Photography Workshop with Triple Creek Ranch

Published by Jody on January 16 2012 21:46 in
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Photography Workshop - Thursday, February 9 through Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winter is celebration time at Triple Creek Ranch, with outdoor fun and indoor elegance at every turn of the skis, every stride of the horse and every clink of the wineglass. Revel in the splendid northern Rocky Mountain scenery and marvel at the beautiful 'blue light' of winter while immersing yourself in mountain luxury.

On-staff, professional instructor, Jared Lucas, will guide guests as they capture Montana's vistas, record wildlife safaris and make precious mementos of the blue tinted gloaming which follows a wintry mountain sunset. Guests are welcome to use Triple Creek Ranch's CANON Rebel T3i cameras and lenses, or their own personal equipment. Participants will receive instruction on the basic fundamentals of outdoor photography and camera setup for various conditions and light.

After a day of photo taking, Jared will instruct guests on enhancing, editing and preserving photos using popular software. Whether your client is an advanced photographer or a beginner, this is a unique opportunity to photograph the Montana experience, while connecting with our natural wonders and the true cowboy culture of America's West.

Make Your Reservation Today! Contact 406-821-4600 or email 

Triple Creek Ranch is located in Darby, Montana, on the state’s western border with Idaho. The property is situated on the side of Trapper Peak, the highest mountain in Western Montana, with access to the many activities of scenic Bitterroot Valley. Guests fly into Missoula International Airport, approximately 80 miles from the ranch.

Dude Ranch Review, Sweet Grass Ranch

Published by Jody on November 2 2011 12:43 in
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Review for Sweet Grass Ranch

Romance: 5
Adventure: 5
Ranch Setting: 5
Family Oriented: 5
Adult Oriented: 5
Western Hospitality: 5
Riding: 5
Cattle Work: 5
Food & Wine: 5
Overall Experience: 5
General Questions

Interesting tidbit about the ranch owners or staff:
Made sure ranch experience was special for every guest

What makes this riding program stand out?:
Plenty of wrangers so riding was in small groups of similar riding ability and aspirations. No nose to tail!

What about this ranch brings guests back?:
Location, horses, people, wildlife - the list is endless - there is nothing to fault!

Another bit of information you'd like Top50 to know:
The best ranch holiday & destination EVER!


Age: 46
Travelled: With friends

Sugar and Spice Ranch, Texas, Christmas Getaway, December 26-January 1

Published by Jody on November 1 2011 15:13 in
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Dear Moms, Daughters, and of course Dads,
What a wonderful way to spend the Christmas Week with your daughter.  The Sugar and Spice Ranch is holding their 6th annual Mother & Daughter Christmas Vacation Week at the ranch.  And DADS what a fantastic gift to your girls...and no gift wrapping.
The dates are December 26th through January 1st.  This is a Monday thru Sunday package.
The week includes everything that their summer sessions do.  The package is all-inclusive with evening activities & entertainment - and on New  Year's Eve they ring in the New Year with a bang with their very own fireworks display!

So, what are you waiting for? Contact Sugar and Spice Ranch today!

Register at Sugar and Spice or call the ranch at 830-460-8487.

First day on the ranch: Cowboy or Alien?

Published by Jody on May 21 2011 15:03 in Cowboy Culture | Western Films | Working Ranches
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Top50 blogger Mel Rutheford reveals why first time ranching isn't so different from an alien invasion...

I’d consider myself pretty comfortable in my well-worn cowgirl boots. Cattle drives – I think I can hold my own, and considering I’m an English girl through and through, I reckon I’ve got this whole Western style of horseback riding pretty much cracked. But rewind a couple of years to the first day I’d ever set foot on a ranch and it was a whole different story... Cowgirl I was not. Alien? Most definitely.

When you’re used to the hustle and bustle of suburban England, 18,000 acres of authentic working ranch really does feel like a different planet - from the wide open spaces and mountainous terrain, right down to the smell of fresh Montana air. Granted, a couple of rainy days in June evoked the familiarity of home, but you wouldn’t find me sitting in a Western saddle on a responsive Quarter Horse rounding up cows back in my native territory.

My most alien experience came when setting foot in western stirrup for the first time. Despite nearly 20 years of English horseback riding experience under my belt, I found riding ‘cowboy style’ a distinctly foreign phenomenon. Direction (never my strong point anyway) was the most challenging aspect. Using leg pressure and neck reining to get my patient mount to move where I wanted him to go in the arena took a little while to get used to. After five or so minutes of turning in circles on the spot – with my poor horse probably wondering what kind of creature he had on his back – everything suddenly clicked into place. For me, those first few steps in which I was actually in full control was my transition from alien to cowgirl – or at least a hazy version of.

And I can safely say I’m not the only one to have felt like an extraterrestrial in a strange and unknown world on my first day on the ranch. In fact, most people I’ve spoken with have felt like a creature from outer space when first stepping foot onto unknown western soil. Megan Walker, a fellow Brit and US ranch vacationer, confesses: “Despite knowing and working with horses all my life, on my first day on a working ranch I suddenly felt very English! My immediate thought was, ‘This is a real skill and I don’t know if I’m going to get it.’ I mean, these guys live and work it. When you take a riding holiday at an authentic working ranch, it’s not just coming and playing – it’s developing a real skill that’s been perfected over the years.” Adds Megan: “And there’s nothing like 18,000 acres of ranch to make you feel like an alien – I did get lost on more than one occasion! Turns out I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last alien to invade a ranch."

