Welcome Back!

May 22nd, 2013 by Amy

The excitement is building.  Goosewing Ranch Staff started arriving several weeks ago.  Fortunately the weather has cooperated to help speed up preparation for guest.   With the sunshine comes an early snow melt pushing water over river and stream banks.   This morning from the lodge, a herd of Elk were spotted on the far side of the river; with a backdrop of Aspen trees and evergreens.  A magnificent scene for the privileged few who get to experience the moment in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, bordering the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

Wranglers how worked to repaired fences and hay racks preparing for the horses arrival.   Tack has been cleaned and checked for any necessary repairs.  Goosewing is fortunate to have a knowledgeable team of Wranglers.  Their keen eyes will match the guests with a perfect mount to make their vacation experience the best we can provide.  Guest comfort, happiness and well-being are the priorities of the entire staff at the ranch.

This week brought the arrival of the ranch horses.   The trucks pulling the trailers were spotted a couple of miles from the ranch.  Everyone headed to the barn to help unload and get the horses settled in to their accommodations.    They were like kids returning to summer camp; anxious to greet old friends and make new ones.   You could feel the Wrangler’s eagerness to climb on the back of a horse and get going.  

Welcome Back

Welcome Back

Returning and new guest  will appreciate   the scenic drive along Gros Ventre Road as it overlooks Slide Lake on your right.  Continuing on you will cross over the Gros Ventre River and Crystal Creek.   The rugged road allows you time to take in the breathtaking countryside as your mind drifts back to the difficult life of the Mountain men who walked through this wilderness.  The slower pace prepares you for your time at the ranch to, at your choice, relax, participate in new activities, make new friends and create memories to last a lifetime.

Hey look, the gangs all here!

Hey look, the gangs all here!

 

 

 

The horses’ thoughts are more of

when do we get out to eat!

 

Romance on a Jackson Hole Guest Ranch

February 12th, 2013 by Amy

2011 Girl and honeymooners 349

With it being Valentine’s Day and all we thought it was a good time to talk about Romance on the Ranch.   Yes, a Guest Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming can be very romantic, in many ways…  Goosewing Ranch has been host to just a couple of very special weddings, but have embraced many honeymooners, and couples looking to escape and enjoy each others company in a very beautiful place.  We aren’t talking about the mushy stuff here, we are talking about experiencing new adventures together, horseback riding, wine tasting and relaxing by the pool and spa, treating yourselves to couples massage, dancing,  photography and more.

While at the ranch we encourage couples to get out and explore the area.  Whether on one of the Polaris rangers for a picnic lunch in the National Forest, or to either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks.  No matter where you explore  there are endless options when it come to photography.  This is a great way to make those special moments last,  we can also arrange for some spectacular couples photos, with a natural back drop that you must see to believe.

What could be more relaxing and romantic than spending a long weekend filled with exciting days and warm evenings cuddled up with your sweetie, and a glass of wine by the fire…  That is what you get with a romantic weekend at a Jackson Hole Guest Ranch.  BUT…Goosewing Ranch is more than just a great place for couples, it is also a great place to celebrate your true love with the entire family.  This is a great way to make lasting memories that all your loved ones will cherish for years to come.  With lots of daily and evening activities everyone is bound to be fully entertained.  This is a great way to get the family together to celebrate and anniversary or reunion.  We will even prepare your favorite cake for all to enjoy.

Try something different this year; do something that your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers will be jealous of… embrace your love in a beautiful area, filled with natural beauty and adventure.  We can provide all your meals, lodging, ranch adventures, and a romantic setting for any occasion.  Let us help make your dreams come true at Goosewing Ranch.

FC and Ju lieDSCF2651

Hats off…

January 23rd, 2013 by Amy

cowboy hat

The American cowboy hat, as we know it today, didn’t exist in the 1840’s.  Hats worn by those legendary mountain men were generally made of pelts; a few of wool for the hunters and trappers who ventured into town for supplies.  Moving west hats were generally a sign of a profession, or reflections of cultural practices.  Hardy men trailing cattle wore a variety of styles, shapes and materials to fashion their head gear.

The traditional Chilean horsemen wore what is called the Chupalla.  They were first made of a plant named the bromelia which locals called achupalla.  Now they are made of rice and wheat.  The Chupalla was also used for a traditional Chilean folk dance.  However, with the high cost of hats now a day, it is difficult to see any wage earning cowboy stomping this valuable accessory into the ground with dirty boots and spurs.

