It’s that time of year for guest ranches throughout Canada, and they are gearing up for the 2012 season. Most of the ranches will open their doors to guests from mid to end of May, before then there is a lot of preparation that takes place.
If you have vacationed at a guest ranch, then you know there is a lot that goes into making a ranch run smoothly and keeping them in working order.
Even with a blanket of white snow, spring cleaning begins. Fences are inspected and tended to accordingly. Once accessible, trails will need to be checked for any fallen trees or change in footing.
For the working ranches, fields are becoming speckled with little black or brown calves, and for some small foals are not far behind – a sign that spring is just around the corner. Around the first of May, all those calves will need to be branded. Several ranches offer vacation packages allowing guests to get in on the branding fun.
The horses all need to be vaccinated, and checked over before open season. Their teeth are floated to remove all sharp points, making sure they get the best from their food. Any horses with long hooves are trimmed and their coats, manes and tails are inspected for burs they may have accumulated from being turned out to pasture over the winter months.
Any last minute staff hiring will be done and lodges and cabins will be cleaned and set up for the arrival of the first guests. Once staff arrives at the ranch, they will be put through weeks of training before guests arrive, in order to provide the best service and vacation.
There’s a lot to get done over the next month and a half in preparation for the 2012 season and the ranches of Canada are all looking forward to meeting new guests and doing what they love best – sharing the western lifestyle.
Want a chance to stay at a beautiful and adventurous guest ranch? Here’s your chance! The BC Guest Ranch Association (BCGRA) launched their “Great Canadian Guest Ranch Getaway Contest” and, at its close, 12 entrants from around the globe will have won once-in-a-lifetime getaways to some of beautiful British Columbia’s most exciting guest ranches.
This unique contest, which boasts an accumulated prize value of more than $30,000, is taking place online via the association’s Facebook Page, and is comprised of six rounds. Every two weeks, a new round will begin and two new prizes will be up for grabs – that’s two guest ranches and two winners!
Winners will receive all-inclusive stays at one of the BCGRA member guest ranches. Some of the activities they might enjoy while they visit include horseback riding, world-class fishing, and riding the range on a working cattle ranch. Whether they’re looking for pristine nature, rest and relaxation, or thrilling adventure in the wilds of B.C., they’ll find it there.
People are entering the contest via the association’s Facebook Contest Page and have been asked to provide, along with their contact details, short but creative explanations as to why they think they’re the most deserving of the prize. The winners will be those entrants who’ve successfully convinced the BCGRA judges that they deserve a stay at one of the province’s best guest ranches.
Making the contest even more exciting is the fact that people can enter more than once! At the end of each round, eager entrants who entered but didn’t win can enter again!
The BCGRA is a non-profit organization that represents over a dozen BC Guest Ranches. Says BCGRA: “From horseback riding, world-class fishing, wilderness retreats to western family vacations our members offer a diverse selection of BC’s best.” And this contest promises to show the world (and especially the winners) just what it means to leave behind the hustle and bustle of life and escape to the wilds of beautiful BC.
For more information about the BCGRA and the Great Canadian Guest Ranch Getaway Contest, visit the association’s website at www.bcguestranches.com or Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BCGuestRanchers. Alternately, feel free to call the BCGRA and contest organizers directly at (250) 593-0258.