- Peru Horse Riding Vacations & Machu Picchu
- Romania Horse Riding Vacations
- Israel Horse Riding Vacations
- South Africa Horse Safari- Ants Lodges
- Portugal Horseback Riding Vacations
- France Countryside Riding Vacations
- Jordan Horse Riding Holidays
- France Chateau Chazelles Riding Holidays
- Italy Mediterranean Coast Riding Vacation
New Mexico Working Ranch Vacation GIla, New Mexico, United States
Saddle up for Cowgirl Camps, Cattle Round-Ups and Regular Ranch Weeks at an authentic Working Ranch in New Mexico
Trail rides include diverse nature rides and treks to Native American ruins. Guests may visit the ranch for special weeks including women only Cowgirl Camps, Cattle Roundups, and Regular Ranch Weeks to improve their riding skills and try new things like barrel racing, team penning, branding and cattle work. Guests are invited to participate in daily ranch chores and learn about life on a Southwestern ranch. Your hosts love their ranch and lifestyle, and this is reflected in their care of their land and their horses. This working ranch caters to a small number of guests, ensuring personal attention on your stay.
Ride the trails of the Apache, get up close to nature and experience a ranch vacation filled with abundant wildlife and rich Southwestern history. Located in the heart of Apache country, the surrounding territory was the home of Billy the Kid, Geronimo and Ben Lilly. The 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest and pristine Gila Wilderness surround the ranch on two sides. A working New Mexico cattle and horse ranch consisting of nearly 30,000 acres, there's a mild year-round climate that allows for horseback riding in every season. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed with western style, comfortable cabins.
While it might occasionally be necessary, the wranglers make every effort to avoid 'nose to tail' trail riding. They prefer horseback riding the way it was intended to be, in rugged, scenic country that can only be experienced from the back of a good horse. The American West holds a special place in the hearts of millions all over the world. This special ranch works hard to preserve these American West traditions.
Aspiring cowgirls with a taste for adventure and new cowgirl camp challenges will find a real working ranch experience at women only Cowgirl Camps, scheduled various times throughout the year. Cowgirl camps include 5 full days of southwestern Cowgirl Camp classes. You’ll ride back in time with authentic western tradition, ranch horses and patient instruction.
If you have lost your confidence for one reason or another, have recently made the decision to get back into horses after raising a family, or you are finally able to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning to ride and owning your very own horse, then Cowgirl Camp is for you! See itineraries for more informaiton on your vacation options.
Awards & Accolades
This working ranch vacation was featured on the Equitrekking New Mexico episode on the Emmy award-winning Equitrekking series on PBS. In the episode, host Darley Newman participated in Cowgirl Camp, works cattle and trail rides with owners and guests.
This working ranch has been featured in Western Horseman, Western Cowman and New Mexico magazines.
"Soaking in the wide-open views and intense quiet of big sky country (sorry Montana doesn't have a Monopoly), I forget about roping cows. What could beat standing off the map in Southern New Mexico with a horse and a Granny Smith," Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine
Packing for your Working Ranch Vacation
Please see Equitrekking Travel's General Packing List.
Laundry is available at this ranch. Please bring your own helmet.
Packing Suggestions for New Mexico guest ranches from the ranch staff:
Binoculars (to spot wildlife)
Flashlight (to use to walk back to your cabin after evening meals)
Medium weight jacket (fall/winter only)
Heavy Riding Coat/ Oilskin coat (for winter only)
Jeans with some stretch for riding
Bicycle shorts (yes- the ranch recommends them to prevent rubs when riding)
Tennis shoes or hiking boots/ shoes
Riding boots (well broken in boots)
Long sleeved shirts and short sleeved shirts (layers are always good for riding)
Canteen or several water bottles
Hat with stampede strings (so it doesn’t fall off when riding faster or in windy conditions)
Chaps or chinks are suggested if you have them
Rain slicker (for July/August, Nov/Dec)
Personal items and medications
Phone card for long distance phone calls (mobiles won’t work at the ranch)
The ranch provides hair dryers, towels and other bedding.