Today there is a well-respected cowboy and one of the original “horse whisperers” who is generally seen wearing a version of the Chupalla.  Buck Brannnaman has long been admired for his skill with a horse.  Perhaps Brannaman’s easy going mannerisms; laid back way with horses is symbolized perfectly by the phrase “por la chupalla” which loosely translates to “what the heck”.  Or perhaps he is a great Chilean dancer.

Around 1865 John B. Stetson traveled west in search of a drier climate for health reasons.  He was the son of a Philadelphia master hatter and learned his skills working with his father.   Although hatters were not well thought of in that time period, looked upon as lazy and unreliable, Stetson eventually proved that myth wrong.

During his journey west he demonstrated to his companions how he could create felt out of working fur and shaped it into a large brimmed hat.  Even though his friends made fun of his extreme design, Stetson liked the way it protected him from the elements, created a unique image and perhaps covered a bald spot.  The hat was later named, “The Boss of the Plains”.  Perhaps Hollywood’s Tom Mix carried on the daring fashion statement of the 10 gallon hat to woo audiences.

John B. Stetson changed the berated image of a hatter to become a successful, influential and respected business man.

In 1872 Montgomery Ward opened, offering store bought clothing to rural America.  At first only selling a wide brimmed hat called the “Men’s Panama Hat”; four years later they introduced the “Men’s Planter’s Hat”.  The rounded crown and smaller brim could be molded to adjust to the individual personality of the cowboy.  The smaller brim was also a better fit for the winds of the prairie.

In the 1920’s, millionaire E.R. Byer invested in hat maker Harry Rolnick.  His unique creations caught Byer’s eye and in 1927 Byer-Bolnick started their business in Dallas, TX.  Later they would create the Resistol hat line meaning resistant-all weather.

Now hats come in a wide range of styles and colors.  There is a style for everyone.  Some interesting ones say a lot about a person.

No matter what your style is, be comfortable and enjoy your cowboy experience.  Jackson Hole has a variety of outfitters that want you to be comfortable on your family vacation.  Look around and find the hat that says, “I’m having a great time here”.   And, if you forgot your hat for your Guest Ranch Vacation we have a variety of sizes at Goosewing Ranch to help protect every buckaroo!

Cowboy lore: never put your cowboy hat on your bed.  Also, don’t eat peanuts before a rodeo but that really doesn’t have anything to do with style, just thought it was interesting.

By: Janis Wright

 

Jackson Hole Antler Arches, an iconic symbol…

December 17th, 2012 by Amy

The Grand Tetons, the Mormon Barn, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, and the Antler Arches on the town square downtown Jackson Hole are just a few of the most memorable and most photographed features of the valley.  As Jackson transformed from a mountain man town into a dude ranch town the antler arches grew in popularity with family travelers and locals alike.

There are four antler arches, one marking each corner of the town square.  Though there isn’t an exact date of when the first arch was built and placed on the town square, most sources cite 1960 as the year the first antler arch was added to the town square.  In 2007 they began to replace the arches, and auctioned off the old weathered ones.

Each arch contains about 10,000 pounds of elk antlers.  Don’t worry not one elk was harmed in the making of the arches.  Elk grow antlers that they shed annually.  Unlike horns that must be cut off and are hollow inside, antlers, fall off naturally and are solid.  Starting May 1 locals, tourist, and the local Boy Scout club hit the National Forests and Elk Refuge in search of the all the antler sheds.  Each year at the Old West Days the Boy Scouts put on an auction where they sell their antlers.  Others sell them to jewelers, furniture makers, private deals, dealers from overseas, or just keep them to enjoy in their own homes.

Next time you are in Jackson Hole Wyoming on vacation, make sure you stop by the town square and get your iconic picture in front of the JH Antler Arches.

Yellowstone, Tetons, Ranches and more…Jackson Hole

November 15th, 2012 by Amy

It’s that time of year again… the family is all together and it is time to decide on next year’s vacation destination.   It doesn’t matter if you are a young couple, mature couple, large family, or small the Jackson Hole area has something offer each diverse traveler.  Make this year’s vacation an adventure filled with new experiences, while exploring this educational and historic area.

Wyoming is home to our nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone National Park, founded in 1872.  However, Yellowstone is not the only park the neighbors Jackson Hole, there is also Grand Teton National Park.  Jackson not only has two historic and magnificent parks in its backyard, but is also home to many guest ranches and summer attractions.

