from 7 y.o
- Over 60 well mannered horses, all trained using Parellli Natural Horsemanship techniques
- Learn the Parelli skills to communicate with your horse
- Suitable for beginners to advanced riders and ideal for families
- Relaxed itinerary with 3 to 6 hours riding each day
- A wide range of non-riding activities available including clay shooting, fishing, hiking and wildlife watching
- Learn to work with cattle or try riding bareback - you will find there is something for everyone!
- Enjoy the spectacular scenery of the "Horse Whisperer" country, climb mountains and ride across a variety of terrain
- Possibility to visit a rodeo if you travel in June, July and August
Day 1 1: Wolf Creek - 3-6 hours ridingRocking Z RanchFlights are not included in this package. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the ranch between 11:00 and 12:00pm. The drive takes about 30 minutes. Please note that you may need to arrive a day early and spend a night in Helena: please contact us so we can help you book flights and a hotel.
The first day is often spent bonding with your horse. Your horse will be assigned to you based on your riding ability and your personality.
Working with your horse from the ground, instructed by Ana and Maria (both qualified Parelli instructors), will allow you to start to feel at ease and prompt your horse to follow you and listen to your instructions. You may learn as much about yourself as the horse entrusted to you; for some people, it can be a pretty emotional day.
In the evening, you will all relax together and enjoy a home-cooked dinner. The meal will be the setting for the briefing for the following day. You will discuss what you would like to do, any weather constraints and what needs of the season are imposed upon the ranch at that time of year.
The ranchers are there to listen and are ready to adapt the programme to riders' wants, interests and riding level.
You plan your next day according to the weather forecast, seasonal needs and your wishes.
IMPORTANT: The below program is provided as a guide, it is by no means exhaustive but reflects all of the activities in which you are able to participate.
Day 2 2: Wolf Creek - 3-8 hours ridingRocking Z RanchAfter a hearty breakfast, you will head out to lead the horses from their paddock to the corral.
Your days on the ranch follow no set itinerary as the day's programme and day-to-day activities are decided dependent upon guests' preferences, riding ability, the weather and the necessary tasks needed to be performed on the ranch that day.
For example, you may decide today to work once more on the Parelli method under Ana's guidance. The Parelli method that works on the principle that "Horsemanship can be obtained naturally through communication, understanding and psychology, versus mechanics, fear and intimidation."
You may spend the morning learning the 7 Games, first on foot, then from the saddle and learn how to form a lasting bond with your horse. You may finish your morning by riding out bareback with your horse using only a simple rope halter to lead with.
In the afternoon, you may head out on horseback in a small group to discover the beautiful green surrounding the ranch. The horizon is seemingly infinite and the sky overwhelmingly immense. No single file, no imposed pace, here riding is something to be enjoyed. You will ride through narrow gullies, ford streams and break into a gallop where the terrain allows. For the more daredevil in the group, there will be the possibility of riding bareback with only the rope or side pull halter and also a chance to jump over the large natural obstacles found on the property.
In the early evening, you will lead the horses to the stable and return to the ranch to have dinner all together. You will maybe have the chance to hear Anna and Maria playing some music or Zach telling you about the history of the area - the expeditions of Lewis and Clark, or history of Chief Joseph and the surrender of the Nez Perce.
Day 3 3: Wolf Creek - 3-8 hours ridingRocking Z RanchIf you are an early-riser and your riding level allows, you will be able to join the wranglers as they head out to herd the horses. Depending on how far out the herd has spread, this may mean some fantastic gallops through the grass-covered rolling hills to bring them all together and a good ride leading them back to the ranch.
In the morning, you may choose to take your first foray into the world of American horseback games: barrel racing, pole bending... You need to be precise and fast – you will get to experience the swift acceleration of the compact quarter horse.
After lunch, maybe expand your ranch skills by learning how to handle a lasso by training on a stationary mannequin. It's not as easy as cowboys make it look, but with the wranglers’ instruction and a bit of practice you should pick it up quite quickly.
