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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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