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Wranglers, need advice and want to learn more!!! Please look inside!

This is a discussion on Wranglers, need advice and want to learn more!!! Please look inside! within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        04-10-2009, 02:13 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Question Wranglers, need advice and want to learn more!!! Please look inside!

    Hello! And thank you for opening this thread!!!

    Okay, well I'm 15 and have been thinking A LOT about my future. I want it too include hands on working with horses and people. So far I've come up with Wrangler at a Dude Ranch or Trainer! I have been leaning strongly towards becoming a Wrangler which is why I opened this thread =]

    When I was younger I worked as a Wrangler up at a local campground that offered basic horseback trail rides. There were only about 7 horses in a string and I always had an adult Wranglers help because I was too young to run things bymyself down there. We'd go out for an hour long ride three times a day on weekends and wednesdays. I started there when I was eight till I was 13 with a year break in between when I was 10. I know you're probably thinking "Yeah right kid, you didn't work you just went along for the ride!" I did work though! I pulled out horses, groomed them, saddled and bridled, led trail rides, taught people the basics to riding, gave people information about the area around and different plants and such. I even taught the other adult Wranglers, coming in, the ropes of how the place worked. The last year I worked there I even taught the Wrangler how to ride and the basics. Long story, but anyways I do know a little bit about being a Wrangler and dealing with the public. It's especially harder when you're younger because adults don't really listen to you.

    Anyways, I was wondering if some of you wranglers out there with experience with working on a real dude ranch could enlighten me on it? I know you have too put in long hours that wear on you physically and mentally, you need to be a good people person, horse knowledge is a must, and all that stuff. I'm planning on becoming CPR and First Aid certified which I've found is acquired by most ranches, plus it's just good general knowledge to know.

    Well, you see I'm not sure what I really want to know. Maybe how life was like for you? How many hours did you put in, and did you find it worth it? What happens when the season is over? Did you make enough money to support yourself through the off season, or did you get another job. Is a year-round position better than seasonal? Can you follow the tourists, like work up in Colorado for their season, but then go down to Arizona for that season which is kind of the opposite of Colorado's? Did you enjoy meeting new people? What are some things that are a must if you want to work on a dude ranch? Ect... I just want to know general knowledge about dude ranch life from people who've experienced it!!!

    Also, I know it doesn't make the greatest of money. I'm not into material objects, give me a place to sleep and some food and I'm happy so long as I can work with horses! I love the outdoors, I live 7 miles from the nearest black top road/town. I have good forest savvy and such. I'm not afraid to work hard and get dirty. Please tell me about some of your expereiences, and if you think I'd make a good Wrangler? I'm willing to learn, and I have family up in Montana with working cattle ranches that I'd like to stay with to learn more about ranch life.

    Any and all replies will be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!! And sorry about such a long post!
         
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        04-10-2009, 03:39 PM
      #2
    Foal
    Quote:
    Maybe how life was like for you?

    I was a wrangler for 3 seasons at a dude ranch in Oregon. I really loved the experience. The first two seasons were awesome because the supervisor was hardly ever there and basically, me and two other wranglers ran the whole show. It was great. We did rides for all kinds of people. It was very profitable when the rich folks came out because they'd tip really well.
    Also, because it's a dude ranch, you're dealing with people who think of horses as big dogs, Disney rides, they are clueless but happy to learn anything you tell them.They're also typically in very good moods because they're on vacation. You're giving them an experience that they cherish, you'll get your picture taken, and feel like a little celebrity because anyone who wears a cowboy hat and rides a horse is automatically cool to them.
    It was frustrating at times when I got people who claimed they could ride and they'd hold the horse back on narrow trails, to get some space between them and the horse in front of them, then let the horse go and the horse would lope up. That's how accidents happen. So, you've got to learn how to ride sitting sideways and looking back all the time.
    But that said, those times were very few and far between. Mostly, people were great. And the rides were fun (because we weren't being supervised).....I remember one lady came out to ride and she wanted to go fast, I gave her a horse and made her show me that she knew how to ride, she did, and we went on a fast lope through the woods. I got a $50 tip for that. Then there were the Japanese tourists and not one spoke English!
    The pain in the butts are the little kids that cry and the parents are forcing them to go. That's where you gotta say,...the kid is scared! Forget it. Go do a pony ride.
    Then there's the ah...chubby people. There was this one really big woman who came out to ride and the supervisor was there that day. She had her climb aboard this horse that I knew couldn't handle the weight (260 lbs max!) and the sup tells me...help her to mount up. I said no. You get the hernia. And the sup helped the big lady get into the saddle and...the horse collapsed!!! The poor horse moaned and groaned and his back end gave out and he sat down and the woman rolled off onto the supervisor. After that, we got a draft horse for big people.

    Quote:
    How many hours did you put in, and did you find it worth it?

