus, Stuffed Pumpkin with Wild Rice and Mushroom Risotto, Honey Baked Ham with Cheese and Parsley Baked Potatoes and Sugar Glazed Carrots, Organic Home Reared Natural Lamb Chops with Roast Vegetables and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Seared Fillet of Salmon with Lemon Dill Hollandaise, Steamed Asparagus and Braised Portobello Mushrooms, Belgian Chocolate Pots, Fresh Raspberry and Blueberry Millefeuille.

We have travelled the world testing a huge variety of horse riding holidays to make sure we offer you, our client, the best horse riding holiday experience possible.

Our horse riding holidays are thoroughly researched – we consider all the elements that go towards making our horse riding holidays collection the best in the world. We check the quality of the horses, if they are fit for the job, well produced and looked after. We make sure the riding terrain is good going, the countryside is interesting and, for example, on Classic Dressage horse riding holidays, the arenas are in good condition. We make sure the accommodation, whether it’s a five star hotel, a farmhouse or camping, is clean and comfortable, and offers a great night’s sleep. The food is all important too – we take the time to make sure we tell you if it’s cordon bleu, home cooked, or regional and locally sourced – above all it has to be delicious, plentiful and nourishing. Last but not least, we choose the horse riding holidays that have the best hosts, who are friendly, warm and welcoming.

It’s only when all these elements come together that we add a horse riding holiday into our hand-picked collection of horse riding holidays.

Horse Riding Holidays at Bitterroot Ranch are part of the collection of Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays USA.

Please Ask About

Throughout the year there are also some other very unique activities happening at the ranch:

  • Fall Cattle Round-up – 24 Sep – 1 Oct (£1,595 per person sharing)
  • Donna Snyder Smith Clinic / Centred Riding – 1 – 8 June (£1,810 per person sharing)
  • Anna Twinney Clinic / Reach Out to Horses – 8 – 15 June (£1,520 per person sharing)
  • Sue Falkner-March Clinic / Centred Riding – 17 – 24 August (£1,895 per person sharing)

SAMPLE ITINERARY top

Bitterroot Ranch provides a top quality, sophisticated ranch holiday experience best suited for those who are serious about their horse riding, whether you’re beginner or advanced.

Horse riding is the central activity at the Bitterroot Ranch where many of the horses have been raised and trained. A herd of about 135 horses under saddle for an average 25 guests makes it easy to provide suitable horses in top condition for all the guests throughout the season, no matter what their level of experience.

On most days at Bitterroot Ranch guests ride out for two or three hours in the morning and return for lunch. After a break, they ride out on another trail on a fresh horse in the afternoon. Guests usually ride three different horses during the week. Rides are kept small and guests are grouped according to ability. A family of differing abilities can choose to ride together at the speed of the least skilled, or go with another group more suited to their level.

Video taped lessons are also available at Bitterroot Ranch on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for riders wishing to improve their skills. On Friday afternoons there is a friendly team sorting competition, which provides an introduction to working cattle. A final all day picnic ride is scheduled for Saturday. In July, August and September this often includes moving cattle to different parts of grazing in the National Forest.

Non-riders are also catered for with excellent fishing nearby.

Here’s a recent review about Bitterroot Ranch from Michael Kallenbach, London Evening Standard

Cowboy junkies: Saddling up in Wyoming by Michael Kallenbach (Published: 14 March 2014)

I am in the heart of America’s Marlboro Country, taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery and getting the chance to see it from a different horse each day. If only I owned a cowboy hat, a pair of tasselled chaps, a plaid shirt and a leather waistcoat, I could imagine myself as John Wayne — this part of the Rockies where I am spending five days on horseback is his territory. Instead, for health and safety reasons, I’m in a hard riding hat, a pair of gloves to prevent blisters, a long-sleeved shirt and my regular worn-out jodhpurs.

Were I not on horseback, I doubt there would ever be a chance to experience such a panorama. I feel almost possessive, as if somehow all this, and the horse I’ve been allocated for the ride, belong to me and that I actually want to own some of this territory. I am able to take it all in without giving a thought to the heat on my back because my horse, an Arab, is sure-footed — they all are — and knows precisely what to do. They are undoubtedly more at ease on this terrain than I would be on foot.