Guest Ranches such as Goosewing Ranch are a great way to visit the area with the ease of an all-inclusive package.  While staying at a ranch you can enjoy many different activities from hiking, horseback riding, line dancing, spa treatments, rodeos, cookouts, off-roading, and more.  But, make sure you save some time to visit Jackson Hole for some shopping, rodeo, rafting and a quick history lesson, and then head into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.  There are many outfitters that will guide you through the parks in all fashions, but if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person here are a few tips.  I would suggest leaving your accommodations early in the morning and hitting the trail.  You should allow for a full day or more in each park, 12+ hours.  If you only have one day I suggest driving the lower loop of Yellowstone.  You will see such features as Old Faithfull, boiling paint pots, hot springs and swimming holes, water falls, grand canyons, and hopefully some wildlife.  There are many different board walks taking you safely around various features of the park, and many have interruptive rangers on site to answer questions.  Remember obey all warning and safety postings and keep a vast distance between yourself and ALL wildlife.  Yellowstone might have park behind its name but that doesn’t mean it is safe to play or recreate anywhere.

Grand Teton National Park has much to offer as well.  This is a great area to enjoy the water or spend the day hiking.  Grand Teton has hiking trails suitable for those looking for an easy family picnic and hike to the more adventurous climber and backpacker.  Grand Teton has many great opportunities to view wildlife and is a photographer’s dream.

Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Wyoming all have a lot to offer a diverse group of travelers.  With a history, adventure, and science rich environment you will return home with more than a vacation, you will return home with an experience.  Visit Jackson Hole, experience the Wild West!

Jackson Hole Guest Ranch Bound…

November 7th, 2012 by Amy

Jackson Hole here I come!

I recently received an offer from Goosewing Ranch to join their team for the 2013 summer season.  It is a herd of horses, pack of dogs, flock of sheep but what do you call a bunch of cowboys and cowgirls-Wranglers, and wranglers are what we are!

It is my pre-conceived idea that Wranglers grew up riding horses, and dreaming of being a cowboy on a dude or cattle ranch.  Why would anyone want to do anything else?  However, life didn’t lead me down the road to the West, only in my thoughts.  Marriage, corporate life, and children temporarily changed my focus.  However, I always kept a horse and stayed active in a few events when the kids didn’t have something going on.

As the kids grew, I at least got to enjoy a Western life style.  They competed in youth, high school, college and pro rodeos.  Barrel racers, goats, breakaway and the boys rode bulls.   Kept putting them on horses but they liked riding bulls.  As a family we traveled and made wonderful, long-lasting friendships and memories.  But there was always a part of me that wanted to be the one on the horse, not the spectator, cheerleader, chauffeur or rodeo secretary.  When my daughter headed off to college she took my barrel horse to compete in college rodeo.  That was about twelve years ago and I’m still waiting to get the horse back!

Now, the kids are grown; independent, hard workers with families and careers of their own; spread all over the country.  For me, retirement is fast approaching.  To supplement my income I could work part-time in the office that is so familiar.  Then out of the blue, the idea to follow my own dreams, try to recapture fantasies of riding the range alongside people with the same interest.   So I took a leap of faith and started applying, Wrangler, cook, housekeeper, just give me a chance.  Goosewing Ranch is giving me that chance and I could not be more excited.  The opportunity to work at the ranch will fulfill a lot of my bucket list goals but it has given me a lot more to add.  Guest Ranches have opportunities to employee all types of individuals, old, young, experienced horseman/women, cooks, novice horseman and more, just apply and find the dream job you have been waiting for.  Jackson Hole is an area that is full of adventures just waiting to take place with both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in the local area.

To my surprise/delight, I have actually had a couple of ranches contact me but none compare to Goosewing.  Reviewing videos, talking to the manager, looking at the history, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of this quality outfit.   Friendliness, caring and a genuine commitment to the guests, show in the comments from visitors and staff.   I look forward to sharing experiences, the beauty of the location, friendships and being a part of fulfilling not only my dreams but those of the guest.

Now the down side!  I’ve got to get in shape, lose some weight so I don’t look like I am scaling Everest getting on my horse.  Besides my daily job, I run a stable of 12 horses, which require attention before and after work.  So even though I am in pretty good shape, a little more preparation won’t hurt.  Read up on the history of the country, the native plants and wildlife.  Get my first aid and CPR certification.  Like I said, my bucket list just keeps growing with more challenging and exciting adventures.  Looking forward to my Wyoming Guest Ranch experience.

