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Restore and inspire yourself with time centered on horses, horsemanship, and riding! Rocking Z Guest Ranch prides themselves on matching horses and people to the best of their ability so that both the horse and rider are happy and comfortable. Rocking Z Guest Ranch doesn't believe it's possible to enjoy a riding holiday without enjoying the horse you're riding, so Rocking Z Guest Ranch will take care all of the guests' horses to ensure that they are personable, mature, responsive animals, each with their own unique attributes. Let's ride, play, dine, laugh, rest, and develop your natural horsemanship!
Rocking Z Guest Ranch's accommodations are super comfortable, with spacious en-suite rooms complete with a natural gas fireplace (excepting the lodge rooms), chairs, and some rooms have an air-conditioning. The rooms are huge and the beds very comfortable. Enjoy a truly peaceful night, with nothing breaking the silence except the sounds of nature.
There are two guest buildings referred to as the Lower and Upper because one is up a small rise. Both buildings have four en-suite rooms, all possessing their own natural gas fireplace. Each room is named after a local historical figure. The Upper building is attached to the guest laundry facility and the outdoor hot tub and has a view of the mountains of the field, while the Lower building has an air-conditioning and overlooks several of the horse corrals.
Rocking Z Guest Ranch's spacious rooms are all en-suite and incredibly comfortable. They even have extra-long beds to accommodate tall people. Each room has its own seating area. Excepting the lodge rooms, the rooms are warmed by their own natural gas fireplaces.
Everyone at Rocking Z Guest Ranch wears two hats - one for working on the ranch, and one for working on the guest ranch. Usually, Rocking Z Guest Ranch operates under both of these hats at the same time, but this area is focused on giving you insight to what the ranch hat means. With 75 horses, 45 head of cattle, and multiple dogs and cats, there are a lot of chores to do.
In the winter, all the animals need to be fed daily. In the summer, all the animals need to be on good pasture and the pasture needs to be managed. Additionally, hay must be grown, irrigated, cut and baled to prepare for the coming winter. All jobs on the ranch are seasonal, but the core remains the same; animals need to eat and be safe, and so do people. Montana is beautiful, but where Rocking Z Guest Ranch is, there isn't a lot of rain. That means that making sure water troughs are filled and that irrigation is working are high order tasks.
Please tell Rocking Z Guest Ranch what you want. Rocking Z Guest Ranch is happy to teach roping in the morning, barrel racing all afternoon, or go out for a six-hour fast ride and finish the day with liberty work in the round corral. It is hard to describe without experiencing it, but Rocking Z Guest Ranch works hard to make sure that each person gets what they want out of each day.
Once all guests have gone through our orientation upon arrival, the group's activities are up to you. Your days on the ranch will be spent on long rides, short rides, cattle work, arena work, ground work, playing at liberty, playing in the creek, and generally relaxing so much that you sleep very well at night after dinner.
The horses at the Rocking Z Guest Ranch are all trained or re-trained on site. Many were bred and raised on-site, and all are known individually by the head wranglers on the ranch. There are over 70 horses on the ranch, from new foals to retired masters. The herd is full of many breeds, dominantly Quarter horses but also Mustangs, Belgians, Morgans, and many cross breeds. All are trained using natural horsemanship and are excellent at building relationships with their humans. The skill level of the herd encompasses every age and every difficulty. Each horse is as individual as each human, and they have needs and likes just like you do. Some can teach, others like to be told what to do, and still, others just want to play with the people.
This is the motto Rocking Z Guest Ranch lives by. Ranching and farming culture reuses everything that it possibly can, from used horseshoes becoming bridle racks, to old barn wood becoming beautiful picture frames; Rocking Z Guest Ranch reuses even the humblest of things. Here are a few of the things that Rocking Z Guest Ranch does in order to conserve both their finances and environment.
Cattle working at Rocking Z Guest Ranch is focused both on horsemanship and on stockmanship. For the horse, their nature is to chase and follow one another in the herd for dominance. This transfers to dominating cattle, or herding, seamlessly. As for the stockmanship, Rocking Z Guest Ranch will teach you how to gauge the cattle's intentions in order to herd them precisely and confidently.
