Archive for May, 2012

What’s Cookin’ at Goosewing Ranch…

May 19th, 2012 by Amy

Woohoo… We are so excited to announce that the construction on our outdoor kitchen is finally coming together.  We hope that you will agree with us that this will be a wonderful addition to the ranch.  The new kitchen area or “Gazebo” as we are referring to it, is scheduled to be completed June 1, just 2 days before we open to our guests.

This is going to be a beautiful attraction with great views into our pool area, and horse pasture.  We will be able to serve meals, drinks, and just plain entertain in this great space.  I am most excited about the brick oven that will be going in soon.  Bring on the homemade breads, pizzas, and bake goods!

Now for those of you asking about weather, temperatures, and bugs:  we will be doing our best to make this an enjoyable space all season long.  The structure will be fully roofed, with lighting, a sound system, and inferred heaters.  For the mosquitoes, we have purchased numerous types of traps and killers.  We will be spraying the area early spring/summer, as well as operating mosquito traps during the season.

Come join us for some family fun in the Gros Ventre.  Our chef, Angel Garcia, will be serving up some amazing cuisine from basic ranch style food, to more gourmet meals.  Dude Ranching in Jackson Hole Wyoming has taken a turn and better dining is at the first corner, and it is no wonder.  With all the activities to do while on vacation out West you will develop an abundant appetite.  From hiking in the Grand Tetons, touring through Yellowstone National Park, horseback riding in the mountains surrounding Goosewing Ranch, or just relaxing at our Sleeping Indian Spa you will enjoy the delightful meals being served from our new Gazebo!

Yew Haw… Horses have arrived…

May 17th, 2012 by Amy

Giddy up… the horses have arrived and Goosewing Ranch is starting to feel like home again!  Big, tall, small, but not one is skinny… We have horses of all shapes, sizes, and colors; horses for beginner to experienced riders and something for everyone in between.  We are so excited to have them all back on the ranch.  It really is a long winter without them.  The horses have spent the last few months down in Star Valley Wyoming, and have made the journey through Jackson Hole to get up to the ranch.  Our horses are very lucky to get the winter off, which they earn after a long season of taking guests all across the Bridger- Teton National Forest and through the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

We have 62 head of horses on the ranch.  The majority of these horses have been coming to Goosewing Ranch for years.  The great thing about having the same horses year after year is that the horses learn our routine, and trails, and the returning wranglers know the horses and their personality which helps them pick the best horse for each guest.  Our horses are leased through Yellowstone Horse Rentals, similar to many of the local guest ranches throughout the Jackson Hole area.  These horses are the best at what they do.  They stay calm in intense situations, they are very sure footed in varying terrain and weather conditions, and know how to show every guest a great time whether galloping through the meadows, or meandering across mountain tops.

Of course each horse comes with its own personality and behaviors.  One of the more famous Goosewing horses is Snickers.  She is a big grey mare with more personality then one can imagine.  She is an escape artist, a belly scratcher, fence breaker, hobble runner, and the best darn horse to put beginner adult riders on.  Snickers will take care of her rider on the trail, she might not be the fastest but she won’t be “bear bait”.   Snickers best buddy is Goliath.  Goliath is a small pure black gelding who loves children of all ages.  He will cautiously carry the smallest of equine enthusiast through the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem to the more advance buckaroos on adventures excursions.  He is also very smooth and comfortable to ride bareback.   Stay tuned for more horse updates throughout the season.

Our wranglers are busy getting the horses in shape and ready for each of our guests.  No matter if you want to ride high for views of the Grand Teton, or low along the river we have trails and horses to take you everywhere.  Welcome back horses!

What the Heck is a Lariat?

May 4th, 2012 by Amy

Wrangler

The lariat is one of the most versatile tools a cowboy has at their disposal. I’m sure you know what a lariat is, even if you have never heard that term used. You would instantly know what I was talking about if I referred to it as a ‘lasso.’ Although most people use it as a noun ‘lasso’, is actually a verb. There is no faster way to flag yourself as a layman than calling a lariat a ‘lasso.’ Most of the people who actually use a lariat, however, often refer to it as a rope, and the act of using it, ‘roping.’

