To start off, I live in North Carolina right now, am 18 years old, and looking to do something totally different. I've worked with horses all my life, am pretty confident in my horsemanship skills even though I learn something new every day, and have worked on a farm all my life and am not afraid of hard work. I have taught my self how to rope, with some proffesional help here and there, but am still very amateur.
How could I go about finding a job on a ranch out west(Montana/Wyoming)? As I understand it, it would be best to start off at a dude ranch and work my way up...but that's seasonal and I would be looking for something for the winter which is where I'm kind of stumped. I have my own tack (saddle, breast collar, bridle, pad, saddle bags, etc).
My plan would be to save up a couple thousand dollars and get all my tack, enough clothes for a couple of weeks, my guns and ammo, maybe my fly fishing rod and tackle, and enough music and food to last me there. Of course I would like to have a job before I made the trip.
Also what certain skills would you suggest I concentrate on when it comes to horseback riding? I just want to be as ready as possible before I do it.
Thanks for the help!