Tod Mountain Ranch – the latest news

Published by Jody on April 13 2012 06:00 in Canada | Ranch Specials
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Tod Mountain Ranch brings you the latest news from the Canada guest ranch

It's official - Spring is finally here! The ski hill is closed, the snow and ice has melted, the robins have returned and the horses have started to shed their winter coats. We're busy with the preparations for reopening the ranch on 1st May and getting ready for our first dude ranch vacation guests of the season. We're really excited about this year – we’re looking forward to meeting our new guests from around the world and also welcoming some past guests back to the ranch. Haven’t booked your dude ranch vacation at Tod Mountain? Contact us soon, as some dates are already full.

What's New At The Ranch for 2012
We know that when it comes to your Guest Ranch vacation, you have a lot of great dude ranches to choose from. So you're probably asking what makes us unique, and why should you choose this guest ranch? Most of our guests come for the opportunity to experience western riding and horsemanship in a stunning location and a calm, peaceful environment that gives them space to think, learn and to just ‘be’.

Tod Mountain’s sole focus is on horseback riding and horsemanship. We do not offer any other organised activities at the ranch so you can be sure that you get to spend as much time as you would like with the horses and the people who care for them.

Total Immersion Experience
Many of our guests want to experience more than the trail rides and we are happy to be able to offer a total immersion experience for those who want to get a more hands-on experience with their horse.

The experience starts on your first morning when we will introduce you to the horse we have assigned you for your stay. We'll tell you all about him as you catch, feed and groom him. We'll explain the tack (saddle, bridle, etc) that we use, and how to tack up your horse so you can get him ready for the day’s ride. After the rides, you will then untack and groom your horse before turning him out to the pasture with his buddies.

On the first day, this will be done under the full supervision of the Tod Mountain wranglers, but once you get the hang of it, then you'll be on your own taking care of your own horse for the duration of your stay. For those guests who just want to experience the trail rides, we are of course very happy to take care of your horse for you.

Wrangler For A Day

wrangler for a day

New for 2012, we are offering one lucky guest each day the opportunity to be a Wrangler for the day. Working alongside the Tod Mountain Ranch team, you will get the opportunity to live the life of a Wrangler and take part in all the different aspects of the job.

Your day will start with gathering the horses in the morning, checking the herd for injuries or lost shoes and doctoring any injuries or wounds - all before breakfast! After breakfast, you'll assist with the daily barn chores followed by catching, grooming and saddling the horses needed for the days ride. Then at the end of the day, you get to untack and groom the horses again before turn out. After a day in the saddle, there are still more chores to do! Filling water troughs, picking up poop, checking and fixing fence, harrowing pastures are all routine jobs that need to be done before the barn is closed for the day.

If being a Wrangler is your dream job, even for just one day, then let us know and we will be sure to put you on the roster!

Meet The Team
We're delighted to welcome Steve Scott back to the ranch for his third season with us, and to welcome Kelly Goddard & Tammy Holroyd for their first season at Tod Mountain Ranch.


Originally from the UK, Steve has over 50 years horseback riding experience. After taking several ranch vacations in BC, he finally emigrated to Canada in 2004 and has worked at Guest Ranches in BC every since. Steve joined us in July 2010 and despite his terrible singing out on the trail, guests appreciate his gentle nature when handling and caring for our horses.


Joining the team in 2012 is Kelly who was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario. Kelly has been riding since childhood and is a Graduate of the Agriculture/ Equine programme at Kemptville College, University of Guelph. Kelly is an experienced trail guide and horsewoman with a passion for Western riding and country living. After spending last summer travelling around Europe, she now knows that horses and the ranch way of life is her true calling. Kelly will arrive at the ranch at the end of April and can't wait to spend the summer in BC doing what she loves!


Tammy, a Red Seal Certified Chef and graduate from the Culinary Management Programme at Fanshawe College, Ontario is passionate about food! She loves to create dishes using locally sourced, fresh seasonal ingredients to offer the best possible natural flavours in her dishes. Yummy desserts are her speciality! In her free time, Tammy also cooks and bakes for families in need; something that is very close to her heart. We are looking forward to welcoming her to the ranch in May, and to tasting those yummy desserts!

Tod Mountain Spring Specials
Spring is a great time to visit the ranch. Everything is lush and green and the wildlife return to the valley after the long winter. Check out these great dude ranch vacation deals for guests throughout May and June 2012...

3 Night All-Inclusive Ranch Stay - $695 per person
Available on all dates throughout May & June, including weekends, this package is great value for those looking for a short break. This rate includes 3 nights’ accommodation and 2 days horseback riding.

5 Night All-Inclusive Ranch Stay - $1,135 per person
This package includes 5 nights’ accommodation and 4 days’ horseback riding. A great value package that is available at this rate on all dates throughout May & June.