Here at Rocking Z Guest Ranch, they raise Corriente cattle for roping and horse training. These cattle are quick and challenging. They are the primary breed of cattle used in rodeos, and Rocking Z Guest Ranch trains them for rodeos through their yearling up to three-year-old years. These cattle are unique and their habits are sometimes more similar to deer than to Hereford or Angus cattle.
Working these cattle is a fantastic experience. They love to run and to be worked fast. For gaining experience, they are perfect because you can work with your horse for quite some time while your horse is focused and locked on. Cattle become a moving focus for the horse and following your focus is the goal of training with cattle. The result of this training is that you will feel yourself riding the horse and controlling their moves and speed with your eyes.
Often called lassoing, roping is vital to understanding why a "Western" trained horse is trained as he is. Western horses need to be a partner, a teammate who can be relied upon to do his or her job while you do your part. Roping is the essence of why it is so important that our type of horses become mature, dependable partners. Rocking Z Guest Ranch will start you on the ground, and if over the time you have the skill and the desire, Rocking Z Guest Ranch will also teach how to rope from the back of a horse.
The main activity on the ranch is horse riding. Anywhere from one hour to eight hours of your day with Rocking Z Guest Ranch can be on the back of a horse. Rocking Z Guest Ranch adjust the rides to meet the needs of their guests day by day. Some riding is across vast mountain tops, where you can canter for miles. Another riding is up beautiful trails opening up to a stunning vista. Some riding is slow and some can be very fast. Best of all, it can be whatever your riding level and fitness need it to be as long as the horse still comes first.
Your guides, which will very often include a member of the family, will judge the terrain and the horse's health every moment of the ride and keep everyone informed of all their options. It is important to Rocking Z Guest Ranch that each of the horses will go the speed you ask - if two people want to canter, one person wants to trot, and two people want to walk, the horses are trained to be happy to leave, stay, be alone, and go at the requested pace. If you're unsure, Rocking Z Guest Ranch will teach you every step of the way to independently control your horse so that you don't feel as though he or she is "just following" but instead that the pair of you can work as a team.
Rocking Z Guest Ranch offers a huge variety of groundwork to play with their horses. By utilizing Pat Parelli's "Seven Games of Natural Horsemanship", Rocking Z Guest Ranch can teach you how to connect with a horse using his or her own language. All of the horses are trained using these methods and, as Pat says in his principle number seven, "Horses teach humans and humans teach horses." Rocking Z Guest Ranch regularly brings in cattle in order to work the horses and so that people can learn to work with the herd. Working cattle is vital to the way in which western horses are trained, and experiencing it is the best way to understand our way of riding while having a ton of fun.
Coming on a riding holiday can be daunting. Whether you are a very experienced rider, afraid of being placed on an ancient slow animal, or a complete beginner, afraid of taking on more than you can handle - it is a big decision to trust that a stranger will put you on the right horse. It is important to Rocking Z Guest Ranch that you are matched with an animal that is safe but fun and just challenging enough to be interesting. You can be bold and brave here, as Rocking Z Guest Ranch listens to what you want and do our best to match.
Additionally, there are many trails to either go walking or hiking on the property. Rocking Z Guest Ranch has eagles, sand-hill cranes, and blue herons to observe as well as killdeer, curlew, and many more. In the evening, a short walk can provide photo opportunities of hundreds of muley and whitetail deer foraging in our hay field. In addition, if you are very quiet, you can walk around and observe beaver, muskrats, marmots, coyotes, fox, bear and, rarely, mountain lions and wolves.
Moreover, at the ranch buildings there is a saloon complete with a pool table and card table, a volleyball net, and, of course, the hot tub. During the heat of the day, you are welcome to dip in the creek, which is quite clean and has a solid bedrock bottom. At some evenings, you will have a campfire and sing songs, which is always a treat.
Anna has an MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, in which she received a Distinction with her dissertation upon Medieval Farriery. Anna is also a certified Anma Amatsu practitioner and gives clinics and lessons by request in natural horsemanship. She believes that horses and humans should both have fun at least 90 percent of the time, and if it's not fun for both of you then something has gone awry. She is obsessed with learning as much as she can about the history of the horse, in the hopes that it will be able to make the future better and more stable for horses and humans.