    I put in 12 hour days. 7am to 7pm. At the time, yeah, it's worth it. I loved it. I looked forward to every day. But as a career and doing this for years on end? No. You make low wages, work long hours and it's typically seasonal, which means, you better have another job on the off season. Although there are places that are open year round and offer room and board (I had my own place, though).

    Quote:
    What happens when the season is over?

    you've got the option of returning for next season, you'll have first pick...that is, over new wranglers wanting to sign up. You'll be called first. But when the season is over, you're on your own.

    Quote:
    Did you make enough money to support yourself through the off season, or did you get another job.

    No. You can't make enough money to support yourself if it's just a summer job. Not on those wages. It's a summer job. There are no benefits, nothing. So, if you get hurt, you're paying your own bills. I got another job for the winter then went back. I only stayed part of the 3rd season though, the supervisor was a jerk and starting to butt in more and there were more accidents because she was trying to make more money for the company by cramming as many tourists on the rides as possible (rule is 8 people to every one wrangler...she was letting 12 to 15 people on and you can't watch that many people....you're talking about people who don't know anything and you're in charge/you're the babysitter for people and horses)....so I quit. That's another thing...you're just a wrangler, you're not in charge....so you're stuck working under whoever you do...so be sure you get along and the person in charge cares about your well being and that of the tourists.

    Quote:
    Is a year-round position better than seasonal?

    Depends. Some places really go dead in the winter, others stay the same or thrive. Depends on where you go. You can be let go or your hours cut without much notice, so your money can go down to zero very easily. So, I'd say, unless you can find a secure yearly deal...stick with seasonal and have a winter job ready.

    Quote:
    Can you follow the tourists, like work up in Colorado for their season, but then go down to Arizona for that season which is kind of the opposite of Colorado's?

    Yeah. There are wranglers who do that and it works out good.

    Quote:
    Did you enjoy meeting new people?

    That was the best part of the job. You get to meet people from around the country and the world.

    Quote:
    What are some things that are a must if you want to work on a dude ranch? Ect... I just want to know general knowledge about dude ranch life from people who've experienced it!!!
    Sense of humor. Be able to read people...if someone claims they can ride don't automatically believe them. Be able to ride almost sitting backwards in the saddle, because you're a babysitter. Be able to talk a lot, start up conversations, make small talk and lots of it.

    There's really not a whole lot to know that you won't get to very quickly once you're working. That is, all the basics (cinch checks and all that)
    the more fun you can make the ride for the people, the more they talk about you and the more they come back and bring others with them, and the more biz you get.

    Quote:
    Also, I know it doesn't make the greatest of money. I'm not into material objects, give me a place to sleep and some food and I'm happy so long as I can work with horses!
    You say that now that you're 15, but wait til you get in your 20s and get tired of being broke. You need to make real money at some point to pay for everything and some nice extras, so I would recommend this as a good job while you're going to school, but not as a forever job. It leaves you nothing to fall back on (money wise) and you can be let go at any time if biz is slow, so you'll be stuck with nothing if you only stay with this type of job. Also, if you get hurt, you're on your own. There are no benefits unless you find a ranch that offers them. So, if you get hurt, you pay for it yourself. I'm just saying, if you're thinking about this as a career, you might want to add...barn manager or trainer or.... that can give you a more steady income.


    There are dude ranches that hold on to the wranglers for years on end....because the wrangler trains horses for them (usually dude strings consist of horses in their before or early teens but rarely in their twenties because it's an hour ride all day long every day in the summer)....and manages the barn too, does some accounting, the books, etc.... Just a thought....

    Quote:
    and if you think I'd make a good Wrangler?
    I dunno. If you can ride, are not shy but outgoing with new people, have a sense of humor, can work long hours, etc... sure. Being a wrangler doesn't take much really just how to handle a horse and people. It's when you add on stuff like wrangler/trainer/book keeper/etc.....


    Quote:
    I'm willing to learn, and I have family up in Montana with working cattle ranches that I'd like to stay with to learn more about ranch life.

    With this kind of a background, you're a sure thing to get a job as a wrangler. My own background before the dude ranch: I had a broke horse I rode and took riding lessons off of. I lived with a ranching family, but I wasn't from a ranching family. I didn't grow up around horses, I grew up in California in the suburbs where there are no horses. So, if I can do it, anyone can.

    Have fun and hope you find a good job you enjoy! There is a directory on dude ranches that you can Google and mail/email/call about info.
         
