- Ride alongside the cowboys, moving cattle, sorting and monitoring the various herds.
- Farming 87,000 acres the ranchers pay particular attention to conservation, wildlife and the environment.
- A very intimate ranch experience, with normally no more than 4 guests at a time (up to 8 for private groups).
- Enjoy the freedom of riding in vast open spaces.
Day 1 1 : EUROPE -COLORADO SPRINGS-RANCH (Saturday) - No ridingQuality Inns & Suites Garden of the GodsFlight to Colorado Springs - flights not included.
On your arrival into Colorado Springs, we suggest a night at a hotel in this charming 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! Please note that this night is not included in the advertised price, as you are free to make your own plans and book your preferred hotel. We are happy to provide you with a detailed quotation.
This night in the hotel will allow you to rest up before you head out to the ranch the following day and help you recharge before a busy week working with the cowboys. In the evening, you will be free to try one of the local restaurants and explore the town a little.
Flights and hotel night are not included in the price.
Day 2 2 : RANCH (Sunday) - No ridingChico basin ranchAfter breakfast, a wrangler will pick you up at the hotel around 1:00pm to drive you to the ranch.
Sunday is a rest day. You can arrive early in the afternoon and use the free time to settle in, explore the area and meet the team.
Day 3 3 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingChico basin ranchYour first day at the ranch!
The team provides all the equipment and supplies necessary for you to cook yourself your own breakfast and picnic. You will meet the team at the HQ, make sure to bring your packed lunch with you!
Then it's time to go to the stables with the Cowboys, where you will be allocated your horse and equipment (if you are not familiar with Western riding, the wranglers will take the time to train you).
All horses are extremely well trained and are the ideal companions for your adventure. You get to know each other with a ride across grassland. It's also your first opportunity to get close to the cattle and learn the ropes of cattle driving.
Ride back to the Ranch and get ready for a hearty dinner, prepared by the team and taken family-style, all together. Every night, you will be welcome into the home of one of the staff or dinner (rotating between each staff member).
IMPORTANT: The following program is provided as an indication, it is by no means exhaustive but reflects all the activities in which you are asked to paticipate.
The weeks are dictated by the life on the farm, your desires and your experience. Every evening, you will discuss the following day's programme with the wranglers.
Day 4 4 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingChico basin ranchToday marks your first experience at driving cattle.
Gather the cattle and drive them in the right direction. Depending on your abilities and your experience, you will be asked either to push them from the back or to catch the runaways.
Chico Basin is an eco ranch - in order to preserve the pastures, the cattle have to be moved ofter from one pasture to another. The cowboys will be delighted to tell you more about their techniques and traditions - no need to push them!
Breeding is done in the most natural possible way - no hormones, no antibiotics, which only means one thing: a mean steak dinner in the evening!
Day 5 5 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingChico basin ranchAfter a hearty breakfast (of your own making),a long ride will take you through the vast grassland of the Ranch.
Checking and mending the fence might be on the menu today. You will cover long distances to check the entirety of the estate, with some good gallops to keep up the pace. You will also make the best of this ride and check the herd - it is important to check for signs of illness or wounds. In the springtime, you might also spot a newly born calf!
You will be back at the Ranch in the middle of the afternoon, with some time to relax before dinner.
Day 6 6 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingChico basin ranchIf you are lucky and going to the ranch in the spring time, you may be able to participate in a big branding day.
This traditional event is an absolute necessity at the Ranch. It allows wranglers and ranchers to identify their animals as they sometimes get mixed up with other herds. Branding is traditionally done around springtime.
After going through the cattle to identify the individuals that need to be branded, fires are lit and it's time to get down and roll up your sleeves. Learn how to use a lasso to catch the calves, before branding and vaccinating them.
You will be assigned a task suiting your experience fitness levels. Some guests stay on horseback and control the herd, while others work with the calves. Make sure to tell the wranglers what you are comfortable with.
Day 7 7 : RANCH - 4-8 hours ridingChico basin ranchSeveral cows and their calves must be moved to another pasture. You ride slowly to make sure you don't loose any calves, still weak and definitely not too quick! By now, you should be able to drive cattle and overcome any obstacles you might encounter. Gates no longer stop you!
You might also have a chance to get close to some birds and deers.
Day 8 8 : COLORADO SPRINGS- EUROPE - NoAfter breakfast, you say your goodbyes to the team - or rather, your "see you next year". If your flight is late enough, you might go for one last morning ride.
Transfer to Colorado Springs (payable locally) or extend your trip with a Colorado road trip. Please contact us for extensions.
Flight to Europe.
