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EQUINETOURISM - WORLDWIDE - Horse Riding in Montana, USA

Horse Riding in Montana, USA - The Big Sky State

Rodeos, ranches and riding on dogsled - Montana offers limitless riding and breathtaking scenery

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From the plains, rugged badlands of Makoshika and breaks of the Missouri River in eastern Montana to the mountains and ancient forests in the west, Montana's sky sets a stage of dramatic proportions. Jagged peaks, soothing plains and open space form an unforgettable landscape. This state is perfect for those who love the outdoor life.

In summer, think of dude ranches, horseback rides, cowboys and Indians, rodeos and river rafting. Drive over the 52 mile Going-to-the-Sun-Road, which crosses Glacier National Park (an International Peace Park and World Heritage Site) from east to west. It is one of the most stunning drives in America noted for unforgettable scenery, snow-capped mountains, aquamarine lakes and wildlife including grizzly and black bears.

In winter, enjoy skiing or snowboarding. Ride for miles on a dogsled. Observe wildlife at a Watchable Wildlife site and see buffalo at the National Bison Range. In Yellowstone National Park, geysers and mineral hot springs create magical hoarforst and ice formations. After a day in the snow, warm up at one of the areas many lodges, inns, hotels or hot springs resorts.

History is all around; you can follow the Lewis and Clark Trail, see the site of Custer's Last Stand at Little Bighorn, explore the ghost towns and old mining camps, see Indian photographs dating back more than 4500 years and handle dinosaur fossils in the county museums.

Montana is truly unforgettable!

Horse Riding

Adventure and Montana have gone hand-in-hand for...well, forever. With millions of acres of wilderness, forest and park land available, the state is filled with many ways to walk on the wild side. Indeed, Montana is ideal for those who love to ride.

There are numerous riding guides and opportunities for scenic trail rides of a couple of hours, or even a couple of weeks. There is even the chance to take a stagecoach ride in Yellowstone National Park.

Ranches are as much a part of the Montana experience as are blue skies and scenic vistas. With more than 100 guest and vacation ranches dotting Montana's landscape, a round-up is never far away. Visitors can choose a ranch experience that best suits their tastes and style: a working guest ranch, a dude/guest ranch or a resort ranch.

Working Guest Ranch
Its primary function is raising cattle but it takes on guests as a secondary source of income. Usually, working guest ranches have been family operated for generations. Guests can help with ranch chores and/or rounding up cattle, or they can go trail riding and visit nearby atractions and sites. Alternatively, they can just relax, enjoy the scenery, and take their fill of ranch style cooking served three times a day. Many working ranches do not have a minimum stay and guests are lodged in cabins or, in some cases, the main ranch house.

Dude/Guest Ranch
These are usually family owned, but its primary purpose is to offer guests (or 'dudes') an authentic 'western experience.' Horseback riding is the main activity and attraction, but guests can also enjoy fishing, hiking, swimming and trips to nearby sites of interest. Most dude ranches require a minimum stay of six-nights, although there are exceptions. Guests usually stay in cabins and gather in the main lodge common area for meals and ranch programmes.

Resort Ranch
These ranches offer horseback riding and other activities. The housing and main lodge are very upscale, as is the food and amenities. Many resort ranches offer a 'gourmet' dinner night. A six-night stay is the norm. Guests can expect to stay in cabins and, as with a dude ranch, meals and ranch programmes take place in a main lodge.

Just as the offerings at each ranch vary, so does the geography where they are found. Ranches are prevalent throughout all of Montana: on the eastern plains, in high mountain valleys, along main highways and on Indian reservations. All offer a unique Old West experience, beautiful scenery and, best of all, famous Montana hospitality.

The west is alive in Montana and it is well known for its many action-packed rodeos and related events. Take some time to visit Wolf Point's Wild Horse Stampede, the Livingston Roundup Rodeo in July and the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale where you can bet on wild horse races - you won't be disappointed!

Photography Travel Montana/
Donnie Sexton

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