From the horse’s mouth
Kara Creek ranch
Kara Creek ranch
- Ride alongside the cowboys, moving cattle, sorting and monitoring herds of more than 4000 animals
- Enjoy the freedom of riding in the vast open spaces between Wyoming and South Dakota.
- On your days off the ranch, visit the local sights (Deadwood, Sturgis, Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore)
- Enjoy home-cooked meals every day - including delicious local steak!
Day 1 1 : LONDON - RAPID CITYHoward Johnson Rapid CityFlights from London to Rapid City in South Dakota (not included).
We recommend you spend a night at a hotel in Rapid City. Make the most of the opportunity to rest up and get over your jetlag before the great week ahead of you at the ranch!
If you arrive at the end of the afternoon a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel will be available. If you arrive earlier in the day, you will be able to explore downtown Rapid City - known for its full-scale sculptures of the American presidents.
Please note that this night is not included in the price list. You are free to make your own plans or we can add this night to your quotation.
Dinner to your own account.
Day 2 2 : RAPID CITY - RANCHKara creek ranchAfter a hearty breakfast, one of the wranglers will come to collect you at the hotel at around 10:00am and drive you to the ranch. The ranch is a 2 hour drive from Rapid city, 15 minutes from Sundance in the state of Wyoming. Once at the ranch, you will have lunch with the team and in the afternoon you will explore the ranch and meet the horses.
IMPORTANT: The following program is provided as an indication, it is by no means exhaustive but reflects all the activities in which you will be asked to participate. Your time at the ranch is dictated by the needs of livestock, as well as your expectations and your previous experience on horseback. Plans change quickly on a working ranch!
Please remember that is a working ranch, where all riding is done with a purpose. Those looking for a more relaxed environment with trail and pleasure rides should look into guest ranches - please contact us if you are not sure, we are always happy to help!
The springtime is a very busy time of the year. Depending on the week and the weather, you will start bringing in the cattle from the winter pastures. There will be a range of activities that will include branding, vaccinating, and castrating the young bulls. Everyone pretty much has a job depending on how well they can ride, and what they feel up to (helping with the castrations, for instance, is not something people usually volunteer to do!). The atmosphere is fantastic and everyone takes part, they might also bring in some neighbours for additional help. There will be less riding than during the Fall, but it's a great glimpse into what a real wrangler's work is all about,
The team don’t brand in the Fall, but there might be days where they work the cows or bigger cattle - meaning get them in and run through a chute and give them shots. Most of the time, you would be out riding and gathering up cattle and either taking them to winter pasture or loading on big trucks to take to market. A typical day would be get up, have breakfast at 8 and then head out for the day. Usually have lunch out on the trail and return to the ranch in the evenings for dinner and other activities. You will gather some of the cattle gradually - these would be the yearlings that are on about 10000 acres so you'll gather what you can find and put them in a holding pasture and then go back to gather more. It’s really hard to find all the cattle on 10000 acres in one day so you may go back to that location multiple times, but you do finish the job each day and get the cattle you get in the location they need to be and then go back to gather more as needed. It's a great time of the year if you'd like to ride a lot.
Day 3 3 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingKara creek ranchAfter breakfast, the team will provide you with all the equipment necessary for your week's riding.
You will head to the stables with the cowboys were they will allocate your horse - if you are not familiar with western riding, don't worry! The wranglers will use this occasion to train you.
You will then set off to see the vast ranch on horseback. You will have a chance to get to know your mount, an experienced ranch horse, that will help you with your daily tasks on the ranch. You will also be introduced to the proper way to approach and interact with the cattle.
You will head back to the ranch late in the day and enjoy a drink at the saloon before a hearty dinner prepared by the team. Dinners are taken family-style in the main house.
Day 4 4 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingKara creek ranchThe day's task might be a cattle drive. You will learn how to group the cattle and drive them smoothly in the right direction. Based on your abilities you will be asked to either herd them from the rear or to chivvy the reluctant and bring back in line those making a bid for freedom.