Just above the Bitterroot Ranch, where I’ve come to experience riding in America’s Wild West, you can look down on to the fork of Wyoming’s Wind river, which curls around the ranch. The nearby place names of Buffalo Draw and Bone Lake bring back memories of Westerns and as well as John Wayne Gorge, there is Butch Cassidy’s cabin. Legends about the bank robber are plentiful and the cabin he used as a hideout was discovered here some years ago. Now it is part of one of the regular trails, but with rides of up to three or more hours offered twice a day, there are many opportunities to explore different landscapes. Although I’m riding in a small group, I’d actually rather be alone: just me, my horse and this extraordinary sense of freedom and exhilaration.

It’s not easy to find the Bitterroot Ranch and there are no passers-by who just drop in for coffee, a chat or perhaps even to chew a bit of tobacco. The nearest town is Dubois and if you miss Bitterroot Ranch, you are in the two-and-a-half-million-acre Shoshone National Forest. The signpost to the ranch is barely visible and to get to it, you have to drive along a 16-mile dirt road after a three-hour drive from the airport at Jackson Hole.

Bayard and Mel Fox have been running the ranch for more than 40 years, and this is where they met. Mel, who grew up in East Africa, came to work for Bayard as a wrangler on the ranch and not only fell in love with the horses, but with Bayard, too. He is originally from Pennsylvania. Growing up he used to see his father, a family doctor, go to work by horse each day. Now their son Richard and daughter-in-law Hadley, an ex-Yale medical student, are involved, too. But even though Bayard is 84, there’s no talk of retirement. When he’s not leading a group on horseback, he’s taking guests fishing for trout. At sunset, before dinner, he’s the first on the wooden deck to enjoy a glass of chilled white wine and regale guests with his adventures as a former CIA agent (but that’s another story).

The guests at Bitterroot Ranch are a mixed bunch, with varied riding capabilities. They are mostly Americans, but there’s also a tourist from Bath, an Israeli lawyer who lives in Los Angeles and a Parisian family with four teenage children who are all beginners. On the first day, Mel gives us a short ‘test’ in an outdoor arena and then we are divided up into beginners, intermediate and advanced.

Octavia Pollock gave up living in London and her job at Country Life magazine to spend some months working as a wrangler and guide at Bitterroot. She hunts regularly with the Clifton-on-Teme pack in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, and was told that going to a ‘dude ranch’ was one of the thousand things that one must do before one dies. It’s her first week here and several of the guests comment on her brightly painted red fingernails, the result of her recent stay in San Francisco. But Octavia is aware that her daily duties of mucking out the stables and tacking up horses will mean that her city look will soon disappear.

The wranglers who spend their summers here are not leathery tobacco-chewing types, but rather college graduates who have been brought up on ranches. Luckily for them, the ranch has a Wi-Fi connection — although there is no mobile reception — and during their spare time they huddle under a tree looking for a good connection to the internet.

Rides at Bitterroot Ranch are led by Mel, Bayard, Richard or Hadley, with a wrangler at the back. There are about 180 horses, mostly Arabs and quarter Arabs, on the ranch, of which 130 are in work, making it possible for the 25 guests to have a different horse on each ride. One morning, Mel arranged for me to take part in a mini cross-country ride, with about 40 jumps. Unlike riding in the UK where one holds on to the reins, Mel tells me to let go and hold tightly on to the horse’s mane. I did exactly that, but wondered afterwards what my riding teacher back in Wiltshire, Olympic medal-winning eventer Jonelle Richards, would think of it.

There’s no pressure to go out for the afternoon ride as well. Fishing, or just resting your aching muscles, is quite acceptable. The ranch also has 200 or more head of Scottish Highland cattle, and part of the trip is going on a ‘round-up’ led by Richard. It was nothing like my idea of a bit of cantering, with the cattle obediently obeying commands. In fact, it proved to be the most tiring experience of the week, with five wranglers helping us move the cattle — not listening to us and not moving either — from one ravine to the next. Eventually, several of us had to break branches off trees and use them to nudge the animals along.

On the way to our picnic lunch, Richard obviously felt we needed to be rewarded. He spotted a patch of wild strawberries. Gallantly, he jumped off his horse and picked a handful for each of us. I had never thought of wild strawberries in Wyoming, but needless to say, they were delicious. But you don’t come here for the wild strawberries or the creature comforts — even though one guest shouted out at dinner on our first night, ‘Where’s the spa?’ — you come for the wilderness.

DESTINATION MAP top

Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

 

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USA Holidays Testimonials

Laraine Binnie on Bitterroot Ranch, USA

I had an amazing, fabulous holiday and I would just like to thank you so much for organizing everything to perfection for Mandy and myself! It really was living my dream holiday! I don't think I have come back to reality yet! Mel and family and staff were wonderful hosts! Food was superb and the

Laraine Binnie from Scotland