Cowgirl Getaways: Women Only Equestrian Vacations
Thinking about a girls only getaway? Check out these great equestrian escapes for you and your girlfriends.
by Jocelyn Pierce
There are many perks to a girls only retreat. Women can focus on themselves and the women in their life that matter most, strengthening friendships and familial relationships. A girls only getaway also gives women a chance to leave their demanding schedules and commitments at home, allowing for relaxation and true introspection.
What to Expect
Women only riding vacations vary somewhat, but essentially have the same goal in mind–– to give you and your girlfriends a fun, relaxing, and energizing atmosphere where you can be cowgirls together.
Guests can expect typical dude ranch activities in a resort like atmosphere, choosing to take part in activities in a large group or making their own schedule.
“We certainly get a lot more bonding between the folks that come for this week,” said Cory Inouye of Red Horse Mountain Ranch. “We usually get mother-daughters, sisters, or work related friends or friends that have known each other since grade school who have kept in touch.”
The Red Horse Mountain Ranch’s Girlfriend Getaway is a truly all-inclusive vacation package.
For avid horsewomen, there is no better place to relax and have fun than on the back of a horse with other like-minded women.
“Its an opportunity to make new friends with people who share something in common with you,” said Bobbi Wade, owner of Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures.
Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures Girls Ride Out! is not your typical dude ranch vacation.
Depending on the ranch, a girlfriend getaway can be either a weekend or a weeklong trip. Guests can usually expect typical dude ranch activities in a resort like atmosphere, choosing to take part in activities in a large group or making their own schedule. Typically these ranches can accommodate all levels of riders.
“Cowgirl Up week is when the girls ‘take over’ the ranch,” said Kate Gullickson, Marketing Director at Bar W Guest Ranch. “Cowgirl Up is truly a week for women to escape, relax, and let Montana surround them.”
Rancho de los Caballeros in the Sonoran desert has been family owned and operated since 1948 and has been offering the Giddy-Up Gals package for over 15 years.
Below, we look at women only equestrian vacations at the Bar W Ranch in Montana, Los Caballeros in Arizona, Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Idaho, Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures in Wyoming, and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana.
Girls Only Riding vacations tend to fill up early, so book your getaway as early as possible.
Bar W Guest Ranch
“Our guests love the at home, relaxed feeling of Cowgirl Up week”, said Kate Gullickson. “During the week guests get to leave all of their worries at home and experience Montana and the western way of life while enjoying some extra pampering.”
In addition to unlimited trail riding at The Bar W, novice and experienced riders can also try working cattle and learning the skill of individual and team sorting and penning.
Cowgirls begin their week with the “Saddle Up” horsemanship clinic where riders of all levels will choose their horse. Throughout their stay, guests can choose to ride with an expert wrangler or on their own, and with 3,000 acres available, there is plenty of exploring to do.
Besides trail riding, guests are also welcome to try cow sorting, team penning, roping, and participate in the Bar W Guest Rodeo. In addition to unlimited horseback riding, the Cowgirl Up week has other included activities such as wine tasting, evening cocktail receptions, an afternoon at the spa, and a cattle drive.
“At The Bar W, guests come as strangers and leave as friends. Cowgirl Up is the perfect week to refuel your body & mind while laughing with the girls.” -Kate Gullickson
Although there is an itinerary for Cowgirl Up, the schedule is flexible and guests can pick and choose what they would like to do. They are also welcome to experience the other perks the ranch has to offer such as hiking, biking, swimming, shooting, archery, western dancing, and more.
“At the Bar W, guests come as strangers and leave as friends. Cowgirl Up is the perfect week to refuel your body & mind while laughing with the girls,” said Gullickson.
Rancho de los Caballeros
Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona offers a Giddy-Up Gals weekend getaway of either a two or three night stay. This dude ranch resort in the Sonoran desert has been family owned and operated since 1948 and has been offering this package for over 15 years. All meals are included as well as riding instruction, scheduled rides, and bird watching.
“The Giddy-Up Gals weekend is perfect for women to gather together and experience being a cowgirl. No husbands, no kids, just the girls,” said Suzanne from Rancho de los Caballeros.
