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What It’s Like to Be a Kid on a Colorado Dude Ranch

When school lets out for summer, your kids may be content to spend some quality time with their game consoles and iPhones. But even the most devoted city dwellers can be tempted into a getaway to a Colorado dude ranch, especially if the promise of horseback riding, rock climbing and whitewater rafting is on the table.
Families gather 'round the campfire at a Colorado dude ranch
Families gather 'round the campfire at a Colorado dude ranch
Your kids will find a sense of adventure at a Colorado dude ranch
Your kids will find a sense of adventure at a Colorado dude ranch
Wranglers will match your family with a horse according to ability and disposition
Wranglers will match your family with a horse according to ability and disposition
Square dancing and other fun activities happen every day on a Colorado dude ranch
Square dancing and other fun activities happen every day on a Colorado dude ranch
Surround your family with Colorado beauty on a dude ranch vacation
Surround your family with Colorado beauty on a dude ranch vacation

Check out the following sample itinerary to get a sense of the adventures that are waiting for your kids at a Colorado dude and guest ranch. Read more about the dude-ranch experience here >>

Sunday
Arrive at the ranch, where sunshine and gentle breezes will greet you and your family. Introductions to the ranch’s wranglers are in order, and they’ll soon become trusted companions as they guide the kids through the week. They might even show off their horseback-riding skills in a rodeo exhibition, pulling off stunts like jumping on a horse from behind, riding while standing on the saddle or hopping on and off the horses doing spins.

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Monday
The morning brings the first guest ride. Wranglers match kids with a horse according to ability level and disposition; if your child is a bit apprehensive, then being paired with a horse that is easy going is a good way to learn how to take charge.

With patient instruction and guidance from the wranglers, bonds form as kids lead their steed out on the open range for some fresh air and a great ride, making friends with others their age along the way.

Tuesday
Start off the day watching a beautiful sunrise over the majestic Rocky Mountains while breathing in the still, fresh air. The conditions are perfect for a morning trail ride and the chance to develop skills like learning to trot and blazing your own trail.

After lunch, cool off at an afternoon pool party for some splash-filled games and amusement. Later on, you’ll dust off your dancing shoes — or in this case, dancing boots — at the evening square dance. Everyone will have fun learning to two-step in true Western fashion, and the kids might just be the ones to teach their parents the moves.

Wednesday
The riding adventure continues in the A.M. Wranglers will expand on the techniques already learned, teaching to lope (a pace faster than a trot) and better control of their four-legged companions. Roping lessons make for a fun and challenging afternoon.  The wranglers and kiddos will both be proud of the accomplishments and strides that are made.

Thursday
Today’s ride might include destinations like a secret riverside swimming hole. Though the water’s cold temperature is a shock at first, the kids will likely be doing cannonballs by the time the outing is over.

Friday
Even though the week is starting to wind down, the kids will still be revved up and ready for more activities, whether that’s riding to a creek for some inner-tube float time or panning for gold.

In the evening, the staff might put on a very silly cowboy-theater melodrama that will have both the kids and parents rolling with laughter. Afterward, the whole family can look forward to piling on every topping imaginable for the ice cream social!

Saturday
This might just be the biggest day at the ranch, starting off with good food during a cookout breakfast. Then everyone will head to the arena for a guest rodeo, involving the kids as well as parents and teens. Don’t be surprised if your child shows no sign of nerves while competing in a barrel race or pole bending.

Sunday
The conclusion of a fun-filled week means it’s time for your family to pack up and bid farewell to new friends. Though goodbyes can be tough, especially parting with equine companions, know that you’ll be taking home plenty of great memories to last until you can return again the next year.

Want More?
Specific activities will vary a bit depending on the ranch, but the lasting impression to be made on kids is universal.

Learn about other Colorado ranch experiences, see a dude ranch video and read 5 Things Your Kids Will Never Say on a Colorado Dude Ranch.

Learn more at coloradoranch.com.

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