Porcupine Hills Ranch

Alberta Canada: (WRAB04)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/alberta_porcupine_hills_working_ranch.aspx

Introduction
Alberta Canada

Surround yourself with 4,000 acres of vast open country which comprises the impressive Porcupine Hills Ranch. Herds of elk and deer mingle with Texas Longhorns and Crossbred cattle, as well as Percheron, Appaloosa and Quarter horses. This working ranch is a family-owned and operated. The family enjoys meeting and introducing guests the from all over the world to their western lifestyle. During the season from May to October you can join in on weekly ranch activities, branding in the spring and cattle round ups and drives (spring/summer/fall drives - book early).
Wayne and Judy and their family take pride in the historic legacy that depicts the ranch. Their daughter and her family farm 30 miles east, while three sons, Rusty, Brett and Flint, divide their time between other interests and ranch life. Established in 1881 by Colonel Lyndon, the foothills ranch stands as testament to a bygone era. By preserving their Western heritage and lifestyle, they are able to share the legends, history and culture of cowboy life with their guests. A visit to the ranch in the Porcupine Hills will leave you with a lifetime of western memories. If you have always wanted to be part of ranch life or a cattle drive, give some thought to spending some quality time on horseback in the beautiful Porcupine Hills. The ranch runs about 600 head of cattle and a herd of over 80 horses, many of them home-bred, which are suitable for all abilities. They have been breeding and showing award winning Percherons since 1969 and also breed registered Quarter Horses and Appaloosas.
You become very much part of the family at this ranch and will enjoy home cooked meals and comfortable accommodation. The main ranch house has two double guestrooms with a shared bathroom and the new cabin has two ensuite double rooms. Alternatively you may choose the rustic life in a turn of the century refurbished log bunkhouse.
Access is convenient from either the Calgary International Airport (1.5 hour drive) or from the U.S. Montana border crossing. Often guests use the place as a staging area to drive to Banff, Waterton National Park, Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump or Calgary, returning the same day to the Ranch. (Please note that while the ranch has a high speed internet satellite, there is no cell phone service at the ranch.)

A Rancher's Goals
The goals of ranchers today is the same as yesteryear: produce the best beef we possibly can, raise the best horses that a cowboy would wish to have, operate in harmony with the wildlife and be conscientious stewards of the land.

Accomodation


The family-run historic working cattle and horse ranch, is tucked into the rugged and beautiful Porcupine Hills in southwestern Alberta. The ranch maintains a set of well-established, ranch buildings some of which date back to the 1800s. Guests may choose between three accommodation options: a new log guest house, the main ranch house or an historic Pioneer cabin.
Meals are home-cooked with ranch-raised beef & plenty of vegetables. Desserts are varied, homemade and delicious! Hearty ranch breakfast served.
The new, hand-crafted custom-built NEW LOG GUEST CABIN (pictured below) was completed only three years ago. Completely self-contained, this cozy accommodation choice very much reflects Lucasia's western flavour. Available in this cabin are two bedrooms with queen-sized beds as well as a loft with a double-sized futon. The cabin has a fully equiped kitchen and two bathrooms.




Riding

The emphasis is on scenic rides around the ranch, checking over the 600 head of cattle and the breeding horses as you go. The gentle pace of the riding is set by the terrain and respect for the horses.

The ranch can take all levels of riding ability. Children over twelve years old are welcome. The riding is all at a walk on the ranch; the riding will be more challenging during Cattle Drive weeks.


Horses
The ranch has a herd of over 80 horses, many of them home-bred, which are suitable for all abilities. They have been breeding and showing award winning Percherons since 1969 and also breed registered Quarter Horses and Appaloosas. The Lucas Family purchased their first registered Percheron in 1969. The pair of mares "Royal Daisy" and Drake Farms "Ann" came from Ontario. These horses sparked a desire to enter the Show Ring!
Royal Daisy was shown extensively and was prominent in the winner's circle for many years.Farman Bill and Opal Lucas toured England and France in 1975 and returned home with the Grey Percheron Stallion "Farman". He was the first French Stallion to be imported from France to Canada since 1930. One of the first ranch-raised Perchersons to be shown widely and successfully was "Big John". In 1976, he won three Grand Championships and two Supreme Percheron trophies in Alberta. That fall he went on to be named Grand Champion Stallion at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair. Sir WilliamBig John's sire, the renowned "Justimere Showtime" also sired a half-brother out of the mare "Drake Farms Ann". This Stallion was "Sir William"; he was perennially at the top of his class for the few short years he lived. The progeny of these horses has allowed the ranch to show quality Percherons for many years. The ranch held production sales in 1983, 1986 and 1998. Wayne and Judy had a Percheron dispersal sale in High River, AB but the need to keep Percherons in their lives was too great. The small herd of ranch Percherons is slowly growing and more and more frequently of late; the ranch horses are finding their way to the show ring!

