Wilderness Horseback Guide

Become the guide you always wanted to be

Imagine doing things you’ve never done, working harder than you ever have, pushing past your comfort zone...
AND loving every second of it.

The Training

Our guide training is among the most challenging, fulfilling, and confidence-inspiring experience you’ll ever have. Train onsite at our active guest ranch before you ride into the mountains to hone your newly acquired skills during a backcountry horse pack trip. The hands-on format of our outdoor guide training is suitable for individuals with a range of outdoors and horse experience. Even complete beginners are welcome. From all aspects of horse-care to wilderness camp procedures and wildlife safety, we’ll teach you the broad set of skills that are essential for every horseback guide. After completing our outdoor guide training, you’ll have the ability and confidence to lead guests into remote wilderness or embark on your own nature adventures.

What to expect

What you’ll learn

After completing our guide training, you will have the practical skills and working knowledge to be horseback guide in remote wilderness locations. We break down the complex question of how to become a guide by relying on tested, established procedures that have produced scores of competent, confident guides who have gone on to live their dreams of living and working in the wilderness.

Our outdoor guide training covers the broad range of skills that are required for entry level positions in the adventure tourism and guide outfitting industries, including careers at guest ranches, horseback riding stables, fishing lodges, backcountry camping sites, and more. This guide training is also excellent preparation for starting your own guide outfitting or adventure tourism company, as we expose you to many aspects of the guide outfitting industry.

Our guide training covers the following topics and skills:

  • Western-style horseback riding
  • How to saddle, shoe, and pack horses
  • Wilderness survival skills
  • Mountain horseback riding, with a focus on safe procedures for riding through rugged terrain
  • How to care for horses in remote wilderness settings
  • Wilderness camp and range management during horse pack trips
  • Wildlife safety, with a focus on bear safety
  • How to plan, prepare, and lead horse pack trips

For both our 1 week and 2 week guide training, the first half of the course involves hands-on skills training at our ranch. The second half of your course will be spent in the mountainous backcountry, where you will practice your skills and experience what it’s like to work as a horseback guide. Throughout each portion of this comprehensive program, you will have experienced wilderness guides as your instructors.

Who you’ll become

When you think about how to become a guide, horsemanship and wilderness skills are probably the first things that come mind. Working as a horseback guide, however, is equal parts skill and character. Your ability to handle stressful situations in an unforgiving environment can quite literally be the difference between life and death. That’s why we integrate personal development and leadership training into every aspect of our guide training. From day one, our outdoor guide training challenges you to step up and take responsibility. And while we leave space for you to learn and make mistakes throughout your journey to becoming a horseback guide, we also hold you to a high level of accountability. The expedited learning curve and amount of personal development that comes with tackling new challenges every day and taking on responsibilities at a rapid pace is astounding. Graduates of our outdoor guide training emerge as confident, capable leaders who take charge and step up to greater responsibilities, both in their guiding work and in their own lives.