You can apply at http://goosewingranch.com/the-ranch/employment/ or email info@goosewingranch.com or call 1-888-733-5251.  Join the Goosewing Ranch team and ride for the brand!

Jay

Treat yourself to an All-Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation….

October 30th, 2012 by Amy

For many a Dude or Guest Ranch vacation seems like a good way to spend a lot of money for doing work instead of relaxing.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes, some Ranches are a bit pricy, but once you take into account that most are All- Inclusive than the sticker shock is greatly reduced.  Guest Ranch vacations have been a part of our history and our economical evolution since the 1880’s.  Guest Ranch vacations are a family friendly environment about Hats, Hospitality, Horses and more.  Try a new adventure this year and discover the the cowboy in you.

Like many cruises and beach resorts, Guest Ranches are a package deal with something for every traveler, and family member.  Why should Mom have to sacrifice doing what she enjoys because Dad wants adventure, and face it the boys don’t always enjoy having to follow their sister around all vacation either.  At Goosewing Ranch we have activities and adventures for everyone, from the single explorer to the diverse family reunion.  Let Mom enjoy reading a book by the pool or treating herself to a massage (included in a 7 night package), while the boys go fishing or exploring on the Polaris Ranger, and little Suzie goes on a horseback adventure with like minded young ladies.  Experiencing the Wild West together is also a great way to reunite a family or bond the vows during a honeymoon.

With an all-inclusive package you will receive lodging with modern accommodations and amenities, meals prepared by an expert culinary artist, entertainment and activities.  Guest Ranches have all the hospitality and charm that is expected of a Southern B&B, with the activities of a top notch resort, and service of a high end hotel, with scenery and views worth escaping the real world for.

Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming is a member of the Dude Ranchers Association ensuring an authentic ranch experience from start to finish.  We have a season fitting for singles, groups of friends, couples, families, or reunions.  Go ahead make your neighbor jealous and book your Guest Ranch adventure at the base of the Tetons and bordering Yellowstone National Park at Goosewing Ranch, in Jackson Wyoming.  Where you will enjoy everything from horseback riding through the mountains; fly fishing the streams and Gros Ventre River, to target shooting, archery, hiking, and more.

Just remember you get more than sand in your shorts with a Guest Ranch vacation, you will go home with lasting memories and experiences that the family will talk about for generations.

Autumn in Jackson Hole

October 15th, 2012 by Amy

Well the summer tourist season has drawn to a close.  It was another spectacular summer in the Jackson Hole area, and throughout Yellowstone.  But not all travelers have left and there certainly are locals still in the area… so what is there to do in Jackson during the fall shoulder season?   Well, there is a lot to do.

Goosewing Ranch closed to guests on September 23 for the 2012 summer season, but we are still at the ranch finishing projects and already preparing for 2013.  Without all the families on the ranch to take horseback riding we have some down time to really enjoy the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Hunting, fishing, hiking, and great deals are just a few of the things you can experience in Jackson Hole Wyoming during the autumn months.  Flights into Jackson Hole Airport are usually a little less expensive and all restaurants and hotels are offering discounted rates and deals.  The area itself is beautiful also.  The aspen trees are in full color, and the wildlife is abundant whether you are shooting them with a  camera, bow, or riffle.  Hunting is a big part of our local economy and it brings many thrill seekers to the area.  Contact a local guiding service or check out grosventrehunting.com for more information.  Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks also offer great touring opportunities.   With fewer tourists in the area you can travel through the parks with ease.  This is also a great time of year for hiking with cooler temps and spectacular views, but remember the wildlife is preparing for winter so tread with caution.  Fishing is still excellent also.  The steams are easily accessible and the trout are hungry.  With temps ranging for 65 degrees during the day down below freezing at night you will want to pack a variety of options.  But get out and enjoy the spectacular weather the autumn in the Tetons brings.

Make sure you check local listings for off season hours and specials, and also check with the local parks because each entrance and most venders have different dates of operation.  Remember not all of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are open all year.  If you like cooler weather, great deals, fall colors, small crowds, and lots of wildlife and scenery viewing then checkout the Jackson Hole area.  Most of the people in the area this time of year are hunters, locals, and singles or couples so pack a bag and enjoy the off season touring the Tetons.   I know those of us at Goosewing Ranch and in the Gros Ventre LOVE this time of year!