About the Horses
45 saddle horses- mostly Quarter horses. Debbie and Alan, the ranch owners, work hard taking care of their hard working horses. The horses have been described as tolerant, gentle, and good ranch horses. They have a good work ethic, and are able to accommodate a variety of riding levels and experiences.
Art Galleries, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Gila National Forest, Antique shops, Nature preserves. Within a 4 hour drive- Tombstone, El Paso, Mexico and other sites.
At the Ranch
This is a working cattle ranch. There occasionally may be unplanned events, situations or conditions that requires the ranch to alter or adjust any published itinerary or activities. The ranch staff will make every effort to minimize the impact on your visit, but these unplanned events can sometimes be fun and allow for more guest participation in working ranch activities.
A Sampling of Riding Options:
You always have a variety of options for rides which compliment your riding skill level and interests. You might opt for two half-day rides (with lunch at Headquarters) or a full day of horse riding to explore the thousands of scenic acres with lunch on the trail. Faster paced riding will be based on your individual riding skill level.
At the ranch, you can experience abundant wildlife, amazing geological phenomena, incredible vistas, great weather, challenging activities-- all the while improving your horseback riding skills. You might wish to take a breathtaking twenty plus mile round trip horseback ride to "Rastus Cabin" or Cottonwood Canyon with a packed lunch or relax with rides covering the same country where Geronimo once rode, around spectacular Horseshoe Canyon and into First Valley. Keep an eye out for the Big Horned Rams or wild Javelina.
Spend an entire day riding and exploring the Native American Ruins and Caves of the Mimbres Indians, which lie along Bear Creek- ruins that are 700 to 1300 years old. This will be a relaxing, ride with a packed lunch on the trails.
Take a half-day ride in the morning and try barrel racing in the afternoon. Enjoy lunch at the ranch headquarters.
Explore the magnificent canyons and astonishing geological formations at Hells Half Acre! This is a full days ride suitable for all level of riders.
Private Cabins, from single rooms to 2-3 bedrooms. Guests do not share unless requested. Cabins are equipped with a refrigerator, coffee maker, and microwave oven, thick towels, and comforters. Most have decks with rocking chairs for relaxing. Cabins are stocked with coffee, tea, creamer, sugar and sweetener. Please be aware that you will not have daily maid service or trash pick up.
Three meals a day are included in your stay. Meals are all home cooked, standard fare, hearty ranch food. The ranch will accommodate some vegetarians (not vegan).
Breakfast generally consists of any combination of pancakes, eggs, bacon, breakfast burritos, cereal, French toast, cereal, juice, and coffee. Lunch can be anything from casserole dishes to cold cut sandwiches or burritos. Dinner may include beef, chicken or pasta, vegetables, salads, breads and dessert.
BYOB. It's a good idea to bring your own specialty drinks, as alcohol is not available.
The Ideal Traveler
Guests who venture to this remote ranch are adventurous and seeking exciting horseback riding on good horses. Guests are active participants who want to try ranch activities and chores. There is no pool or spa at this ranch. The main focus/activity is horses and horseback riding.
Cowgirl Camps are ideal for women who may have lost their riding confidence for one reason or another, have recently made the decision to get back into horses after raising a family, or are finally able to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning to ride and owning a horse. These camps allow travelers to learn new skills.
Regular Ranch Week
Dates & Rates
7 days/ 6 nights
2012 & 2013 rates All Sunday - Saturday Stays (6 nights): $1763 USD* per person (single or double occupancy)
Special Group Discounts of 6 or more
Year-round (Sunday evening to Saturday morning)
* Includes all activities: Team Penning, Horsemanship, Unlimited Trail Riding, 3 Home Cooked Meals daily
Riding Level: Novice to Advanced
While each days' schedule will vary, depending on individual rider experience level, any ranch work we need to do, or weather conditions (rarely does weather affect our schedule, although it can happen), we invite you to get involved! Don't be shy! Grab a halter or a wheel barrow! By 8:30 a.m., you're joining the rest of the Double E Crew for a hearty family style breakfast around the table at Headquarters, meeting back at the barn by 9:30 a.m., preparing to mount your horse. Please remember -- all times are subject to change. Check with the Ranch Office if you have questions.
