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6 Ways to Fit In on the Dude Ranch

6 Ways to Fit In on the Dude Ranch

Staying on a dude ranch can be a bit of a culture shock, especially if you aren’t used to a fairly rugged way of life, but given the frontiersman style traditions valued by these places, the last thing you want to do is look like completely ridiculous in your new surroundings. Follow these six tips and you’ll significantly raise your chances of blending in.

Time Your Dude Ranch Visit

The best times to visit a ranch are April through May and September through October. June through August tends to be the high season. In addition to the better rates in April through May and September through October, you’ll be able to enjoy your stay quite a bit more thanks to the cooler temperatures.

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Don’t Try to Prove Anything

One of the biggest mistakes that you can do is assume that this is easy and you can do anything. Stop and take a minute to learn the values and customs, along with the skills. Lassoing is fairly difficult, it’s not something that you can just pick up and master in a few seconds.

The same goes for riding a horse: Every horse is different, so you shouldn’t just expect to throw a saddle on a horse and take off. If you’ve never ridden a horse, don’t worry about it too much—most ranches have horses for those with different skill levels. Ask for advice on which horse to take, especially if you’ve never ridden one before. These ranches tend to offer rides two times a day, and they’re usually about two hours long, but you should really limit yourself to two hours instead of four. Four hours on a saddle can be quite painful if you aren’t used to it.

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You should also make an effort to understand the different types of riding that there are. Most ranch horses are trained for Western-style riding, which means that the saddle is a little bit larger and more comfortable. Reins are held in one hand rather than two, which leaves a hand completely free for lassoing or taking pictures and video.

Take a Deep Breath and Relax

Even though you may be nervous about riding a horse, you should try to relax. This isn’t the horse’s first time around the trail, and it certainly won’t be its last. Furthermore, horses can detect body language, so if you’re nervous, the horse is going to sense that. Keep your eyes on the trail and keep your nerves calm. You’ll get through this just fine.

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Get the Right Wardrobe

The wardrobe you have now isn’t going to cut it, so be sure to grab some durable men’s western workwear before going to the ranch. This includes fleece hooded jackets, boots, and pants. While most ranches usually supply cowboy boots and riding helmets, it’s never safe to assume that they will. Buy some in your size and don’t worry about what they have. Since you’re going to be out in the sun all day, it would be wise of you to get a wide-brimmed hat and some sunscreen.

Keep Your Balance

This relates to relaxing—you need to remain balanced while riding the horse. Having good posture in the saddle will reduce the pain you’re having from riding on the saddle. If you’re leaning to one side or the other, you’ll have discomfort. When going up a steep slope, you need to shift your center of gravity forward. When you’re going down a slope, you’ll do the opposite and shift your center of gravity back. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.

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Control the Horse

Unless you establish some semblance of control, horses will tend to do what they want to do; some horses just want to be in the lead or act aggressively to other horses. Try to keep a horse length between you and the horse in front of you. Notice the horse’s actions. If the horse has its ears back, it’s either uncomfortable or irritated about something. It could be the way you’re sitting or holding the reigns, or it could be because other horses are nearby. Both of those situations are easily fixed, however, if you’re paying the proper attention.

Even if it’s not your first time to a ranch, you could benefit by utilizing some of these tips. It’s important that you don’t over-do it with cliché items and pretend to be something that you’re not. Be mindful and respectful of their way of life. When riding on horses, use common sense along with these tips to have a nice ride.

Now have your say: Have you ever been to a dude ranch? If so, what was your experience like? What did you do to prepare for your journey on the ranch?

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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