For any non-riders on the ranch, or maybe if you just fancy taking a break from riding, there are other activities available:
- Walks around the property
- Fly-fishing in the Blackfoot River, subject of Norman Maclean book and film with Brad Pitt, 'A River runs through it'
- Wild swimming
- Archery and an introduction to trap shooting
- Helping out with the agricultural tasks around the ranch
- Bird watching (the region being home to over 250 species of bird)
- Boat trips out on the Missouri
In the evening, you may choose to relax in the outdoor Jacuzzi then eat in the ranch's saloon, playing pool and drinking a cold beer!
Day 4 4: Wolf Creek - 3-8 hours ridingRocking Z RanchAfter a mighty breakfast, today you may choose to pack up some sandwiches, coral and tack your horse to head out on a long trek. The ranch is situated in a stunning natural setting: dense woods, open stretches of grassland and wild, imposing mountains. The possible trail routes are endless and you can cover up to 40kms in a day (suggested only for experienced riders). Horses and riders will be trailered to the starting point of your ride. The terrain often allows for long canters and gallops and a picnic with a breath-taking view is on the cards at midday!
In the evening, you'll return to the ranch for dinner and a well-deserved rest.
For less experienced riders, the team can organise a morning lesson to help go over techniques - either on foot or from the saddle. The afternoon would then be a short ride along the beautiful trails closer to the ranch.
Day 5 5: Wolf Creek - 3-8 hours ridingRocking Z RanchA day for chaps, as you might choose to ride out with the cowboys and start working with the cattle.
You will start in the yard being taught how to manoeuvre your horse, manage the cattle and the rules that will keep you safe as you work. You will then need to ride out as a team to coordinate the assembly of the herds of cows and drive them back to the corral.
After a much needed pause for lunch, the wranglers will arrange exercises for you to hone your ranching skills: team penning, team sorting and, for the more confident, lassoing.
In July and August, the surrounding towns regularly hold rodeos on Fridays and Saturdays. The Wirths are more than happy to take you to the rodeo to experience a typical American family outing (tickets and food off the ranch are at an extra charge).
Day 6 6: Wolf Creek - 3-8 hours ridingRocking Z RanchFor your last day on the ranch, let the team know what you want to do. Work with the cattle, take another long ride around a different part of the ranch's property or work on your technique in the yard.
You will enjoy a final dinner around the Wirth family table and head back to your lodge for the night.
Day 7 7: Wolf Creek - Helena - No ridingAfter saying your goodbyes to the Wirth family, you will be transferred to the airport (a 30 minute journey) - make sure to book your return flight after 10:30 am.
There is the possibility to rent a car to extend your trip and spend some time in Yellowstone National Park, only a three-hour drive from Helena.
Day 8 8 - No ridingArrival into the UK.
Dates & prices
- Dates are flexible and you can arrive/depart on any day and stay for as long as you like with discounts for longer stays. This holiday will confirm for one person and all departures are guaranteed. We recommend a stay of 6 nights, but it is possible to stay for as little as 3 nights and as many as 10 nights (but Saturday is a rest day with no activities and . Please contact us for a personalised quote over your preferred dates.
- If you arrive on the Sunday afternoon at 11:00 your transfer from Helena airport is included. If your arrival time is later, the private transfers (return trip Helena airport/hotel) will cost approx. $160 per vehicle. Transfers to Great Falls can also be arranged at a cost of $300 per vehicle (return).
- We recommend arriving into Helena a day earlier and staying the night in a comfortable hotel to recover from any jet-lag that you may experience from the long haul flight. This way, you will be able to jump right in for your first day on the ranch. If this option is of interest, we would be happy to organise your hotel in Helena - just let us know!
- Free for children under 3 years old. 10% Discount for children from 3 to 12 years old.
- There is no single supplement if you are willing to share a room with another guest of the same sex. To guarantee your own room there is a single supplement of between £310-£380 depending on the season.