Each days' activities are discussed the night before, during dinner. Your voice counts! So, let us hear what you think! Our goal is to help you realize as many of your riding dreams as possible. You never know when we might have to bring horses into the home corrals or locate cattle that have wandered. The work is necessary and always meaningful. Our Guests are part of the Double E Crew. Saddle up - let's ride!
Please remember that Double E Ranch is a working cattle ranch. When dealing with cattle and horses, there may be unplanned events, situations or conditions which will require us to alter or adjust any published itinerary or activities. We will make every effort to minimize the impact these events might have on your visit.
During your Classic Ranch Week you'll have the opportunity to try some (or all!) of the following activities: Barrel Racing, Horsmanship, Colt Starting, Team Penning, Trail Riding and more.
* Please note that this itinerary is flexible and subject to changes and revisions based on the weather and other unforeseen circumstances.
2012 dates: Sept 1-6, Oct 6-11, Nov 3-8
2012 Rates: $1608 USD* per person
2013 Rates: $1660 USD* per person
Special Group Discounts of 5% off for groups of 6 or more
* Includes Horsemanship, Team Penning, Barrel Basics, Trail Riding, Individualized Instruction, Confidence Building, 3 meals daily, comfortable cabins
Riding Level: Novice to Advanced
Aspiring cowgirls with a taste for adventure and new cowgirl camp challenges will find a real working guest dude ranch experience - and much more - at the Ranch's women only Cowgirl Camps, which are scheduled throughout the year. Sign on for 5 full days of wide open spaces in the southwestern Cowgirl Camp classroom and ride back in time with authentic western tradition, ranch horses and patient instruction.
Cowgirl camps are a good fit for women who have lost their confidence for one reason or another, have recently made the decision to get back into horses after raising a family, or are finally able to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning to ride and owning your very own horse.
In this stress-free, phone-free atmosphere, Cowgirl Camp is an all-inclusive adventurous women only ranch week for adult Cowgirls of all ages. Not a spa/resort-type cowgirl camp, this Cowgirl Camp encourages you to challenge yourself by improving current riding and learning new skills. Wranglers are patient and knowledgeable. They'll teach you basic ranch horsemanship techniques, how to communicate with your horse and how to relax to enjoy a trail ride. All of this translates into you becoming a better rider. Top it all with learning what it takes to gather cattle and move them to the working pens! The ranch works to keep capacity small with an average of 6 to 10 Cowgirl participants, providing plenty of opportunities for individual attention and instruction.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON ARRIVAL: Arrive at the Ranch Sunday afternoon, relax, unpack and join Ranch Staff for dinner at 6 p.m. where you'll meet other Cowgirls. Staff will complete your registration, answer any questions and collect any balance that may still be due. We'll show you to your cabin.
If flying into Silver City, Ranch Staff will pick you up in Silver City at the Airport on the 6:30 p.m. arrival from Albuquerque. This time is subject to airline schedule change. Please! Reconfirm your arrival time and advise the office in advance. With airport security as it is, we will not assume anything.
If you are spending a few extra days in Silver City, we highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express (575-538-3696). Ranch Staff will make sure you are in Silver City to make airline connections out of Silver City on Friday afternoon.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON DEPARTURE: Cowgirls will depart the ranch on Friday afternoon between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. If Ranch Staff is taking you to the airport or motel in Silver City, you will depart the ranch at 3:30 p.m. Call the Ranch Office with your questions!
* While the Staff at the ranch will make every effort to ensure you have a memorable experience during Cowgirl Camp, the program is never so structured that the ranch staff can't or won't make adjustments to the itinerary. Please remember that this is a working cattle ranch. There occasionally may be unplanned events, conditions or situations which will require the ranch to alter or adjust any published itinerary. They will make every effort to minimize the impact on your visit.