As Kara Creek is an eco ranch, in order to preserve the pastures the cattle have to be moved frequently from one pasture to another. Breeding is also done in the most natural way possible and neither antibiotics nor hormones are given to the herd. If you're interested in the approaches used in eco farming, don't hesitate to ask the ranch's cowboys - they will be happy to explain them to you in more detail.
You will head back to the ranch in the evening to enjoy another home-cooked meal.
Day 5 5 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingKara creek ranchAfter a hearty breakfast, today you might be driven from the ranch to herd a group Black Angus cattle that graze on one of the ranch's many grassy plains. The horses will be in the trailers while you will be riding in the pick ups to get to your destination.
Kara Creek's vast land crosses the Wyoming/ South Dakota border, this will allow you get a sense of the changing landscape from state to state.
Day 6 6 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingKara creek ranchAfter another hearty home-cooked breakfast, perhaps today you will ride to new a pasture. A favourite is the land located at the foot of the Devil's Tower, a 200 metre high monolith that pierces the sky and dominates the horizon.
Covering long distances, you will inspect the pasture to check and fix the broken fences. You will also take the opportunity to check if there are any ill or injured cows or calves, maybe you will be on the trail of an escapee or, often, having to return a neighbour's cow to their pasture!
During the spring months, births are plentiful and some nice surprises will be waiting for you in the fields. Throughout autumn, sorting the calves from the cows will be the order of the day.
Dinner will be had at the ranch together with all the team.
Day 7 7 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingKara creek ranchA day perhaps spent 'branding' or marking the cattle - if you are out in the spring this is an activity that you may do several times. Please note the team don't brand in the fall.
Everyone will have a role to play, depending on how capable they feel: vaccinating, putting on ear tags, wrestling calves, ect. The more difficult and dangerous tasks, such as roping, will be carried out by the more experienced members of staff.
After a long day, you will return to the camp in the evening and have a dinner with all the staff.
Please note: branding is not everyone's cup of tea but this is a real ranch experience. If you are concerned it may be a bit much for you please contact us so we can tell you more about it.
Day 8 8 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingAfter breakfast, you will saddle your horse and head out to work. By now tasks, learned and repeated, will have become second nature. You might be moving the Black Angus herd from one pasture to another .You will alternate between walking at the back of the herd, pushing them forward, and then working the flank to keep them moving and prevent any reluctant cows from trying to break away.
On your return to the ranch, you may make a detour as the wranglers show you the best views over the ranch. For your final evening meal, you will enjoy a BBQ with the team and, with a little persuasion, Monte will tell you some of his cowboy stories!
Day 9 9 : RAPID CITY - LONDONAfter breakfast, you will be taken to the airport to catch your flight back to London (plan a flight after 13.00)
If you wish, it is possible to extend your stay at the ranch or explore the beautiful landscapes of South Dakota; the Black hills, Devil's tower, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore... Ask us for more information!
Day 10 10 : LONDONArrival in London
Dates & prices
- The above cost does not include your first night's stay in a hotel in Rapid city. We suggest this as it will give you an opportunity to get over your jetlag so you can fully appreciate your first day on the ranch. However, to avoid the hotel fee in Rapid city, it is possible to arrive a day later and go directly to the ranch
- Non-riders are welcome and will get a €150/£135 discount. Please note that the activities on the ranch as a non-rider are limited.
- Return transfers from Rapid city to the ranch are not included and have to be paid for locally. Return transfer costs $150.
- The ranch can host between 5 to 20 international riders at any one time.
- There is a discount for children under 12 years old and for groups of 5 or more riders. Please ask us for more information
- An electronic travel authorisation (ESTA) is required to enter the USA. It is your responsibility to organise this. Please visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ and contact us if you need help.