Maria Anderson is dedicated to learning and truly developing horses to their potential. She has already passed her Level 4 Freestyle through the Parelli Foundation. Maria and her husband, Ben, love starting colts from never having been touched and developing them into working horses. Together they team rope and raise roping cattle, care for the whole herd of horses, and care for and teach clients year round.
Ben and Maria Anderson are dedicated to learning and truly developing horses to their potential. Ben has a degree in Equine Science. Ben and Maria love starting colts from never having been touched and developing them into working horses. Together they team rope and raise roping cattle, care for the whole herd of horses, and care for and teach clients year round.
This vacation will take place in Montana which is located in the USA and shares a 545 mile-long border with Canada. The Rocking Z Guest Ranch is in the western half of Montana and is central north-to-south. Helena is the state capital of Montana and is just 30 minutes' drive south of the ranch.
TheRocking Z Guest Ranch is equidistant from Glacier National Park in the north and Yellowstone National Park in the south of the state. These parks are truly two of the most spectacular and unique places on Earth, and if you are interested in seeing wildlife, an incredible natural phenomenon like Old Faithful or Triple Falls, and the best scenery in the world, Rocking Z Guest Ranch highly recommends you visiting the parks.
Mornings are relaxed here. At around 6 a.m., coffee is on, and a pot of tea is always flowing by 6.30 a.m. Rocking Z Guest Ranch serves American coffee as well as a selection of teas, including proper Yorkshire and Tetley's English Breakfast, as well as a selection of herbal teas, so whatever you fancy you can pop a teabag in the pot and enjoy a cup. Dry foods are laid out, so if you're peckish before breakfast you can help yourself. Rocking Z Guest Ranch's lodge is relaxed, cozy, and inviting as well as being always open - even at 3 a.m. when jet lag has you needing a brew.
Breakfast starts at 8 a.m. with mountains of pancakes and a variety of bacon and eggs as well as fresh fruit and yogurt. Juice, hot beverages, and food keep coming until you're ready for the day ahead. Lunch is a varied occasion. Sometimes it is a sandwich and fruit on the trail with a bottle of water. When possible, it is cooked over a fire when out and about by Maria. Often it is a dinner-type meal in the lodge with cookies. When the lunch is at the lodge, it is usually accompanied by a respite before getting back in the saddle.
Dinner is served around 6.30 p.m. and is family-style. Everyone eats together, so it is a great time to go over the day and have a laugh. The meals are varied - it could be brisket that's been smoked for 24 hours served with barbecue-baked beans and cornbread or lasagna with fresh-baked garlic bread. Rocking Z Guest Ranch even randomly does a Mexican night with enchiladas or fajitas, corn on the cob, and margaritas for the adults.
For alternative diets, Rocking Z Guest Ranch has a variety of options such as meatless lasagna with zucchini (also called courgette) or polenta and six-hour bean sauce, and many more. Just be sure to let Rocking Z Guest Ranch knows your dietary needs and they will do our best.
Drinks are included in your package, with beer on tap in the saloon and wine at the lodge. You are welcome to take your drinks with you in plastic cups into the hot tub or anywhere around the ranch. You are also welcome to bring liquors and mixers to the ranch, as Rocking Z Guest Ranch only serves liquor that goes with a particular meal. Soft drinks are also all included.
Please book your flight to arrive at Helena Regional Airport (HLN) or Great Falls International Airport (GTF). Transfer from and to these airports is available upon request.
The nearest airports are Helena Regional Airport (HLN) and Great Falls International Airport (GTF). Both airports receive connections from Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Minnesota. The nearest direct-flight airport from Europe is Calgary, Alberta, just six hours stunning drive north of the ranch. Rocking Z Guest Ranch offers transfer services from and to Helena for free on Sunday at 11.30 a.m. (pick-up) and Saturday at 10.30 a.m. (departure). They also offer transfer services at any other time for the price of 175 USD round-trip from Helena and 225 USD round-trip from Great Falls (price is per vehicle).
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