2012 dates: Sept 23-28
Check-in: Sunday afternoon after 3 pm Check-Out: Friday afternoon before 6 pm
2012 Dates & Rates: $1556 USD* per person
2013 rates: $1764 USD* per person
Special Group Discounts of 5% off for groups of 6 or more
Riders must be Intermediate Level or better to participate. Extreme horseback riding conditions through rugged, diverse terrain, 6+ hours in the saddle.
You can participate in a cattle round up at a real working ranch. Because the climate in southwestern New Mexico is mild during every season, ranch owners Debbie and Alan are able to calve year ‘round. This means most guests have an opportunity to help with various phases of cattle work, and can include some elements of roping, round ups, penning, sorting, vaccinating, ear tagging, weaning, moving small groups of cattle to new pastures, putting out salt blocks, checking water tanks, and/or fence lines and more. The ranch raises Texas Longhorn and crossbred horned cattle. They believe it's important to preserve as much of the traditional "old South West" as possible, something that can't be found in many places today.
In order to sign on for Roundup Week, every rider must:
* be in good physical condition, able to ride comfortably at every gait daily for 6-8 hours in very rugged, rocky terrain
* be willing to participate in all ranch chores every day beginning at 6:45 a.m. and ending when every horse is unsaddled, washed, brushed, fed and put away.
* understand that this is a working ranch - not a dude ranch. The work you are participating in is meaningful, has a purpose and is important to the economics of the ranch.
You'll see incredible country and experience a true taste of the "Old West". The round up is not intended for inexperienced or timid riders. This type of riding is certainly not the same as riding in an arena. It will be often be strenuous and challenging, through steep canyons and rocky mesas and can often be at a faster pace. Your horse will be willing and tough.
The Gila National Forest adjoins the ranch's entire northern border. The roundup area includes thousands of acres of private ranch land as well as Forest Permit currently occupied by cattle that need to be gathered and brought back to the corrals at headquarters. Finding them will be challenging. Remember, you've still got to get them back to the branding pens. This is never as easy as it may seem.
Take advantage of this opportunity to improve all your cattle and horsemanship skills, riding rough country, moving cattle to the pens, sorting in a corral. The work has purpose, is rewarding and challenging!
Round Up Work - How to Move a Herd of Cattle on the Cattle Drives
Methods for working cattle during round ups in mountain country differ from those suitable for open or prairie country. Here, drives and/or circles are generally made from different sections of the Ranch: "The Box", "Cottonwood Area", "Dog Springs", or "First Valley". The entire territory requires several days to cover as the country is rough. You’ll return to Headquarters every evening, for a hot meal and comfortable bed.
The Trail Boss is always in charge of the Cattle Drive, Gather or Round Up. Everyone takes direction from him. Riders are generally split into groups and can go in opposite directions. Riders may be "dropped off" at various intervals. The riders try to help each other and keep the cattle from getting away up some canyon or other. The cattle are slowly moved toward the designated gather point, such as "The Box".
When cattle are well strung out, they will walk better and are more readily handled, making the job easier on the stock and riders.
The "Point Riders" are generally experienced cowhands and generally know the country they are traveling. They point the herd in the right direction and it is their job to see that there are no cattle in the way of the herd. When a Point Rider leaves his position, the "Swing Rider" on his side advances and takes over the front position.
The "Swing Rider" keeps the herd from cutting across trails when they are swung to one side sharply and also to keep the herd well strung out.
The "Flank Riders" keep the lagging cattle, narrowed down to only a few head. The weakest and the most tender-footed stock moving with the herd are usually found slowly falling behind. The strongest and fastest cattle are in the head of the herd and decide the pace.