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
Laundry facilities which are at your disposal
Price doesn't include
If booking your hotel night in Rapid City with us, then dinner on day 1 is not included in the price. You are free to organise it as you wish
Return transfers by car from Rapid city to the ranch - see above
Visa fee (ESTA) of approx. £10 ($14) - this must be arranged in advance
May - June 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 02/05/2020 11/05/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 09/05/2020 18/05/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 16/05/2020 25/05/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 23/05/2020 01/06/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 30/05/2020 08/06/2020 £1,140 Full 06/06/2020 15/06/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 13/06/2020 22/06/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 20/06/2020 29/06/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 27/06/2020 06/07/2020 £1,140 Full
July - August 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 04/07/2020 13/07/2020 £1,050 Full 11/07/2020 20/07/2020 £1,050 Full 18/07/2020 27/07/2020 £1,050 Full 25/07/2020 03/08/2020 £1,050 Full 01/08/2020 10/08/2020 £1,050 Guaranteed departure Book now 08/08/2020 17/08/2020 £1,050 Guaranteed departure Book now 15/08/2020 24/08/2020 £1,050 Guaranteed departure Book now 22/08/2020 31/08/2020 £1,050 Guaranteed departure Book now 29/08/2020 07/09/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now
September - October 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 05/09/2020 14/09/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 12/09/2020 21/09/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 19/09/2020 28/09/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 26/09/2020 05/10/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now 03/10/2020 12/10/2020 £1,140 Guaranteed departure Book now
Horses on a working ranch are working horses and as such may not be looked after the way we do in the UK and Europe. However, they are healthy, happy, and love their job.
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Children under 8 can ride inside the ranch. Young riders over the age of 8, accompanied by their parents, are welcome to join in all ranch activities on the condition that they fulfil these minimum riding requirements. Please note that there are no ponies - although the Quarter Horses are generally small in size, we recommend children to be at leat 1m30 / 4ft2 unless they are used to bigger horses and confident riders.
You will spend between 4-8 hours riding, depending on the ranch activities.
Tacking ability and participation
You may also be asked to feed and water your horse after the day.
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Some saddlebags are available.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard. There are no helmets at the ranch.
The main house is a communal space where you will have your meals each day. Here, you can also choose to relax in front of the fire, listen to music or play snooker. This is a home away from home and your help will be appreciated when it comes to putting away dishes and clean up after yourself. A washing machine and tumble dryer are available for you to use.
The saloon is a recent addition to the ranch and is a place where riders gather after their rides and in the evenings for a cold drink and a bit of music. Neighbours and legends from the rodeo circuit are known to stop by a few times a week!
Breakfast: hearty breakfast with eggs, crispy bacon, toast, jam.
Lunch: simple lunches of salads, pasta, sandwiches.
Dinners: typical "cowboy style" with home-raised meat, potatoes, pasta and vegetables.
If you wish to drink alcohol you will have to bring your own as the ranch doesn't have a licence to sell alcohol.
Wyoming is located deep within continental North America, far from the moderating influence the oceans. Wyoming, therefore, has some long winters, but also some pleasant summers. A typical Wyoming summer day will start out bright and sunny. Clouds will appear on the western horizon about noon and thunderheads will develop mid-afternoon. Scattered, isolated thundershowers will dot the landscape in late afternoon and early evening.
Autumn in Wyoming is a pure delight. Most places will start to see snow in mid-September, but winter weather won’t start to stick until late November. For most of the two months in between, the state enjoys a special season called Indian Summer, with warm days, cool nights and spectacular colors. It’s a delightful change-of-season experience.
Guide and local team
The team is very friendly and they do their upmost to ensure you make the most of your time on the ranch.
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend western boots or short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged.
