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Pryor Mountains Working Ranch

Itinerary for Pryor Mountains Working Ranch

Each morning begins as the cook heads for the cookhouse and our wranglers head with their horses out to gather in the cavvy. There will be several horses that each guest will ride during the week. Horses are picked by our head cowboy according to the riding abilities of each guest. They are carefully chosen to give you a challenging experience as well as a safe one. Your horse will be your favorite memory by Friday.
Every week we have a campfire, and you will prepare your tinfoil dinner to cook on the fire. We love the conversation and friendships that happen around the fire, as we eat marshmallows and brand your chinks or clothing with our brand. 
We always have something going on and whatever time of year you choose to come and ride with us we always have a real ranch atmosphere for you to experience. 

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. This is usually in May and early June. With 800 head of calves to brand this takes several weeks. Montana and Wyoming are branding states and it is federal law that each calf, as well as each cow, carries our )S( brand. We rope each calf from a well trained cow horse and drag them to the branding fire where we have calf holders (guests and cowboys) hold the calves and one of the cowboys brands the calf. Vaccinations and ear marks are given (by guests) and we start over with another calf. We brand about 100 calves each day.
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. The week also offers many hours of riding as you gather the herd to brand and return them to spring pastures.

In May, we begin trailing the cattle north to the ranch. It takes four days to trail cows to the ranch which is located on the East slope of the Pryor Mountains in Montana. The trail follows the historic old Sioux Trail as we begin with bentonite hills, go single file through Horse Thief Canyon, trail by Lockhart Ranch and into the Dryhead country.

Summer days are anything but lazy at the 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.
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.

June also begins the choosing of mare bands and adding stallions for the breeding season. These babies give the cowboys the opportunity to break and train the horses. The mini horse drives give you the opportunity to gather and rotate the mare bands on the best grazing areas. Guests love moving these horses and the smaller band of mares make it easier to teach beginners how to trail and handle horses.

July and August gets us into our ranch rodeo activities. We bring in several animals to be able to practice sorting and working cattle out of a herd. At times the excitement level is keen but teamwork is the key.

The fall weeks mean longer days and lots of riding. All our cowboys share in the gathering of 15,000 acre pastures and bringing each cows and calves to the ranch to give pre-weaning shots and again two weeks later to wean the calves. After the calves are weaned and hauled to Wyoming, we pregnancy test our cows and hope for a 100% pregnancy rate for the next year. These large gathers are a thrill few get to experience. 
This is an opportunity to ride in big country somewhat alone gathering 800 or better head of cattle and moving them 6 - 8 miles back to the ranch to be worked in a large set of corrals.
97% of the USA's cow herds are in groups of less than 50 cows.
97% of the people who own cattle have a job in town and have the cow herd as a second income or a hobby.
Ranches who have 800 head of cows are rare and even more rare is the privilege to ride a cow horse with real cowboys and gather cows on thousands of acres of open, beautiful, grassland country that is untouched by human influence.
This is also the time when we start gathering mares to do the registration papers on the weanling colts and trailing the cows back to Wyoming. 
The guest season ends in early November. 

During the winter the head wrangler stays at the ranch and cares for our mare band in the spring creek pasture and our guest horse cavvy and older colts in the south pasture. The creek has been frozen so he has had to pump water everyday as well as keep the ice out of the tanks. Riding in below zero temperatures creates special challenges for keeping horses on their feet and our riders safe also.
Winter also brings time to research stud and mare bloodlines so that we can put together our mare bands in the spring and create the kind of horses bloodlines that are most popular for ranch raised horses. 

May 23rd -30th - Branding, doctoring calves, gathering into the trap to brand.
June 6th -13th - Branding week. Gathering to trap to brand.
June 13th -20th - Branding calves returning pairs to mountain pastures.
June 20th -27th - Finish up branding and take cows to distant pastures.
June 27th -July 4th - Checking horses and doctoring calves and fixing fence of our ranch.
July 11th -18th - Moving cows to summer pasture.
July 18th -25th - Photography week
July 25th -Aug. 1st - Checking cows, training young horses.
Aug. 1st -8th - Pushing cows and calves back up on mountain pastures. Halter breaking colts.
Aug. 8th -15th - Training young horses.
Aug. 15th - 22nd - Riding southern pastures check heifers and mare bands.
Aug. 22nd -29th -  Checking cows on higher mountain pastures. Training colts.

May 22nd - 28th - Branding, doctoring calves, gathering into the trap to brand.
June 5th -11th - Branding week. Gathering to trap to brand.
June 12th - 18th - Branding calves returning pairs to mountain pastures.
June 19th - 25th - Finish up branding and take cows to distant pastures.
June 26th - July 2nd - Checking horses and doctoring calves and fixing fence of our ranch.
July 10th -16th - Moving cows to summer pasture.
July 17th - 23rd - Photography week
July 24th - 30th - Checking cows, training young horses.
July. 31st - Aug. 6th - Pushing cows and calves back up on mountain pastures. Halter breaking colts.
Aug. 21st - 27th -  Checking cows on higher mountain pastures. Training colts.
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Pryor Mountains Working Ranch
Tour Code: WRWY02
7 days / 6 nights ~$1,900.00
Dates : May to Oct

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handlinga spirited horse in open country.
Lodging: Standard
Lodging Level Explained
= Facilities in lodges, estancias, haciendas, resorts, etc.
Basic lodging - some with shared bathroom facilities, usually no AC or room service.
Regular standard room - usually with private bath.
 Accommodations with superior comforts.
 = Trips with nights in tent camps. Sometimes the first and last night are in hotels.
Basic tent camping - everyone helps out with camp chores.
Regular standard with some camp amenities and camp cook.
Camping facilities with superior comforts like camp shower, bathroom facility..
 = Trips that combine nights in hotels and camping.
Basic accommodation and basic camping facilities can be expected.
Regular standard with some nicer amenities.
Only assigned to hotel and camping facilities with superior comforts.

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Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Tack: Western
Horses: Quarter horse
Pace: All paces, some long days in the saddl...

Airport: Billings MT
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