There are about as many sizes, styles, and options for ropes as there are for cars. You can get them in a variety of lengths, colors, levels of softness, and made out of a range of materials. The main thing lariats have in common is that they are slightly stiffer than ‘regular’ rope. A lariat needs to be stiff so the loop will stay open when it is thrown, and so the person using it can open and close the loop easily with one hand. The standard rope you see used at most rodeo events is made of braided nylon and is between 30 and 35 feet. These ropes are almost always used in the sports of team roping and tie-down roping. The goal in both of these events is to rope the cattle as quickly as possible. Although these ropes can be used for ranch chores, it is common to have what is known as a ranch rope for work around the ranch.

A ranch rope is a type of lariat that is much longer than its rodeo cousin. Ranch ropes can easily be between 50 or 60 feet long, and are generally not as stiff. Ranch roping is almost never the fast paced action you see in the rodeo arena. The big difference is that in ranch roping you have to deal with a herd of animals, instead of 1-on-1 in an arena. Ranch roping focuses on accuracy and controlling the movements of the animal. Much like a baseball player, ranch ropers employ a variety of different throwing styles. There is everything from your basic over hand throw to something called Johnny Blockers*.

You might be thinking that this all sounds good and well, but that it seems like an awful lot of work to learn how to lasso something. You would be right, but at Goosewing Ranch we would be more than happy to teach you. I have taught many people how to throw a rope in Jackson Hole Wyoming and it always seems like everyone else picked it up faster than I did. If you can throw a ball of any kind, I know we can get you lassoing something. I’m sure by the time your guest ranch vacation is coming to an end you will be hard pressed to stop lassoing your spouse, child, or dog. (In fact I can almost assure you that they will be politely asking you to stop).

*A Johnny Blocker is where you throw the lariat slightly in front of the calf, and then pull the loop back onto their head.

The Cowboy Hat…

May 1st, 2012 by Amy

They come in all shapes, sizes, heights, and colors…Some faded, some misshaped, and others perfectly formed.  What is it that is so special about a cowboys/girls hat?  To completely understand the bond between the buckaroo and their signature piece, one must understand the uses of the cowboy hat.

Unlike many other styles of hats the cowboy hat is quite functional.  With its larger brim it makes a very useful sunshade for the face, neck, and shoulders.  This same large brim also protects you when it rains or snows and you can turn your hat into the wind to protect yourself from the blowing dust storm, or hide your eyes in a poker game in Jackson Hole.  A light straw hat will keep you cool in through the Wyoming summer and a heavy felt hat will keep you warm in the winter.  Not only are hats great for protection, but they also serve a useful purpose as a bucket (we have all heard of the 10 gallon hat), or storage area…Cowboys are known for keeping pictures, poems, cash and tooth picks in their hats.  Now if you have never had the pleasure of wearing a cowboy hat and experiencing the versatility then it is hard to explain why some cowboys get so attached…Breaking in a new hat is like starting a colt.  You’re gonna have your good days and your bad days, but after you each get dirty, and take a few spills together you will be working as a team for years to come; and a cowboy never forgets his first hat or colt.

Jackson Hole has a lot great hat shops, but you don’t have to get a custom hat to fit in at Goosewing Ranch.  A good hat should fit well, be comfortable, and serve the above purposes.  I want my hat to be able to stay put on my hand while I am riding a bucking, runaway horse in a windstorm.  But, the snug hat shouldn’t cause pain or discomfort; your hat should form to the shape of your head.  A general rule of mine is if I can bend over like I am picking a horse’s foot and my hat stays on then that’s a good start.  Hats come in all shapes…some are more round with a tall crown, while others are oval with a low crown.  Each region is known for a different shape of cowboy hat, all serving the same purposes but each adding its own flare and style.  If your hat isn’t a sure fit make sure you also purchase or construct a stampede string to go along.  The stampede string secures to your hat and then is tightened under your chin to keep your hat on your head whether you’re in a wild horse chase through the mountains or just horseback riding in some mild Wyoming wind.  Most western stores have a person on staff that can help you find the perfect hat; this person usually will be able to custom shape the hat to fit your head and your personal style.  Take your time shopping, remember you and your hat will make many memories together, from galloping through the Gros Ventre, being smashed to the ground from the winds off the Grand Tetons, to surviving  the family vacation into Yellowstone National Park.  Each adventure takes you one step closer to forming that bond between cowboy and cowboy hat…Where will yours take you?

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