In corralling a herd, you have to take precautions similar to those for handling wild stock. Time has to be given to the stock to go through the gate and if they are crowded too closely with riders some critters will break back between the riders and high-tail it for yonder. Remember to NOT position your horse in front of a gate. Cattle need to see the opening. They won't pass through the gate if they are looking at you.
Hold the main bunch till it's corralled and then take out after those that broke out. Circle them back and corral them by riding in close formation. Shove them through the gate of the corral at a rapid pace so they will not have time to turn back and make another getaway.
Remember -- getting the job done is important. But, having fun doing it is important, too! If you have problems, or have questions, tell one of the wranglers. Everyone is happy to help you out.
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"Thank you for making my cowgirl week more than expected! Everything was wonderful and I look forward to seeing you both again. Please thank RJ for his patient instructions. I will continue to use his teachings. Thank Lucy for her home cooked meals."
-- Shelley, USA
"Thank you for a wonderful time, and thank you for opening your home and ranch to us. I have learned so much and have gained so much more confidence. I was able to just let it all hang out and do what I've always longed to do. Thank you for the experience. I will hopefully (with my husband) be back. I loved my cabin!"
-- Maria, USA
"I will send you a big THANK YOU for this wonderful and unforgettable time that I could spend at your ranch. It gives me so much strength, clears my mind and I could fill up my very empty batteries. It was possible to experience so many things: Adventure trail rides (saw different kinds of wild animals), funny team penning (we had a lot of fun), riding a fantastic horse (who works together with me, trusts me and goes with me, where and however I want), the generous and very good meals (a big thank you to Lucy), lots of friendly guests, and your employers Mark, Eddie, Preston, and A.C."
-- Eva, Switzerland
"Chris and T would tike to thank you and your staff for a wonderfuf time at the ranch. Our experiences were better than we could have ever imagined. Since we have been home we continue to refer to the time as, now we would be feeding the horses or now is the the we would meet RJ for the ride. Even though we were only around you guys for a week, Chris and I feel like we have known you all for quite some time. We felt right at home our entire stay at the ranch. The dedication and caring towards your guests was demonstrated by everyone at the ranch. Ms. Lucy's meals were wonderful. We think we both gained weight while at the ranch. Chris would like to know if Lucy could be persuaded to give up her salsa recipe. It was muy bueno. I would like to thank you and Alan for the opportunity to try the Cowboy Mounted Shooting. It was very exciting and enjoyable. This was one of the many high points of my trip. Please pass on a big thank you to RJ. He made us feel right at home. We had a great time with him on the trails, around the ranch and at meal time. His love of the horses and passion for the cowboy life were always present. He is truly an asset to your operation. Tell RJ next time we come back we will try not to be a pain in his butt. Thanks again for an anniversary celebration that we will never forget."
-- Chris and Craig, Milton, Florida
Moon New Mexico (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback) by Zora O’Neill
New Mexico native Zora O’Neill gives her insider perspective on New Mexico, from museum-hopping in Santa Fe to visiting organic farms. O’Neill includes unique trip ideas like the 14-Day Grand Tour, High Peaks, Wild Rivers, and Nuclear New Mexico. Packed with information on dining, transportation, and accommodations, Moon New Mexico has lots of options for a range of travel budgets. Every Moon guidebook includes recommendations for must-see sights and many regional, area, and city-centered maps. Complete with details on Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque, Moon New Mexico gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.
New Mexico: An Interpretive History (Paperback) by Marc Simmons
For all who love New Mexico, and for those who aspire to know the state, this book is a graceful and compelling summary of what has made the Land of Enchantment its distinctive self. Originally published in 1977 to commemorate the bicentennial of American Independence, New Mexico is now available for the first time in a quality paperback edition with a new introduction by the author. In writing this book, Marc Simmons sets out to arrive at an understanding of the state’s character. His is an interpretive, sensitive, individual—even personal—account. He shows that across the centuries the collision and mingling of cultures dominates New Mexico’s history. Out of this complex interplay of human and natural forces he selects his examples of Pueblo life ways, Spanish domination, and Anglo control to make immediate and memorable the state’s rich history.