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in
Other useful items
- Small backpack for accessing items required during the day (carried by support crew)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)
- Field glasses
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic Ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Any medication you regularly take
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Water purification tablets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Please take your rubbish home with you. There are no recycling facilities, so take your used batteries, aerosols etc back home and dispose of them appropriately. Try to leave excess packaging material at home before travelling
Visa & Health
You’ll need prior authorisation to enter the United States using a British passport, either through a visa, a Permanent Resident Card, or the Visa Waiver Programme. To enter the United States of America, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by Australian, British, Canadian and other EU nationals.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS - VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME
Most passport holders can get an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme, which allows travel to the US for up to 90 days. Visit the official US website to apply for your ESTA: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
All travellers entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Program require individual machine-readable passports. Children included on a parent's passport also require their own machine-readable passport. Travellers not in possession of machine-readable passports require a valid USA entry visa.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into the United States or transit through the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme; if you’re planning to enter or transit through the US using an ETD you must apply for a visa from the nearest US embassy or consulate before you travel, or hold a valid lawful permanent resident card (often referred to as a ‘green card’), which you must have with you on arrival; you can leave the US using an ETD that has been issued in the United States
Visitors to the USA travelling under the Visa Waiver Program must obtain authorisation from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the USA, if arriving by air or sea. It is recommended that applications are made at least 72 hours prior to travel but you may apply at any time prior to travel. Airlines must now deny check-in to passengers without a valid ESTA. There is a US$14 fee. An ESTA is valid for two years, so if you've applied for one previously, ensure it's still valid.
When applying for ESTA-authorisation and entering the passport number, the number 0 must not be replaced by letter O as this can lead to problems upon entering the USA. The granting of an ESTA does not guarantee entry to the USA. Canadian citizens do not require an ESTA, but permanent residents of Canada who are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program must obtain one.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS - VISAS
If you don’t qualify for entry under the VWP, and don’t have a US Permanent Resident Card, you should apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate before travelling.
Holders of UK passports with the endorsement British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Protected Person, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and need to obtain a visa.
Travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):
- Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
- Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR TRAVELERS TRANSITING THROUGH CANADA
If you are travelling to the USA visa Canada, please remember you also need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), mandatory for anyone transiting through Canada. Completing ESTA formalities do not replace your eTA.
Addresses of consulates
- Paris | Ambassade des Etats-Unis
2, avenue Gabriel
Tél. : 01.43.12.22.22
- Ambassade de France aux Etats-Unis
4101 Reservoir Road, N.W.
20007 Washington D.C.
Tél. : +1 (202) 944 60 00
- US Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square
W1A 2LQ London
Tél. : 020 7499-9000
Travel insurance that provides medical coverage is a requirement for visitors to the US. Only emergency cases are treated without prior payment and treatment may be refused without evidence of insurance or a deposit. All receipts for services rendered must be kept in order to make a claim. Medical care in the United States tends to be quite expensive, especially for emergency treatment provided in hospital settings, paid for out of pocket.
Budget and money
Most major credit cards are accepted throughout the USA, including American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Visitors are advised to carry at least one major credit card, as it is common to request pre-payment or a credit card imprint for hotel rooms and car hire, even when final payment is not by credit card. Be sure to check with your card issuer for current surcharge rates imposed for use of the card outside your home country. You should also inform your issuer that you are travelling for a specified period so your card is not flagged or temporarily suspended.
Bank-issued debit cards are accepted at many businesses in the US; however, using them to pay for many travel-related expenses, such as car hire and hotel rooms, often incurs a surcharge, deposit, or a hold on your account.
Telephone and jetlag
The country stradles a number of different time zones. Eastern Daylight time (eg. New York) is GMT -4. Mountain Daylight time (eg. Montana) is GMT -6. Pacific Daylight time (eg. California) is GMT -7.
Did you know?
Did you know?
Western riding was developed in the American West where cowboys had to work long hours on horseback. Notorious for riding one-handed, Cowboys are able to rope and catch cattle using a lasso. A lasso is a rope with a loop at one end that gets smaller when the rope is pulled.
Western riders turn their horses by using the reins on the horse's neck in addition to shifting their own weight in the saddle ("neck reining"). The horse is trained to respond to the gentle pressure this makes and can easily shift its direction from left to right at an impressive speed. The most popular breed of horses used in Western riding is the powerful American Quarter Horse. On your ranch holiday at the Kara Creek, you will very likely ride one of them!