NOTE: Bar W's weight limit for horseback riding is 225 pounds.
Every Monday morning, guests will receive a horse safety speech and riding instruction demonstration before getting on the horses. After the speech riders will be paired with a horse and will spend about 30 – 45 minutes in the saddle practicing the basics of how to ride and getting comfortable on the horse at a walk only.
Saddle up and enjoy the beautiful, extensive forested trail system of Spencer Mountain that surrounds the ranch. Offered at multiple times throughout the week. Rides can range from 1 ½ hours to 3 hours in the saddle.
Swisher Lake Ride
The Swisher Lake ride is located at a separate site about an hour and a half away near Eureka, MT. Guests will travel by vehicle to the Swisher Lake Equestrian Trail Head and will start the horseback ride from that location. The ride itself is about 3 hours in the saddle. Riders will see a wide variety of scenery, including mountain ranges, lakes, and will get ride along- side the U.S. Canadian Border during part of the ride.
Cliff Lake Ride
The Cliff Lake Ride is offered all season long and is located off-site. Guest will travel to the trail head by vehicle, usually only about a 15 minute drive. Once at the trail head guests will mount up and spend 2 – 2 ½ hours in the saddle. The Cliff Lake ride goes through a lush Montana forest, passing through a couple of meadows, one with a small pond and the other with Cliff Lake. The ride covers a variety of terrain, from wide logging roads to narrow mountain trails, as well as a climb up to a scenic viewpoint.
Cattle Drive Day
The Grave Creek Cattle Drive is offered during our Adult Only weeks. Guests will travel to an off-site location, approximately a half hour from the Bar W, by vehicle before getting in the saddle for a unique experience. The day is separated into two parts. Guests will spend the morning going for a scenic trail ride along the route they’ll be driving the cattle, winding through cattle pastures, forests, and crossing the creek; all while receiving instructions from our experienced wranglers on how to move and work cattle. Pause for a packed lunch alongside the creek before getting back on the horses, rounding the cattle up, and driving them to their new pasture. Total time in the saddle is about 3 – 3 ½ hours.
Riders will learn the basics skills of how to herd cattle from horseback then work in small teams to herd cattle into a small pen inside the arena. All riders are welcome, no assessment or specific level required. Each guest will ride at the level appropriate for them, with a strong focus on safety.
Our riding lessons are taught by our knowledgeable and skilled wranglers. Guests will be working on gaining confidence and control in the saddle and practice the skills needed to be a safe and competent rider. For the guests our wranglers deem ready, there will be opportunities to learn the basics of safely riding at the trot and lope, and for those guests with a little more riding experience the ability to practice and improve on those skills.
The pony rides and Lessons are tailored for our Cowpoke Program. The little tikes get to ride a horse in a safe and controlled environment on our gentlest horses and are led around by a wrangler. Bigger, confident kids have the option for a mini lesson, where they can learn to guide the horse by themselves with the wrangler walking alongside.
Every Friday in the big arena, kids 12 and under will compete on horseback against other kids in two horseback events. The whole family can get involved for some fun, non-horseback games with their kids. There is music, a grand entry with the national anthem and flags while a staff member announces.
Take a tour of the ranch in one of our horse drawn wagons. Our wagons are pulled by our team of big draft horses. Each of our two wagons holds about 20 adults, so if both wagons are full, our teamsters will take the wagons around a second time for those that missed the first trip!
Live the full cowboy experience with roping lessons from our wonderful wranglers! These experts have years of knowledge about the craft of roping that they are happy to pass on to all that enter the ranch. It is truly such a fun skill to learn and a great bonding experience for guests and wranglers.