Mother's Day Celebration. $495 per person
Friday 11th May - Sunday 13th May - 3 ROOMS LEFT
This is a special time of year to celebrate Mothers and show our appreciation for all that they do. Arrive in time for dinner on Friday, and spend the weekend riding and relaxing, leaving the ranch after a special Mother's Day lunch on Sunday. Rate includes 2 nights accommodation, horseback riding on Saturday (morning & afternoon) and Sunday morning, all meals snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, use of all ranch facilities during your stay.

Father's Day Weekend. $495 per person
Friday 15th June - Sunday 17th June - 2 ROOMS LEFT
We haven't forgotten the Dads, and have put together a special package for them too! Arrive in time for dinner on Friday, and spend the weekend riding and relaxing, leaving the ranch after a special Father's Day lunch on Sunday. Rate includes 2 nights accommodation, horseback riding on Saturday (morning & afternoon) and Sunday morning, all meals snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, wine & beer with dinner each evening, use of all ranch facilities during your stay.

For more information on Tod Mountain Ranch, view their ranch profile at

Echo Valley Ranch and Spa: Environmental Practices

Published by Jody on April 13 2012 05:00 in
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Echo Valley Ranch and Spa, a luxury dude ranch in British Columbia, Canada, and member of SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World), embraces a “Triple Bottom Line” philosophy, caring as much for the environment as for guests on their dude ranch vacations.

Echo Valley's water is sourced from on-site, naturally-fed springs

Proprietors Norm and Nan Dove established the Canada guest ranch in 1995 as an eco-aware destination long before 'living green' became a mainstream movement. “We are committed,” the Doves say, “to improving ways we can contribute to a carbon neutral operation.”

Echo Valley purchases carbon credits to offset C02 emissions generated by guests taking western riding vacations at the dude ranch. In addition to practising zero-waste in food acquisition and production, the Canada guest ranch features several energy-efficient back-of-house operations.

Echo Valley offers iconic Canada dude ranch vacations with Asian elements, including award-winning Thai and European-style spas. Two self-sustaining geothermal systems heat Echo Valley’s unique Baan Thai swimming pool, as well as the Lookout Lodge. Water is sourced from naturally-fed springs on-site, and a bio-degradable sanitation system recycles waste fluids as organic fertilizers into the surrounding landscape. The kitchen garden uses organic fertilizers and companion plantings that act as natural insect repellents, and there is zero kitchen waste as all leftovers are used in the garden or as food for the guest ranch’s animals.

“We believe that our responsibility as stewards of the land extends to the community with whom we share this wilderness,” say the Doves. “That all cultures can live and learn from each other in harmony, and our staff reflects the traditions of many nationalities. This includes our working alongside local First Nations peoples whose territory lies at our door, as well as our local community, so that we all might prosper.”

For more information on dude ranch vacations at Echo Valley Ranch and Spa, view their ranch profile at

10 ways to ruin your dude ranch vacation

Published by Jody on April 10 2012 11:04 in Press Release | Top50 Feature Articles | What to wear
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Top50 shares some handy tips on how to ruin your dude ranch vacation (ie, do the exact opposite)

Some 'souvenirs' are best left at the ranch...

1. Leave the kids home alone

Tempting as it is to get away from the children and enjoy a dude ranch vacation alone, you can’t guarantee you’ll return with your house intact or at least one family heirloom broken after the raucous party they will – trust us – throw while you’re away. For your own sanity, take them with you on a family dude ranch vacation. Sign ‘em up on a teens’ program and you won’t even have to look at them.

2. Assume the weather will be great

If you go into hibernation at the slightest fall in temperature or drop of rain, or have a tendency to pass out in anything above 90 degrees, you’ll want to know what to expect before you a) sign on the dotted line and b) start packing nothing but shorts and bikini tops. Check the climate charts on your chosen dude ranch’s Top50 profile before booking your dude ranch vacation.

3. Go off the ranch website alone

Pretty website = best ranch in the world. Right? Well you could chance it, but we recommend checking out Top50 Ranches as well. Not only are all of Top50’s luxury dude ranches, guest ranches and working ranches carefully vetted to guarantee you excellence in riding, hospitality and accommodations, but comparing your chosen dude ranch to other Top50 ranches might throw up some options you hadn’t considered. Better still, get in touch with Top50 and we can recommend to you the best ranches that match your needs and expectations.

4. Assume horseback riding is easy (on your butt)

It’s not. Even the most experienced riders will find all-day rides, every day, a little testing on the derriere – not to mention every other muscle in your body. While riding like John Wayne can be taught on your ranch vacation, getting in shape for horseback riding takes time and effort prior to setting off for your ranch vacation. Whether it’s getting in some saddle time, hitting the gym or sitting on a big round barrel for a few hours a day, getting in shape for riding will avoid all sorts of embarrassing wheelchair/bed-bound situations.

5. Don’t pack a sports bra

What could be better than loping through tree-lined pastures with the wind blowing through your hair – and your ample cleavage bounding along with more enthusiasm than your trusty steed? While guys might be immune from chest-related trauma, we advise women to pack several change of sports bra. Heck, wear 'em all at once if you have to.