 

Giddy Up at Goosewing Ranch

September 15th, 2012 by Amy

Horse TrottingMany guests that come to visit Goosewing Ranch have seen a lot of western movies and have seen the silver screen cowboys racing across the plains at a gallop and they want to do the same. They often do not know, however, that there are more than just two speeds for a horse. A gait is the rhythm that horse’s legs move at. It determines both the speed you are traveling at, and how you need to position your body to make riding more comfortable and controlled.
The slowest gait that a horse has is one everyone is familiar with, the walk. In a walk, the horse picks up one foot at a time and follows a four beat rhythm. An average speed for a horse to walk at is around four miles per hour.
The next fastest gait is the trot. The trot is similar to a jog and the horses’ hooves hit the ground on a two beat rhythm. The hooves move diagonally to each other. An example of this would be front right hoof and rear left hoof on the ground at the same time, and then switching to front left and rear right. As you can imagine, alternating between two sets of legs rapidly can cause the rider to get bounced around on the horses back. In Western riding the rider ‘sits’ the trot, which means the rider stays down in the saddle and lets their lower back absorb the shock. Sitting the trot is not particularly easy, or comfortable, so at Goosewing Ranch we encourage guests to learn how to post. Posting is an English riding technique where the rider falls into rhythm with the horse and rises out of the seat rhythmically to keep from bouncing off. An average speed for a trot is eight miles per hour. Contrary to what you see in the movies, people travel on horseback at a trot and not a faster gait because horses have a hard time maintaining a faster speed over long distances.
The lope is a three beat gait that is faster than a trot, and slower than a gallop. It is also known in English riding as cantering. A horse will propel itself forward on one of its hind feet, catch itself on the opposite diagonal foot, and then on the final beat catch itself on its remaining front foot. Basically the horse alternates between two feet on the ground and one foot on the ground. While this might sound more complicated, loping is much smoother than trotting and many people prefer it. The key to staying in the saddle while loping is to ‘sit deep.’ In layman’s terms sitting deep means ‘keep your butt in the saddle.’ You have to find the rhythm of the horse and fall into it while focusing on not letting yourself come up and out of the saddle. Loping speeds can vary quite a bit, but average between ten and seventeen miles per hour.
The fastest gait a horse can manage is the gallop. Galloping involves the horse driving themselves forward with all four feet leaving the ground. It is a very fast smooth gait, and requires an athletic horse and rider. It averages between twenty five and thirty miles per hour and can only be sustained for short distances.
There are other gaits that only certain breeds of horses can do, or horses with special training. Pacing, fox trotting, racking and running walks are some examples of these gaits. Hopefully this helps you understand a little more about how horses move, and how to make yourself move with your horse. We would be more than happy to help you learn more about all the gaits mentioned when you come to visit us at Goosewing Ranch.

English vs Western, Whats the Difference?

August 10th, 2012 by Amy

Guests often ask us what the difference between English and Western riding is, but the answer often isn’t as straightforward as they would like because there are many similarities between the two schools. One big difference is the saddles used in each discipline and why they are used.
Western saddles are designed for comfort and utility because they are a working saddle. Cowboys would spend their entire day in the saddle, and so their saddles were made as comfortable as possible while still giving them plenty of places to tie their ropes, and hang their guns. The most prominent feature of the western saddle is undoubtedly the horn. To the surprise of most novice riders, the horn is not a handle or place to rest your hand. The horn is used to dally(wrap) your rope around when catching cattle, dragging objects on horseback, tie things to, and for many other uses. Western saddles typically have high cantles, and pommels, which create a deeper seat to help you stay secure at faster gaits over uneven terrain. They also have large fenders which keep the stirrups from moving around unnecessarily. Saddle bags, tied on behind the cantle, are a common accessory for holding things while you are out on the trail. We provide pommel bags for our guests, which slide over the horn and secure under the gullet for holding lunches, water, cameras, and anything else they would like to take out on the trail.
English saddles are much lighter and have fewer bells and whistles than their western counter-parts. There is less leather between you and the horse, and therefore you can ‘feel’ the horse more. The lack of additional leather also gives you more mobility so you can maintain the proper posture for jumping. The stirrup leathers are very thin, so it is very important to keep your weight in your stirrups so they don’t flop around.
There are many other differences between the two disciplines from the typical clothing that is worn to the bits and reins used. One style is not better than the other because they are both trying to accomplish different things. If you are an English rider looking to be exposed to the Western style of riding, or if you have never ridden and you think that you would like to try Western riding, Goosewing Ranch is a great place to test it out and see if it is for you!

Diagram of a Western saddleDiagram of an English saddle

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