Highlights
  • Thrive and grow in nature’s rich learning environment, where every moment holds new challenges and opportunities to reveal your true potential
  • Benefit from an accelerated learning curve, as you quickly (and safely) transition from watching to doing
  • Gain hands-on training in the controlled ranch environment before you refine your skills in a true wilderness environment
  • Experience the thrill of horseback riding through the alpine and take in 360 degree views of majestic mountain ranges and wide open valleys
  • Graduate with the skills and the confidence to make your wilderness dreams a reality
Day 1
  • Midday arrival and lunch at the ranch
  • Introduction and overview of Outdoor Adventure Tourism and the tourism industry
  • Horse Riding Orientation- We match riders to horses, fit saddles, and practice horsemanship skills
  • Introductory trail ride
  • Dinner
  • Bear and Cougar Safety
  • Map orientation highlighting key features and trails throughout the territory
  • Overnight in guide student Prospector Tents on ranch property
Day 2
  • Today, through instruction, demonstrations, and practice, we provide students with practical skills in the following areas:
    • Shoeing horses, including trimming hooves and fitting horse shoes
    • Campsite care of horses, including staking, hobbling, belling and tail tying
    • Range management
    • Packing horses for wilderness trips, including proper techniques for leading packhorses
    • Bareback riding
    • Introduction to Firearm Safety for Target Shooting Practice
  • Practice Ride leading a pack horse
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in guide student Prospector Tents on ranch property
Day 3
  • We build upon yesterday’s lessons with additional instruction, demonstrations, and practice in the following topics:
    • Shoeing horses, including safety precautions and practice of nailing on horse shoes
    • Basic horse logging skills, including harness work with long reins
    • Basic horse training methods
    • Backcountry veterinary techniques
    • Safe transport of horses, including proper loading and unloading procedures and whether to use a truck or trailer
    • Food and supply inventory procedures
    • Planning meals and backcountry cooking
  • Complete shoeing and packing tests
  • Pre-trip preparations, which include packing supplies and duffel routine
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in guide student Prospector Tents on ranch property
Day 4
  • Breakfast at the ranch
  • Pack and saddle the horses before we ride out to our alpine camp
  • Explore mountain trails that weave through ancient forests, vibrant wildflower fields, and wide open valleys
  • Enjoy lunch in an alpine meadow or on a mountain pass
  • Arrival at camp and camp maintenance
  • Nightly routine, which includes preparing dinner and staking, hobbling, and belling horses in their grazing meadow
  • Dinner and discussion about camp layouts and location, difference between traditional and spike camps, trail blazing and guide paperwork
Day 5
  • Morning routine, bringing in the horses and saddling them, breakfast preparations
  • Camp maintenance
  • Ride higher into the alpine, exploring mountain passes and shale-covered slopes
  • Enjoy lunch on the mountaintops, with breathtaking views of the valley stretching before you
  • Learn essential wilderness skills, like starting a fire, sourcing water and food, selecting campsites, and constructing shelters
  • Ride into camp
  • Nightly routine
  • Dinner and discussion about meal planning, cooking and time management at camp
  • Overnight in camp
Day 6
  • Morning routine and breakfast
  • Discover new wilderness landscapes as we ride through alpine basins and past stunning rock formations
  • Break for lunch
  • Learn basic wilderness first aid
  • Ride into camp
  • Camp maintenance (late season - camp take down and winterizing camp)
  • Nightly routine
  • Dinner and discussion about
    • Adherence to wilderness regulations and standards
    • Assessment and management of risk in the backcountry
    • Employer-employee relations and leadership skills
  • Overnight in camp
Day 7
  • Enjoy your last backcountry breakfast
  • Complete campsite procedures, pack up, and begin riding back to the ranch
  • Arrive at the ranch for lunch and pack for your journey home
  • Celebrate your achievements at graduation
  • Depart from the ranch

**Please Note: Our programs are subject to the unpredictable weather and terrain conditions that come with a mountainous environment. And while we do our best to stick to the itinerary, there are times when the current conditions and needs of the group require us to adjust schedules, campsites, etc. This is part of any true wilderness experience, however, and we are well equipped to adapt the adventure to changing conditions.

