Ranch Week Vacations
Summer days are anything but lazy at the Dryhead Ranch. Running a ranch is a full-time business and our cowboys and crew are devoted to the upkeep and management of the land and livestock. During the summer months on every horseback ride we find and check cattle. Stray cows and calves are sought out on neighboring ranches, sick or injured animals are roped and doctored, fences are checked and fixed after cattle are returned to our pastures, water holes and springs are looked at to make sure they are flowing. This is an authentic working cattle drive vacation.
Calf Branding Season
In Montana and Wyoming ranchers mark their cattle with brands. Each rancher’s brand is listed in a state brand registry. Any cattle that are bought, sold, or lost on cattle drives in Montana can be accounted for according to their brands. Spring is branding time, when the calves are small enough to be handled by a crew of guests and cowboys on foot. After our Montana cattle drives are finished, and our cattle are all at the ranch the branding begins. When you join us for a cattle drive vacation, you’ll see that we brand in the traditional way: with cowboys on horseback roping calves by the two hind feet one at a time. Calves are then drug to the waiting ground crew. Each calf is branded, given shots, ears notched, and males are castrated. By law we are required to brand our cattle to show ownership.
Spring Ranch Weeks
Branding is a social occasion on ranches all over the west. Neighboring cowboys and friends come to offer their help, be it roping, wrestling, branding, giving shots, hauling water to the crew, or fixing lunch. After a long winter, it provides a chance to catch up on local news and get reacquainted with good friends.
As a guest during branding you will be involved in one of the oldest of cowboy traditions, as it was done in the 19th century. You are welcome to participate in all of the get down and dirty work you would like to experience. We just try to keep you safe. The week also offers many hours of riding as you gather the herd to brand and return them to spring pastures.
Summer Ranch Weeks
Our cowboys devote a great deal of time to working with young horses during the summer months. Two and three year olds are becoming mature enough to begin making small rides to move cattle or just become acquainted with the outside world with a rider accompanying them. The cowboys will take several weeks teaching the young horses to be caught, led, wear a saddle, carry a rider on a cattle drive, and begin responding to “a feel”. This is a remarkable process and a wonderful opportunity to watch horsemen at work.
As a guest during our cattle drives in Montana, you may spend several hours a day horseback riding through herds of mother cows and their calves, checking on the pastured horses and soaking up the vivid scenery of southern Montana. You may encounter antelope and coyotes, surprise mule deer in the brush, or watch a black bear and her cubs on a nearby hillside. You may get to work your first cow out of a herd and realize the partnership between you and your horse.
Book Your Ranch Week Today!
You may search the country side for arrow heads and scrapers baking in the red dust from years gone by, or slip inside a cool cave to see pictographs emerge on the walls as your eyes adjust to the dim light. You may visit the Dryhead Canyon buffalo jump and see bleached bones from the countless buffalo that fell to their deaths 500 years ago. You may see some of the last American wild horses raising dust as they take their harem a safe distance from the road.
Ranch weeks are the best enjoyed horseback riding vacation we offer. If you are looking for a unique hands on experience, that immerses you into every aspect of ranch life, from helping to halter break a young colt, to doctoring cattle, to wrangling horses at sunrise, to branding a calf, you need to reserve your place for a ranch week at the Dryhead Ranch.