By Ruth Daly, Marketing Director at Ranch Rider.
The “Me Too” movement has sent ripples through every industry, women feeling more empowered than ever before and eager to take charge of every aspect of their lives. This newfound sense of self-worth has even trickled down to the travel industry in the form of women-only holidays, with female-friendly adventures growing in popularity.
Numerous ranches across North America offer weeks specifically tailored to the fairer sex. Filled with challenges from learning to rope cattle to archery, it’s the sense of achievement that really sets these holidays apart from others. In just a week, even if you are starting out as a beginner, you can progress quite quickly as there are lessons, both group and private, available at most ranches.
What’s nice about the “all-girl” camaraderie is that horse-mad women can get together to have a fantastic holiday without the worry of traveling solo, and enjoy the thrill of riding western style in North America. I remember the first time I traveled solo to a ranch, I was really excited but also a little bit apprehensive and asking myself, “Would my riding be good enough for the working ranch?” Anyway, all that worry was needless, because I had a great time – and being able to opt for an all-girls week is even more appealing.
In my time as Director of Marketing for Ranch Rider I have visited over 50 ranches, some in North America and others in Africa, but if you’re looking to get your cowgirl fix, here are some great places to hit the trail.
From the 14th to the 20th of October, the guests at Montana’s Bar W Guest Ranch will be all female, the six-night “cowgirl week” a popular annual event. The schedule includes horseback riding, roping, a full day’s cattle drive and line dancing. Relaxing spa treatments and a Vintner’s wine presentation round off the week, making this the ideal girl break away.
This year, Arizona’s White Stallion Guest Ranch launched its “Cactus Cowgirls” special. The ranch holiday combines stays at the White Stallion and the Tombstone Monument Ranch — horseback rides, chuck wagon breakfasts, archery and shooting complemented by daily sightseeing. Giving cowgirls a cultural and historical taster of the destination they are visiting, trips to Tumacacori (the oldest Jesuit mission site in Southern Arizona), the thriving art community of Tubac, the Kartchner Caverns (Arizona’s newest state park) and the Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo are included in the eight-night cowgirl adventure.
Don’t worry if you missed the late August departure as it’s an annual week and there are further January, February and April 2019 departures based at the White Stallion Guest Ranch — for example, the “Cowgirl Rodeo Week,” the horseback adventure including plenty of riding with team penning, a breakfast ride and a wine & cheese ride, plus all the thrills and spills of the local rodeo to boot.
A riding holiday where you can give back, the Triple Creek Resort Ranch’s five-night “Klicks for Chicks” Montana adventure departs on the 10th of October. The ranch will donate a $1 for every mile ridden by every cowgirl as the ranch sponsors the non-profit Summit for Parkinson’s foundation, in order to raise funds and awareness in the community. Each day, you will venture into deep canyons, over mountain passes, past crystal clear lakes and through pristine meadows to discover the “last frontier” and wilds of the Rocky Mountain West — cocktails, gourmet food and luxury cabins awaiting you at the end of the trail.
Ruth is Marketing Director at Ranch Rider, an independent specialist selling a collection of handpicked riding holidays. She is also the proud owner of Kizzy, a 14.2 color cob mare, so riding horses is very much part of her lifestyle. When Ruth is not looking at campaigns and up and coming destinations for horseback adventures, you will almost always find her in out and about with her horse, although these days Kizzy is retired from show jumping and cross-country so it’s more about sponsored rides, including the sponsored ride during the Burghley Horse Trials and leisurely hacks around the countryside.
For more information on ranch holidays for cowgirls visit Ranch Rider at ranchrider.com, follow them on Facebook and Instagram at @RanchRiderHolidays or catch up with the specialist tour operator on Twitter @RanchRider.
Outside of North America, Ranch Rider offers riding holidays in Argentina, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and more recently Tanzania – cantering alongside giraffe in South Africa, tracking the Big Five on horseback in Botswana, riding across the wilds of Tanzania and Namibia (some trails inaccessible by anything other than a horse) and saddling up with the Gauchos (the world’s very first cowboys) in Argentina offering plenty of contrast for equestrians.