Cattle Work at The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch
The Hideout is foremost a riding and horsemanship ranch. One of the equestrian activities we offer is working or playing with cattle on horseback. Since its founding, The Hideout has been a working cattle ranch and many guests come to The Hideout to get a taste of working cattle, learn how to work cattle or participate in stockmanship and team penning.
The art of working cattle is called stockmanship. When working cattle, we embrace the principles of low stress stockmanship using the methods of Bud Williams, Curt Pate and other stockmanship experts. You can compare low stress stockmanship to natural horsemanship with the goal of putting the least stress possible on the animal. As with good horsemanship it is all about pressure and release.
To teach these principles we keep a small herd of yearlings at The Hideout or Trapper Creek Ranch for our guests to enjoy and learn the basics of stockmanship.
Managing Expectations for Working Cattle
Our goal is to manage expectations and make sure you enjoy your vacation. When it comes to working cattle on the range guests should realize that all farm and ranch work is unpredictable and hard to plan. We are dealing with live animals, unpredictable and changing weather patterns and other organizations. Some work and riding on the range might be too challenging for many riders. The reasons we have yearlings available at The Hideout is for our guests to work during weeks there is little or no cattle work on the range, or the cattle work is too challenging.
Stockmanship refers to the techniques used to handle livestock in a low stress and respectful way whenever working, moving, sorting, or doing anything involving cattle or other livestock
You could define it as communicating with cattle in such a way that is respectful and limits stress. Some like to say “Be as gentle or intense as needed, but if you can get it done without stressing the animal do it that way”.
During most of the season we have a small herd of cattle at The Hideout who graze our 200-acre pasture in the creek bottom or other properties near The Hideout. A fun day is learning the techniques of moving cattle in the arena and then riding out to gather these naughty boys and girls driving them through the creek, uphill, through the woods and into the arena.
After this, guests can enjoy team penning, sorting and other “cattle games” on horseback. This is an ideal controlled setting to practice. Many guests prefer practicing cattle work with our small herd compared to the work on the range.
Beginning, Intermediate, or Experienced Riders
Depending on the kind of terrain, duration of the rides and riding distance, cattle work can be enjoyed by all levels of riders. The novice rider might help keep the herd together while the other guests ride out with the wranglers to round up cattle and drive them towards the main herd. More advanced guests may go with wranglers to sort off neighbor’s cattle, get strays out of the timber or ride ahead to see if fences are open or closed.
We ride on approximately 650,000 acres and elevations ranging from 4,200 to 10,500 feet. To take complete advantage of this vast and unique backyard we trailer out for 95% of our rides. Riding out from the barn on horseback would not get us very far.
Having access to a fleet of seven trucks and trailers gives us an enormous flexibility to explore new country and rides.
All our trucks are well maintained, equipped with exhaust and trailer brakes. All our wranglers are a minimum of 21 years old and well trained in handling this equipment in a safe and effective way.
Safety is key
Experience and knowledge are vital to providing our guests with the most rewarding rides. You
will encounter a wide variety of terrain, and it is not uncommon to encounter large temperature variations. Your riding opportunities will change depending on weather, location and difficulty of terrain
Please also read our page Trail Riding in which you will find more very useful information on riding at The Hideout Lodge & Guest