- Important: Tips are compulsory in USA and are about 15% of the cost of your stay. These gratuities are NOT included in the above price and are payable locally.
- 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.
- There is a maximum rider weight of 95kg/ 14st 13lbs/ 209 lbs
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.
Price doesn't include
Visa fees (ESTA) of USD 14 which must be arranged in advance
An additional night at the beginning of the trip in Helena
September - October 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 04/10/2020 11/10/2020 £1,560 Full 11/10/2020 18/10/2020 £1,560 Full 18/10/2020 25/10/2020 £1,560 Guaranteed departure Book now 25/10/2020 01/11/2020 £1,560 Guaranteed departure Book now
November - December 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 01/11/2020 08/11/2020 £1,495 Guaranteed departure Book now 08/11/2020 15/11/2020 £1,495 Guaranteed departure Book now 15/11/2020 22/11/2020 £1,495 Guaranteed departure Book now 22/11/2020 29/11/2020 £1,495 Guaranteed departure Book now 29/11/2020 06/12/2020 £1,450 Guaranteed departure Book now 06/12/2020 13/12/2020 £1,450 Guaranteed departure Book now 13/12/2020 20/12/2020 £1,450 Guaranteed departure Book now
There is a horse for everyone at the Rocking Z but most horses are well-behaved and very responsive. They can be ridden individually or as part of a group and trust their riders. They love human contact and will happily walk towards you in the paddock, asking for an ear scratch!
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
You must be comfortable at all paces to join the long rides (half day and full day).
Children of all ages are welcome. Children six and over will spend much of the day learning to ride and playing games on their horses. If their riding ability is good, children will be allowed to join some adult rides.
There is a maximum rider weight of 95kg/ 14st 13lbs/ 209 lbs
Riding in a western saddle with the possibility of bareback and in a halter are possible.
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
The most important requirement is that you love horses, appreciate being outdoors and are interested in learning and getting involved in life on the ranch!
- Western saddles and bridles (snaffle bits)
- Ethological working aids (lunges, sticks)
- Rain gear and waterbottle
* We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
There is no pool but a large jacuzzi is open to all guests.
Everyone eats together with the family and enjoys great home ranch cooking!
Fresh fruit is available to you all day and the bread is all home made.
Water, beer on tap and wine are available at evening meals. All other alcoholic drinks are not included in the price of your trip.
May and June are mild, with temperatures around 20-25°C during the day and 0-5°C on the coldest nights. The most rainfall is likely to fall in spring.
July and August are the hottest months with temperatures sometimes reaching 30°C. The evenings are often around 10-15°C.
Between September and October, the temperature gets progressively cooler to around 15-20°C with cold evenings and nights. Some years the fall and winter may be bright and crisp and other years the snow may start to fall from October.
Guide and local team
It's also considered 'good manners' to leave a $1 to 2 supplementary tip to taxi drivers.
Regarding tips made to the team at the ranch, we recommend giving these to Patty or Zach who will then share it out amongst the rest of the team. A 15% tip is expected.
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun
- Fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold
- Waterproof jacket - the rains can be difficult to foresee and it's better to be prepared.
- Casual clothes for the evening
- 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 clothes for the evening
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps to protect against thorns. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Sandals, flip-flops or trainers
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding
Other useful items
- Swimsuit - for plunge pools
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Mosquito repellent
- Insect bite relief cream
- 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!
- Carry a copy of your passport and insurance details with you.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
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?
The Pat Parelli method
Natural horsemanship, is a gentle method, that brings the horse to make a decision to do something but without forcing him. Pat Parellis’ inspiration for this method came from the way that horses behave in a wild herd.
Horses need a leader who they respect and who they can trust, in the presence of this leader they become calm and tame.
At the ranch, through 7 games that Pat Parelli teaches, you will discover this method: the friendship game, the porcupine game, the driving game, the yo-yo game, the circle game, the sideways game and the squeeze game.
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