Itinerary



The emphasis is on scenic rides around the ranch, checking over the 600 head of cattle and the breeding horses as you go. The gentle pace of the riding is set by the terrain and respect for the horses. You would normally expect to ride out in the morning and afternoon, returning to the ranch house for lunch. Day rides can also be arranged. Lessons in Western riding are available to everyone at no additional cost. Ranch activities also include cattle drives, branding days, seasonal round-ups and regular checks on cattle & horses. Other options include team roping practice and learning the basics of roping, or hiking the hills and watching for birds and other wildlife. Taste the crystal clear spring water that flows through the ranch yard into a pond that is home to colorful ducks and geese. Join the family as they go about the daily ranch activities. After a day in the saddle, you can spend the evening beside a crackling campfire, relax on the deck, or challenge someone to a game in the horseshoe pit.

 At certain times of the year round ups and cattle drives are organized.
Please see below for more information.

Round Ups
During the Branding Week you can take part in a very traditional experience that even today echoes the practices of the past. You will help the wranglers gather, sort and brand the herd. This is a very social time for all the ranchers and their families.

Cattle Drives
    Spring Drive: The first cattle drive of the year allows us to take the yearlings into the Forest Reserve in the first part of June. Usually we gather the yearlings on one day and drive them three miles to the neighbor’s corrals. They will stay there overnight, and the next morning our group will join us as we combine the herd and move them between 15 and 20 miles into the Forest Reserve. This will take place on the 1st of June (weather permitting).
    Summer Drive: The second cattle drive will take place in mid-July (weather permitting). This involves taking up the heifers that have been with the bulls for six weeks. This drive is similar to the first as they will go into the same pasture as the earlier group.
    Fall Drive: The third cattle drive is the Fall Roundup. This drive takes place about the middle of October as the cattle need to be out of the Forest Reserve by the 15th of the month. We usually leave early from the ranch buildings and ride into the reserve from the back of the ranch. The cattle are gathered and pushed to the corral setup, which is located in the Reserve. At the end of the day we will return to the ranch for a well-earned rest and a wholesome supper. The next day will be very similar as all of the stragglers need to be found and corralled. While the search is on for the stragglers, a group of ranchers will be separating the cattle as there are five ranchers with herds combined on the Reserve. When everyone has returned, each owner will leave with their herds at different intervals. The ranch herd will then be driven the seven miles home. This is two hard days in the saddle and we recommend that the rider be seasoned. Please book early as space is limited and these weeks are the first to book.


Rates and Dates for Porcupine Hills Ranch

Rates include:

Accommodations, all meals, daily riding, day trip to "Head Smashed into Buffalo Jump" or "Historic Fort MacLeod" on the regular ranch weeks

Packages and Options



Minimum Deposit: ~$50.00 per person

GST (VAT): 6% (12% for Canadian Resident)
    GST (VAT) 6% (12% for Canadian Resident)

Transfer and Other Options:



 DescriptionCan$~US$
2012 Transfer from Calgary Airport and return at set times (rate for 1st rider)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$ 300 $300
2012 Each additional rider afterwards - transfer rate per person - then total cost shared by group
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
$ 50 $50

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

No riding on Sundays. Gratuities.

Other Info
Meeting: Claresholm
Airport: Calgary
Transfer: Calgary Pick up between 12 noon and 6 pm

Climate: The area is known for its moderate climate.

What To Bring:
The dress code is always casual, so when you are relaxing around the ranch, wear whatever feels comfortable.

For Riding:
* Boots with a heel and smooth sole are recommended. If you don’t have your own, we do have a selection of boots for guests to use during their stay.
* A cowboy hat with stampede string or baseball cap secured with a cap clip
* Jeans or riding pants. We do not recommend that you ride in shorts.
* Long-sleeved shirt
* A sweater or fleece for layering on those cooler days
* Gloves
* Warm jacket for spring and fall riding


Around the ranch:
* Light weight waterproof jacket
* Spring and Fall can be cool, pack some warmer clothing
* Sunscreen
* Insect repellent
* Lip balm
* Sunglasses
* Camera