The Spell of New Mexico (Paperback) Edited by Tony Hillerman
A rich gathering of essays that evoke the unique and mysterious appeal New Mexico has had for some of the twentieth century’s best-known writers. Included are selections by Mary Austin, Oliver La Farge, Conrad Richter, D.H. Lawrence, C.G. Jung, Winfield Townley Scott, John DeWitt McKee, Ernie Pyle, Harvey Fergusson, and Lawrence Clark Powell. Hillerman’s preface and introduction are choice specimens of his incisive humor and his own deep love of the state.
Equitrekking Coffee Table Companion Book & DVD
Equitrekking Travel Adventures on Horseback by Darley Newman with Photographs by Chip Ward available at Amazon.com
This companion to the PBS TV series, Equitrekking, proves that the world's most beautiful views are often best seen from atop a horse. This gorgeous book features dozens of scenic rides in the U.S. and around the globe. Denver Post review: For horse folk and dreamers, as well as fans of the show, it's a beautiful trip through stunning equestrian-friendly possibilities.
Equitrekking DVD's featuring Emmy winning PBS episodes, available in the Shop section of Equitrekking.com
Get off the beaten path to see some of the world's most beautiful horses and classic riding destinations with host and equestrian travel expert Darley Newman with Emmy Award-winning Equitrekking, the horseback riding travel series on PBS.
Season One: Vermont, the Carolinas, Georgia Coast, Wyoming, Colorado and Spain.
Season Two: Iceland, Coastal Ireland, Hawaii's Big Island, Irish Countryside, Maui, Virginia Hunt Country and California Wine Country.
Season Three: Arizona, Belize, Costa Rica, Kentucky, Quebec, Texas and Utah.
Season Three: Arizona, Belize, Costa Rica, Kentucky, Quebec, Texas and Utah.
Season Four: Southern Spain, Alaska, Central Turkey, Quebec City and Beyond, Scotland and Wales.
Good Books for Horse Lovers and Equestrians
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Paperback) by Temple Grandin
Philosophers and scientists have long wondered what goes on in the minds of animals, and this fascinating study gives a wealth of illuminating insights into that mystery. ---Publishers Weekly
The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge (Hardcover) by Julie Whitaker with Ian Whitelaw
The Horse is an informative gallop through everything to do with the horse: evolution, history, biology, breeds, behavior, training, competition, health, and care—all gathered into an accessible gallery of solid information, essential facts, and fascinating trivia.
Hunter Seat Equitation (Hardcover) by George H. Morris
A classic by a world-renowned teacher and master equestrian--the definitive work on the art of teaching and riding the hunter seat, now updated to include refinements in Morris's insightful program of riding instruction.
The New Encyclopedia of the Horse (Hardcover) by Elwyn Hartley Edwards
Chronicling the history of the horse, this guide encompasses the early domestication of the horse, classical riding styles, as well as a survey of the great stud farms and current international sporting events.
5 to 12 with average group sizes between 8 to 10
Novice riders may participate in nature rides focusing on the scenery, wildlife, flora and Cowgirl Camp Level I.
Intermediate, strong intermediate and advanced riders are capable of participating in roundups and Cowgirl Camp Level II.
Dates & Rates
see "Itineraries" above for more information
Regular Ranch Weeks
5% off for groups of 6 or more
Minumum Age to Ride:
9-10 years, depending on riding experience. This is a working ranch and does not “teach” children to ride. Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian at all times. The ranch does not provide childcare.
Time in the Saddle:
3-6 hours or more per day
Phoenix (5 hours); Albuquerque (5 hours); El Paso (3.5 hours); Silver City, NM (through Albuquerque – 1 hour). Transfers available from Silver City only ($75/person). A rental car is suggested.
*Please note, the ranch picks up/drop off at the Silver City Airport only on Saturday morning and Sunday evening. There are no Monday or Friday trips.
Best Months to Visit:
Open year round, but the best months to visit are January to May and August to December.