        04-10-2009, 05:19 PM
      #3
    Foal
    Quote:
    The pain in the butts are the little kids that cry and the parents are forcing them to go. That's where you gotta say,...the kid is scared! Forget it. Go do a pony ride.
    Quote:
    Then there's the ah...chubby people. There was this one really big woman who came out to ride and the supervisor was there that day. She had her climb aboard this horse that I knew couldn't handle the weight (260 lbs max!) and the sup tells me...help her to mount up. I said no. You get the hernia. And the sup helped the big lady get into the saddle and...the horse collapsed!!! The poor horse moaned and groaned and his back end gave out and he sat down and the woman rolled off onto the supervisor. After that, we got a draft horse for big people.
    Yeah, when I did work at the campground we had a lot of both of those cases! Once, there was this one lady who was very hefty and older with her grandaughter. So (after a struggle) we got her on our strongest horse (bailey) and decided that'd we'd take the easy trails, and try to avoid the steep hills. Well, Bailey didn't appreciate the woman so big on his back and when he did a quick side step she tried to jump off caught her finger on the hitching post ring and did a belly flop on the ground Dislocated a finger in the process. After we got her up, she was laughing and carrying on luckily and proceeded to tell us she use to be a patrol officer at a prison. Haha Lucky she didn't sue us, one of the workers took her to ER to get the finger taken care of and to be checked out. It was Office's job to tell the larger people they couldn't ride, but of course they didn't so we were left dealing with it

    Quote:
    Be able to read people...if someone claims they can ride don't automatically believe them. Be able to ride almost sitting backwards in the saddle, because you're a babysitter.


    hehe yeah, we got some doozeys at the place I worked at. One sticks in my mind the most because I remember my partner (adult wrangler) looking up at a family walking down and giving a sigh of releife. "Ohh, good it looks like we have some people who know what they're doing!!!" I looked up and smiled at him because this was his first year of doing this and it was my 4th. I was like "Ehh, look again! I don't think so!" they all had cowboy boots, jeans, belts, and cowboy hats so my partner instantly thought they new what they were doing. When you looked closer though, the boots had that little ridge of dust around the sides and the tops were still polished clean, new and stiff looking. The heels on the girls boots were a tad to high to be working boots, and all they're clothes were stiff and didn't look like they'd been washed. My partner argued with me, but when we got out on the trail they didn't know anything haha We got back from the ride and my partner was like " you hit the nail on the head with that crowd!"

    Quote:
    I put in 12 hour days. 7am to 7pm. At the time, yeah, it's worth it. I loved it. I looked forward to every day. But as a career and doing this for years on end? No. You make low wages, work long hours and it's typically seasonal, which means, you better have another job on the off season. Although there are places that are open year round and offer room and board (I had my own place, though).


    Okay, that's good advice Thank you! Ummm... Well it's not for sure, but my dad's friend is into computer programming stuff and has mentioned more than once he wished he could get me into it. I know for a fact it makes good money and I could do it, but I really like working outside. If I could get a ranch that has internet connection (I've been studying different ranches and some offer it) then maybe I could dabble in it and make money working on it a few hours here and there. Or maybe do that in the winter? I don't know just a thought I haven't looked into it 100% but I was thinking about it. It'd be ideal, but I don't know if that is an option.

    Quote:
    Yeah. There are wranglers who do that and it works out good.

    Alrighty, awesome!

    [quote]You say that now that you're 15, but wait til you get in your 20s and get tired of being broke. You need to make real money at some point to pay for everything and some nice extras, so I would recommend this as a good job while you're going to school, but not as a forever job. It leaves you nothing to fall back on (money wise) and you can be let go at any time if biz is slow, so you'll be stuck with nothing if you only stay with this type of job. Also, if you get hurt, you're on your own. There are no benefits unless you find a ranch that offers them. So, if you get hurt, you pay for it yourself. I'm just saying, if you're thinking about this as a career, you might want to add...barn manager or trainer or.... that can give you a more steady income.

    There are dude ranches that hold on to the wranglers for years on end....because the wrangler trains horses for them (usually dude strings consist of horses in their before or early teens but rarely in their twenties because it's an hour ride all day long every day in the summer)....and manages the barn too, does some accounting, the books, etc.... Just a thought....
    [/quote]

    Haha, true! I guess I didn't think of it like that, but it is a very good point! That's where the computer thing comes into play, but I'm not sure like I said if that's an option. It's a good thing to think about though because if I can't do that, then I need to find something else that I can do! I would enjoy being a trainer. My mare dandy had a foal who is now a year old. My friend is a professional trainer and is helping me train my filly and me for free. She loves teaching me and teaching me how to teach and I love learning so I consider that very valuable knowledge! I'm going to be doing extensive training on my filly and my quater horse gelding this summer with my friend at her house this upcoming summer

    Quote:
    With this kind of a background, you're a sure thing to get a job as a wrangler. My own background before the dude ranch: I had a broke horse I rode and took riding lessons off of. I lived with a ranching family, but I wasn't from a ranching family. I didn't grow up around horses, I grew up in California in the suburbs where there are no horses. So, if I can do it, anyone can.

    Have fun and hope you find a good job you enjoy! There is a directory on dude ranches that you can Google and mail/email/call about info.
    Thank you! And thank you so much for giving such a detailed and long reply! Everything you mentioned is EXTREMELY helpful, and gives me that many more angles to look down at things from! Haha sorry if my reply is a little jumbled and out of order!

    Anyone else have experiences/stories to share and advice to give?! I'll watch the thread closely! Don't be afraid to share Thanks!!!



         

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