Howdy partner! Did you ever dream about living like a real Cowboy or Cowgirl? Well it turns out you can, if you opt to do your work experience or internship on one of the many ranches in Canada. Ranch Stays in Canada give you the opportunity to experience all that is on offer in the Canadian countryside. From horseback adventures, remoteness, cowboy style and healthy living, there are many benefits to choosing your working holiday at a ranch.
It can be hard to get to grips with the vastness of Canada’s best known ranches. Canada’s largest ranch, located in British Columbia, is larger than some small countries with a size of 172,000 hectares. You can only imagine the exploring that is on offer here. If you watched Shanghai Noon you have seen the Canadian Badlands where Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson hung out while shooting, this is where some of the remote ranches of Alberta are located. Internex has an experiential travel program that can connect you with some of the best ranchstay options in Western Canada.
Ain’t this what travel is all about; Escaping our common surroundings, experiencing new activities, learning about historic traditions, allowing fresh air to fill our lungs and letting go of technology. Although, this type of work experience doesn’t suit everyone and even if it provides the ultimate opportunity to touch a slice of Canadian wilderness, it is no easy ride.
Don’t bother applying if:
- You don’t like horses
- You are a little lazy and enjoy sleeping in everyday
- You don’t like getting your hands dirty
- You are a drama queen, a spoiled princess or prefer the city buzz
Now for the reasons why to bother:
- If you want to find yourself without the interruption of technology and every common distraction that exists today
- If you are a keen horse rider, horse enthusiast or animal lover in general
- If you need to escape the keyboard and be a part of something special
- If you like beautiful, uninterrupted scenery and mountainous views
- If you enjoy adventure and old fashioned hospitality in the real west
- If you are a hard worker and early riser
How to do a ranch stay in Canada?
The larger ranches such as Douglas Lake, Fentonhertford Ranch and Siwash Lake Ranch have great websites where you can get glimpses of the cowboy lifestyle and check out what activities are on offer. If you are a student and looking for work experience than you can easily link up with work placement providers like Internex who organize and manage unique student experiences in Canada. If you are a backpacker or on a working holiday visa check out the Work Away website where you can filter to Canada and find one-of-a kind work experience on Canadian farms.
Where to do a ranch stay?
There are ranches dotted throughout Canada so you won’t be short on links when you Google for ranches in Canada but make sure you know a little bit about each province and how remote the ranches are before you get in contact with them. There are 28 guest ranches listed on the British Columbia tourism site HelloBC and you can scroll through information on the 9 most popular ranches in Alberta on the Alberta Western and Cowboy Vacations site.
We have listed the main activities that you might participate in during your ranch stay and while you are working. All of the below activities are commonly found on Canadian ranches.
- Horse Adventures
- Herd Cattle
- Fly fishing
- Fun with Flora & Fauna
- Feed animals
- Picking Fruit
- Cleaning the Corrals
- Watering the Gardens
- Fixing the fences
Other activities such as cleaning, rafting, indoor work and animal specific duties depend on the type of ranch that you go to and the types of farming that they specialize in.
What you need to bring?
Here is a basic list of essentials that you will need to bring on your ranch stay experience. It is always a good idea to ring ahead and get an idea of the weather to expect for your stay, the types of activities that you will be doing each day and the different animals that you will be working with.
- A pair of comfortable walking shoes
- A good pair of gloves (you will be working outdoors with bugs and thorns on every corner)
- A light water proof jacket
- Shorts, T-shirts and a good pair of jeans for riding
- A cowboy hat (optional but you want to look the part)
- A water bottle to take on all of the rides with you
- Bug spray
- Swimming Suit (this depends on the ranch)
Galloping through the Canadian wilderness, wind in your hair, with nothing but blue skies and mountainous views ahead, what more could you ask for? We will be doing a Q&A with one of the ranch operators in the coming weeks to find out exactly who is suitable for working on the ranch and what it is like to spend time in Cowboy territory.