But whether you choose to stay at a dude ranch vacation, guest ranch vacation or an authentic working ranch vacation, chances are that by the end of your western vacation, you’ll be more of a cowboy than you ever could have imagined!

Whether you head to one of Top50's dude ranch vacations, guest ranch vacations, working ranch vacations we know you'll have a great time. Or book a riding holiday estancia Argentina or a riding holiday, or to a working ranch in New Zealand, or go horse trekking in Australia, either way Top50 can help you find that ideal ranch experience.

Cowgirl Up!

Published by Jody on May 13 2011 10:26 in
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A western ranch vacation with your girlfriends beats your average horseback riding holiday! Mel Rutherford discovers how girls who just wanna have fun can saddle up together this summer...

It’s true, men have their plus points. But as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to taking a vacation the guys should be left at home. After all, a holiday is about taking a break from everyday life - and that means taking a break from finding beer cans down the sofa and yesterday’s pants in the hallway! Now summer’s nearly here, it’s time to start thinking about that annual vacation with my girlfriends. However, bored of the same old vacation spots we seem to revisit every year, I can’t help but wonder if I can convince them to ‘cowgirl up’ for a couple of weeks...

Plan A? Get them to take a look at Top50’s selection of girls-only ranch vacations. Plan B? Well, with this selection there’ll be no plan B required – especially with the likes of Zapata Ranch’s luxury girls-only western vacations. Head to this Colorado hotspot on August 28th to September 1st for some quality time with the gals, and pampering to boot. Those particularly horsey girlfriends of mine are going to love the idea of riding and working cattle through Zapata’s expansive meadows, while those who prefer to keep both feet firmly on the ground can enjoy photography tours and hiking. The promise of evening cocktails and appetizers on the patio while the sun sets should convince them, and dinners prepared by Zapata’s resident gourmet chef, hot springs pools and massages to soothe those sore riding and hiking muscles are sure to seal the deal.

Bar W Guest Ranch is another that’s really going to appeal to my hard-to-please friends. While there’s always going to be those unavoidable arguments over wake-up times, daily schedules and the rest, there’s once place that all girls agree on: The Spa. Maybe I’ll mention Bar W’s on-site spa first, then throw in their spectacular food and stunning natural surroundings for good measure. These all-inclusive women’s adventure retreat weeks, which Bar W are running several times in June and September, are sure to win over my more adventure-seeking friends. With endless acres of trail to explore, plus a special ‘Saddle Up’ horsemanship clinic to get stuck into, this ranch vacation promises to satisfy every woman’s inner cowgirl. Or beauty queen, as the case may be... 

Of course, when planning group vacations you’ve got to take all budgets into account. While I’d quite happily max out my credit card to get my cowgirl fix, some of my girlfriends are slightly more sensible. But everyone loves a bargain, so I’ll definitely be throwing Runamuk Guest Ranch’s ‘Cowgirls’ week – For Women, By Women!’ into the mix. The 20% off special on this no-guys-allowed week from 20-26th June will please everyone’s pocket, as well as providing some quality bonding time. I might have to select my more capable horsey friends for this one, though; hailed as a working ranch vacation ‘for cowgirls who can ride’, this week is perfect for intermediate riders ready to throw themselves into real horseback riding and cattle work at this Montana-based working guest ranch. It’s all about riding, improving your horsemanship skills and building comraderie with the gals. Not forgetting Runamuk’s annual benefit trail ride and old-fashioned barn dance to look forward to when girl-time ends!

OK, so maybe I’m being a bit selfish excluding non-horsey friends. For a happy compromise there’s Triple Creek Ranch’s Klicks For Chicks week (November 3rd – 7th). We hardcore horsey gals can tackle a 100K (62 mile) ride over the wilds of the Rocky Mountain West – an adventure testing each rider’s endurance while providing the perfect opportunity for some proper girly bonding. Meanwhile the saddle-shy girls can enjoy Triple Creek’s many and varied on-ranch activities and luxurious accommodations, before everyone meets up at the ranch at end of each day for burning log fires, cocktails and gourmet food.

If just a few evenings of girl time doesn’t cut it, a dude ranch vacation is the perfect option to please all parties – like Red Horse Mountain Ranch, one of Idaho’s finest dude ranches. It’s Girlfriends Getaway week from September 25th to October 1st has got everything that both seasoned riders and first-time cowgirls could want: luxury, endless outdoor activities, and a seven-course menu to guarantee plenty of time for gossip over a few glasses of wine.

And girls, if you're looking to buy a horse, check out Horse101.  Always tons of great horses over there.

All considered, I think I got a pretty good case for an adventure vacation for women. Now I’ve worked so hard to find the best girlfriends’ getaways and women's only vacations, I’m going to take a back seat and let my friends do the hardest job – deciding which one to choose!

Whether you head to one of Top50's dude ranch vacations, guest ranch vacations, working ranch vacations we know you'll have a great time. Or book a riding holiday estancia Argentina or a riding holiday, or to a working ranch in New Zealand, or go horse trekking in Australia, either way Top50 can help you find that ideal ranch experience.

About the author

Welcome to Top50's Ranch blog -The best way to stay current on the best ranch getaways, network with friends, and share stories about your ranch experiences.

Since this blog is largely driven by guest and ranch input and experiences, please contact us with your videos, photos, and stories about your ranch experience or for any story ideas you may have! 

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