6. Don’t buy travel insurance

Save money to spend on cowboy boots by not bothering with travel insurance. Just remember losing your horsey wardrobe before you even make it to your dude ranch (cue spending the entire vacation swathed in your partner’s oversize jeans and shirts) might get a little tedious. Oh, and not being able to afford to save your limb after being bitten by a rattlesnake on your pack trip could prove inconvenient.

7. Forget your passport

Remembering you left the entire family’s passports on the sideboard in the hallway is THE way to kick-start your dude ranch vacation. And while native travellers might not need a passport for domestic flights, flashing your library card as ID won’t get you far past immigration officers.

8. Make jokes with airport staff

Test the humor of airport security officials by making witty remarks about what you’ve got in your bag – be it 50lb of cocaine, a rare strain of bird flu, or a small Mexican. They’re unlikely to find it as hilarious as you do. Likewise, we advise against making sarcastic comments regarding a bomb in your bag to an air steward – unless you’d prefer to stay in a prison cell than a cozy log cabin at your luxury dude ranch.

9. Take to the saddle all guns blazing

(Not literally, that would be stupid.) You’ve arrived at the ranch and you’re ready to ride the range – so you promptly sign up for a 10-hour horseback ride. Well make the most of it, because it’ll be the only horseback ride you’ll be taking this vacation – and probably this year. Starting out with a couple of 1-2 hour trail rides and building up to longer, faster rides and cattle drives will ensure you get the most out of your ranch vacation. Your butt will thank you for it.

10. Infuriate (and possibly injure) fellow horseback riders

Sitting astride your ranch horse as you ride through open ranges, you’re swept up in the moment and decide it’s time for an ad-hoc lope through the long grass. “Yeehah!” Not so much fun for the less experienced riders in the group, nor your wrangler guide who’s trying to give a history of the guest ranch. You might be capable of controlling your horse, but don’t assume the same goes for the rest of the group. Taking off unannounced isn’t going to make you particularly popular around the dinner table that night. Or ever.

For more information on all of Top50's great range of dude ranch vacations, guest ranches and working ranches, visit

Wyoming dude ranches

Published by Jody on April 10 2012 10:08 in Children's Programs | Dude Ranches | Historical Ranches | United States
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Wyoming dude ranches are famous for their stunning mountain scenery and big skies - true cowboy country perfect for dude ranch vacations. Top50 has hand-selected two Wyoming dude ranches that stand out from the rest, so you can be sure your dude ranch vacations are the best experiences you can get.

Lazy L & B Ranch Lazy L&B Ranch, Wyoming

Lazy L&B Ranch, located in Dubois, is one of those Wyoming dude ranches where you can go back year after year for dude ranch vacations and never ride the same trail twice. The 80,000 acre ranch sits in high alpine country, with plateaus, canyons and river gorges. With so much diverse country to explore, it's no wonder this Wyoming dude ranch is famous for its extensive riding program. Everyone gets to ride with people of similar age and ability, and all children's riding and activities are well supervised. Dude ranch vacations at Lazy L&B are all about relaxation and unforgettable adventure.

pushing cattle across the creek at The Hideout The Hideout Guest Ranch, Wyoming

Dude ranch vacations in Wyoming don't get more luxurious or authentic than The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch, where luxury and European-style pampering meet authentic western hospitality. As well as being one of the most luxury Wyoming dude ranches, The Hideout is also a fully operational working ranch. The 100-year-old, 250,000 acre working cattle ranch is located in Shell, Wyoming at the foot of the Bighorn mountains and national forest. If you're after a combination of authenticity (no nose-to-tail here!) and luxury pampering, spend your dude ranch vacations at this Wyoming dude ranch and you won't be disappointed.

For more information on these Wyoming dude ranches, view their ranch profiles on

WIN! $200 voucher for a dude ranch vacation

Published by Jody on April 3 2012 09:33 in
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Win $200 of vouchers for a dude ranch vacation at any of Top50's ranches! And how do you win such a fantastic prize? All we're asking you to do is film a short video showing why you think Top50 Ranches is so awesome. It could be fun, quirky, horsey, action-packed - as long as it's eye-catching and is gonna make people stand up and listen about Top50, you'll be onto a winner.

Here's an example of a pretty cool video filmed by one Top50 fan...


Reckon you could do better? Grab your horse, your spurs, your stetson, your cute puppy - whatever you think will grab people's attention! (Oh, and we're not trying to find the next James Cameron so you can put that 3D camera aside...)

How to enter

It's easy! Simply shoot your video in whatever way you wish, upload to YouTube then email us the link at or post it direct to

What are you waiting for? Get filming about why YOU love Top50 Ranches to be in with a chance of winning $200 of ranch vaca vouchers AND a Top50 Tee and Cap! Lights, camera...

Increase your chances to win by Tweeting it with #top50ranches and then sharing it to your friends through Facebook! Let's get to crackin' - who's creative...

Click here for Terms and Conditions

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! 

Continue to check back regularly as ranches keep us updated about happenings & special offers throughout the year. 


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