At Rancho de los Caballeros, just 25 women per session will enjoy luxurious casita accommodations, meals, unlimited riding, team penning, and nightly entertainment.
Cowgirls will never have a dull moment at this women’s retreat. While there is a schedule that includes meals, riding, hay wagon rides and cocktails with the wranglers, guests can also use their spare time for spa treatments, golf, and other ranch activities.
The Giddy-Up Gals weekend also features a BBQ cookout under the stars complete with a bonfire for roasting marshmallows and a singing cowboy for entertainment.
Red Horse Mountain Ranch Resort
Located on 300,000 acres, the Red Horse Mountain Ranch Resort in Idaho offers a six night, five day all-inclusive Girlfriend Getaway package once a year. This package offers riding of all levels, drinks, a one-hour massage, and an endless list of guided ranch activities such as archery, yoga, and kayaking to name a few.
Red Horse Mountain Ranch Resort's Girlfriend Getaway week fills up quickly, so be sure to book early.
Guests have the freedom to make their vacation a relaxing retreat or fill their schedule with ranch activities and new experiences.
When guests arrive they have a horse orientation where they meet their horse for the week. After the orientation, women can ride as much or as little as they want. There are all day rides, lunch rides, along with other daily ranch activities from which to choose.
Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures
Located by the Wind River Mountains, Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures Girls Ride Out! offers lots of riding time and natural horsemanship instruction throughout the week.
Family owned and operated, Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures is not your typical dude ranch vacation. Instead of staying in cabins or ranch lodging, guests stay in canvas teepees along the Little Sandy River, allowing women to connect in a peaceful and comfortable setting.
“We have everything we need to be comfortable but we’re off the grid, so people can be focus on their riding and get back to nature."- Bobbi Wade
“They can rest, they can focus on their own health and well-being, and can enjoy each others company and make new friendships that last,” said owner Bobbi Wade.
Blue Sky Sage takes a very limited numbers of guests, usually a maximum of eight people per session. The schedule varies day to day, but plan on riding on average 8-15 miles daily. Guests return to base camp in the evening for drinks and hors de’ oeuvres before dinner.
“Most of our guests are very physically fit, active people, and we offer the more active, challenging and faster- paced riding that is unavailable in most ranch settings,” said Wade. “A lot of what attracts people is that we don’t offer all the dude ranch stuff. We are totally horse focused. We don’t have cattle drives, or tennis courts, or a spa-it is all about the horses everyday.”
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana’s Rocky Mountains has been offering their Wild West Women Adventure for ten years. This women’s riding retreat is offered three times a year and guests can choose to stay for either four or five nights.
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch is located just minutes from Yellowstone National Park.
“What makes this week special is largely the camaraderie,” said Stacy Townsend from Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. “It’s a really fun group of girls who share similar interests and are all here to unplug and have a good time.”
All activities are on a sign up basis so visitors can choose to do as much or as little as they’d like during the week. In addition to horseback riding, women can learn about working cattle and other horsemanship techniques.
Located within minutes from Yellowstone National Park, the Wild West Women Adventure boasts a complimentary tour to the infamous park, along with a diversity of other activities including fly-fishing, hiking, yoga, and two stepping.
Women can expect to participate in a variety of interactive demonstrations on this working cattle ranch.
“The guests that come for the Wild West Women week are generally adventurous, fun loving people from all walks of life, and from all across the country,” said Townsend. “They’re here just to be girls so it’s a lot of fun when they all get together.”
Mountain Sky Ranch takes no more than 30 guests at a time to ensure a quality experience. This package includes ground transportation from the airport, all meals, ranch activities, and the Yellowstone National Park tour.
Learn about more great horseback riding vacations, guest ranches and equestrian training holidays in the Equitrekking Vacation Guide and at Top20Ranches.com, and check out the most recent Travel Deals.
About the Author: Jocelyn Pierce is an avid equestrian and lover of travel and photography. Her passion for adventure has led her on numerous excursions throughout North America and Europe. When she’s not riding and competing her homebred mare, she enjoys hiking, camping, and snapping photographs.