Dates & prices
- Rates are per person, calculated on the basis of a 6-night's stay and are based on a shared bedroom and bathroom. The groups are composed of 2 to 4 riders maximum. Private groups can be of 6 riders.
- Longer stays are possible, but all arrivals at the ranch are on Sundays. There is no horseback riding on the day of arrival and there are no guided activities on Saturday afternoong or Sundays at the Chico Basin Ranch. If you spend 2 weeks at the ranch some non riding activities will be proposed like fishing, hiking or others activities outside the ranch (to be paid additionally and locally). Please contact us.
- Your first night at the hotel is not included but we would be happy to add to your quotation.
- Children aged 6-11 years get a discount of around $399/€350/£315 in 2022, or $440/€450/£395 in 2023 (please contact us for the exact rate). The minimum age to ride at the ranch is 8 yo.
- Transfers to or from Colorado springs are not included. Count about $75 per car each way, payable locally.
- Tips to the local team are compulsory in the USA and represent around 10% of the cost of your stay. These are payable locally. Please factor in around $220-$250.
- 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.
Price doesn't include
Transfers by car from Colorado Springs to the ranch
Visa fee (ESTA) - this must be arranged in advance
Departure Return Price without flights Status 23/09/2023 30/09/2023 £1,995 €2,254 $2,474Full Contact an advisor 30/09/2023 07/10/2023 £1,995 €2,254 $2,474Full 07/10/2023 14/10/2023 £1,995 €2,254 $2,474Full 14/10/2023 21/10/2023 £1,995 €2,254 $2,474Full 21/10/2023 28/10/2023 £1,995 €2,254 $2,474Full 28/10/2023 04/11/2023 £1,995 €2,254 $2,474Full
All horses are ridden western style.
Guide & local team
The ranch is supervised by an environment protection association. The terrains and fields of the ranch are managed in an ecological and holistic way. The wranglers and the staff are either employed or volunteers. They are very friendly and do their best to make the most of your stay. Some of them are sometimes a little talkative because of their shyness. Go first and talk with them!
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Children under 8 years old can ride inside the ranch. Over 8 years old and if matching the riding level children can join the outside activities accompanied of their parents.
Rider weight limit: 105 kg / 16st4 / 230 lbs.
Long canters and trot or jog (sitting in the saddle) depending on what needs to be done - working directly with the cattle will be, on the other hand, slow.
Tacking ability and participation
You may wish to take part in the daily tasks of the ranch like watching the cattle, mending fences...
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Although the Chico is a serious working ranch, the team will not expect you to do more than you want.
Front saddle bags
A rope to attach your jacket at the back of the saddle
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
Both rooms share a bathroom and open plan kitchen sitting area. A washing machine and tumble dryer are available.
WiFi is available although signal in the rooms can be very weak.
Dinners are prepared by the staff and taken all together in their personal homes.
If you wish to drink alcohol you have to bring some as the ranch doesn't have a license to and is a BYOB type. (Bring Your Own Bottle).
- Dry winters with an occasional wind-blown snow. Some very cold temperatures alternating with some surprisingly warm days.
- Windy springs with highly changeable weather, an occasional blizzard, large temperature changes and an occasional gentle soaking rain or wet snow to help nurture the grasslands.
- Low-humidity summers with hot days and comfortable nights -- The Threat of big thunderstorms is always there, and the Plains see some of the most ferocious hail storms of the entire continent.
- Pleasant falls -- often dry.
Overall it is a semi-arid with precipitations gradually increasing as you go eastward into Kansas and Nebraska. Dry winters, wetter springs and summer, highly changeable weather, often windy, and some occasional monstrous thunderstorms with damaging hail.
- 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
- 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 clothes for the evening
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend western boots or short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. 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
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre) - 1 bottle will be provided by the ranch
- Swiss army knife
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
- 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
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
- 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 (passport, camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- 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!
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
- Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
- Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
- Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
- Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
- Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.
Did you know?
Did you know?
Life on a working ranch
A working ranch holiday in the United States is a riding vacation where you will be asked to roll up your sleeves. Be ready to step in the shoes of the local wranglers, taking part in their daily routine. You will contribute to the operation of the ranch: tasks are varied and concrete, and you might be asked to check and mend fences, move cattle from one pasture to another, help brand and vaccinate the calves... Not for the faint of heart, a working ranch is a great place to push your limits and reconnect with nature.
Staying on a working ranch is an incredibly enriching experience and requires a positive attitude, good physical and riding abilities, and an open mind. The outdoors lifestyle and the routine of the ranch will soon come naturally to you!
On the blog