Highlights
  • Go beyond basic learning with in depth instruction and extensive supervised practice throughout this two week training program
  • Thrive and grow in nature’s rich learning environment, where every moment holds new challenges and opportunities to reveal your true potential
  • Gain hands-on training in the controlled ranch environment before you refine your skills in true wilderness
  • Explore the vast expanse of this stunning wilderness, from alpine meadows blanketed with wildflowers to awe-inspiring mountain ranges that touch the sky
  • Graduate with the skills and the confidence to make your wilderness dreams a reality
Day 1
  • Midday arrival and lunch at the ranch
  • Introduction and overview of Outdoor Adventure Tourism and the tourism industry
  • Horse Riding Orientation - We match riders to horses, fit saddles and practice horsemanship skills
  • Introductory trail ride
  • Dinner
  • Map orientation highlighting key features and trails throughout the territory
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 2
  • Today, through instruction, demonstrations, and practice, we provide students with practical skills in the following areas:
    • Trimming and rasping of hooves in preparation for shoeing horses
    • Packing horses for wilderness trips, including proper techniques for leading pack horses
  • Practice leading packhorses during a trail ride
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 3
  • We build upon yesterday’s lessons with the following topics:
    • Shoeing horses, including safety precautions, shaping horseshoes, and nailing on horseshoes
    • Review of packing techniques and progression to fitting pack saddles and packing a real horse
  • Trail ride with packhorses
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 4
  • Continue learning with today’s areas of focus:
    • Improvement of shoeing skills, through practice and additional training
    • Introduction to campsite care of horses, including staking, hobbling, belling and tail tying
    • Basic horse training methods, including halter training
    • Backcountry veterinary techniques
    • Range management and its impact on campsite procedures
  • Trail ride through new terrain
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 5
  • Instruction, demonstrations, and practice in the following topics:
    • Basic horse logging skills, including harness work with long reins and teams of horses
    • Safe transport of horses, including proper loading and unloading procedures and whether to use a truck or trailer
    • Bareback riding
    • Introduction to Firearm Safety for Target Shooting Practice
  • Ride along new mountain trails and further develop your horsemanship skills
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 6
  • Completion and review of guide school tests
  • Instruction, demonstrations, and practice in the following topics:
    • Overview over camps and trails in Chilcotin Holiday's territory and major landmarks, discussion of basic backcountry orientating skills
    • Bear and cougar safety
    • Food and supply inventory procedures
    • Planning meals and backcountry cooking
    • Practical discussion of employment as a wilderness guide, from resumes to employer-employee communication
  • Pre-trip preparations, which include packing supplies and duffels
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 7
  • Pack and saddle horses
  • Breakfast at the ranch
  • Ride out to one of our mountain camps
  • Discover the beauty of this vast wilderness as we ride past glacier-fed streams and journey through Douglas fir and Lodgepole pine forests
  • Enjoy lunch in the fresh air
  • Arrival at camp
  • Camp set up and maintenance
  • Nightly routine, which includes preparing dinner and feeding horses or staking, hobbling and belling horses in their grazing meadow
  • Dinner and discussion about camp layouts and location, difference between traditional and spike camps
  • Overnight in camp
Day 8 to 12
  • Morning routine, feeding and saddling of horses, breakfast preparations
  • Continue with camp maintenance or set up
  • Explore trails around camp riding higher into the alpine or exploring mountain passes and lookouts
  • Enjoy lunch in an alpine meadow or on a scenic lookout with breathtaking views
  • Every day we introduce and practice new backcountry skills, including:
    • Trail blazing and maintenance
    • Basic wilderness first aid
    • Basic Survival skills
    • Adherence to wilderness regulations and standards
    • Assessment and management of risk in the backcountry
    • Meal planning, cooking and time management at camp
    • Learn about plants and wildlife in the area
  • Ride into camp
  • Nightly routine
  • Dinner and overnight in camp
Day 13
  • Enjoy your last backcountry breakfast
  • Complete campsite procedures, pack up, and begin riding back to the ranch
  • Arrive at the ranch for lunch and pack for your journey home
  • Celebrate your achievements at graduation
  • Depart from the ranch

**Please Note: Our programs are subject to the unpredictable weather and terrain conditions that come with a mountainous environment. And while we do our best to stick to the itinerary, there are times when the current conditions and needs of the group require us to adjust schedules, campsites, etc. This is part of any true wilderness experience, however, and we are well equipped to adapt the adventure to changing conditions.

AVAILABLE DATES

ONE WEEK PROGRAM

START DATE END DATE
June 17th June 23th
July 1st July 7th
July 29th August 4th
August 5th August 11th
August 12th August 18th
August 19th August 25th

AVAILABLE DATES

TWO WEEK PROGRAM

START DATE END DATE
April 30st May 12th
May 14th May 26th
May 28th June 9th

ENQUIRY & BOOKING

BE ALL YOU CAN BE

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