Goosewing Ranch

Jackson Hole Guest Ranch Bound…

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 https://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….

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

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!

 

Belt Buckles…A cowboys story…


I am sure many of you out there have wondered what the deal is with the BIG belt buckles that cowboys and cowgirls wear… Of course the practical purpose of the belt buckle is to keep your belt closed, but it also can tell a story. Belt buckles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, designs, and are unique from one to the other.
Belt buckles are sort of a cowboy’s resume, name tag, and family history all put onto a piece of silver plated metal. Some people will wear a buckle with their name on it, others like to have their favorite tractor or truck, and some their favorite sport or animal to hunt. But, for a cowboy it is usually a trophy to be worn with pride, and to show others their accomplishments. The family history comes in when it is time for a young man or lady to start their own rodeo career, but they haven’t a buckle of their own so Mom or Dad will pass along a buckle of theirs for them to wear.
Belt buckles are given for accomplishments in the “cowboy” world for such things as barrel racing, bull riding, team roping, tie down roping and more. At the local Jackson Hole rodeo contestants compete throughout the season for a chance to win a buckle. At Goosewing Ranch many of our employees wear buckles that they have either won or purchased. You can even buy a buckle with a picture of “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park, or one with the Tetons on it.  Even guest ranches and working ranches have buckles made up with their brand on them.
Whatever your style or choice of buckle wear it proudly! Love live Wyoming’s Cowboys!

From our head wrangler, Kris…

Well another spring has arrived and life on the ranch is as exciting as ever. The tack room is cleaned, and ready for a fun filled summer of horseback adventures into the Wyoming back country. We have 62 head of horses on the ranch, with mostly familiar faces, but a few new ones to learn. The horses have all wintered well and are looking fit for our guests. It is always a happy reunion when the horses return, both for them and the wranglers. We all get a good laugh watching them wonder around the ranch showing the new horses the routine of their life on a guest ranch.
All of the horses have been ridden and taken out on different trails into the Gros Ventre wilderness and Bridger-Teton National Forest. The new Goosewing Ranch wranglers are as fun to watch as the new horses. They are in awe of the terrain and vistas surrounding the ranch and on the trails we ride. They all are excited to learn more about the area and the horses they will be caring for throughout the summer. Every day is a new adventure. They remind me of myself and the reasons why I started leading trail rides. With eight wranglers this year we will be able to provide excellent service and a variety of trail rides daily.
The wildlife has been abundant both on, and near the ranch and on the trail rides. We have spotted numerous herds of Elk, mule deer through the thin foliage, and watched as the antelope move back into the valley. We have also spotted wolves, badgers, grizzly bears, eagles, and a few moose. The horses have handled the wildlife spotting’s, new wranglers, and various trail conditions like old pros. One never knows what to expect in western Wyoming where we are part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
We are all looking forward to the vacation season starting in the Jackson Hole area, and can’t wait to entertain all of our guests by taking them on horseback adventures, touring Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and enjoying all the a resort ranch has to offer. The horses are “rearing to go”, the trails are drying out, and the wranglers are saddled up and waiting for all the different guests to arrive. We still have cabins available, so, it’s not too late to book your Dude ranch vacation at Goosewing Ranch. Come and enjoy our western hospitality!

What’s Cookin’ at Goosewing Ranch…

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…

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?

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…

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?

Rodeos…A cowboys resume…

Rodeos have a long and vibrant history. The roots of modern rodeos can be traced back to the late 1700s and 1800s. Spanish ranchers who settled in Mexico brought over many of their ranching techniques and taught them to their Mexican ranch hands, also known as vaqueros. As Spanish influence waned in the 1800s the vaqueros moved north and passed on much of their knowledge to Americans moving out and settling the new western frontier.

As the West was settled nearby ranches began holding informal competitions between their outfits to see who was the best at doing ranch chores. Chores like breaking horses and roping cattle provided the basis for the modern day events that we see in rodeos. Many cowboys began to find themselves out of work as trains spread toward the west coast and the range lands were fenced in around the time of the American Civil War. The solution for these cowboys was to travel around and exhibit their skills in Wild West Shows, and local rodeos. In the early days the performers in the two shows were one in the same. The rodeos of this time period were still almost completely unorganized, which led to much confusion. Rodeos were put on by local communities and there was little communication between them. Many of the competitors didn’t know what events were being offered, or even what the rules were going to be until they arrived and paid their entry fees.

In the early 1900s rodeos began to be structured more and more by official rodeo organizations. These organizations put together a formal set of rules and judging guidelines. Eventually Wild West shows fell on the wayside and rodeos became more and more like we see them today. Rodeos were actually one of the first sports to have a dedicated governing body with the creation of the Rodeo Association of America(RAA) in 1929. Today we have the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association(PRCA) which puts on the famous National Finals Rodeo every year in Las Vegas.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Jackson Hole, has a rodeo every Wednesday and Saturday night.  Rodeos have been popular on guest ranch and dude ranches, like Goosewing Ranch, for generations.

Rodeos have changed quite a bit over the years, but it’s fun to think about how rodeos have transformed from a simple competition between neighbors to the competitive sport it is today.

Other interesting facts about rodeos:

  • The ‘invention’ of steer wrestling can be attributed to just one man, Bill Pickett. It is the only event that can be attributed to only one person.
  • The most popular event in the rodeos in the late 1800s and early 1900s was trick roping, also known as ‘fancy roping’
  • Women were a regular part of bronc and bull riding in early rodeos, but became publicly unpopular after a woman was killed in 1929
  • There are many claims to the first rodeo, but the earliest recorded is Santa Fe, NM (1842)

Our Independence Day Special includes a trip in to famous Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the parade, lunch in Grand Teton National Park, rodeo, and fireworks.  This is a great family vacation package…