Advanced Wilderness Horseback Guide

Join high level mountain guides

Take your horseback guide knowledge and experience to the next level

Completion of either our 1 week or 2 week Wilderness Horseback Guide program, or an equivalent level of training in horse and wilderness skills.

Ready to take your wilderness adventures to the next level? Our advanced wilderness guide training focuses on the skills and advanced backcountry experience that are mandatory for leading high level adventures as a horseback guide. While at the ranch, build your knowledge of wildlife and plant species, and learn how address the unique challenges that different seasons and habitats present. Then put your advanced wilderness skills to the test as you journey with experienced instructors into remote wilderness locations. By riding off trail and spike camping in the backcountry, you’ll gain the awareness, navigational proficiency, and horsemanship skills that are essential for all high level mountain guides.

The Next Level

Our Advanced Wilderness Horseback Guide course brings your wilderness skills and knowledge base to the next level- one that empowers you to venture further into the wilderness and lead high level nature tours. This advanced program for mountain guides begins with hands-on training at our ranch, and then continues with instruction and application in remote backcountry. As we continue to build upon and improve the skills covered in our 1 and 2 week Wilderness Horseback Guide programs, we train you for advanced wilderness guide jobs by focusing on the following areas:

  • Site selection and construction for spike camps in remote backcountry
  • Horse-care in extreme environments and conditions
  • How to prepare and continually adapt to the challenges of each unique season and habitat
  • Wildlife identification and tracking
  • Plant species identification and practical uses
  • Bushcraft and wilderness survival skills
  • Wilderness navigation by reading the land and using landmarks and blazes
  • How to plan for and lead complex wilderness trips in increasingly remote environments
  • Advanced training for bear safety and cougar safety
  • How to adhere to the regulations of each specific park and territory
  • Firearm safety and use
  • Advanced management of trips and staff

With each new proficiency and piece of knowledge you gain during this wilderness guide training, the scope of wilderness guide jobs available to you dramatically increases. Upon graduation, you’ll have the required experience to become a horseback guide for wildlife viewing tours, spike camping trips, and other adventures that require great competency in the remote backcountry.

Closer to nature and to your full potential

The ultimate goal of our Advanced Wilderness Horseback Guide program is to provide you with a greater understanding of the land and to bring you closer to nature. As we prepare you to lead high level wilderness adventures, you’ll naturally become more attuned to your surroundings and to the rhythms of each new environment. This high level of situational awareness in nature is pivotal to your safety and success, regardless of which wilderness guide jobs you are pursuing.

As our mountain guides in training become more attuned to nature, we’ve found that their personal development reaches new heights, as well. Learning how to live close to nature and adapt to the harsh realities of the wilderness draws out confidence, determination, and problem-solving skills. The high risks of remote wilderness and small margin of error that each horseback guide deals with further instills the ability to lead with confidence and take decisive actions, more than any theoretical leadership training ever could. And with the confidence and skills you develop during our wilderness guide training, you’ll live out the defining characteristics of true mountain guides: an enthusiasm for exploring remote backcountry, a commitment to learning from nature, and a passion for sharing the heart of the wilderness with as many people as possible.

  • Take your guide skills and backcountry know-how to the next level as we introduce additional skillsets and take on new wilderness challenges
  • Gain a foundational understanding of what it takes to start and run your own wilderness tourism company
  • Develop the advanced skill of scouting and tracking wildlife through their mountain habitats
  • Explore more of this vast wilderness as you spike camp in the mountains

Day 1
  • Midday arrival and lunch at the ranch
  • Through demonstrations, discussion, and hands-on practice, we review and cover the following topics in greater depth:
    • Wrangling, saddling,and horseback riding
    • Packing horses for wilderness trips - how to pack awkward objects, like shovels, building materials, or a chainsaw
    • Campsite care of horses, including staking, hobbling and belling
    • Opportunities for guides in the wilderness tourism industry
    • Essential backcountry skills
    • Best practices for employer-employee relations
  • Instructive trail ride with packhorses
  • Hearty ranch style dinner
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 2
  • We build upon yesterday’s lessons with additional instruction, demonstrations, and practice in the following topics:
    • Shoeing horses - how to put on back shoes
    • Next-level leadership skills, including staff management
    • Industry regulations and standards
    • Effective trip planning and management
    • Backcountry map use
    • Review of bear and cougar safety
    • Additional animal defense techniques, including safe use of firearms, bear bangers, and bear spray
    • Wilderness first aid and backcountry risk management
  • Pre-trip planning routine, including inventory of trip supplies, meal planning, and duffel routine
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the ranch
  • Overnight in Prospector tents on ranch property
Day 3
  • Breakfast at the ranch
  • Pack and saddle the horses before we ride into the mountains
  • During the ride, learn about the habits and instincts of our local wildlife
  • Break for lunch
  • Arrive at our selected campsite location
  • Nightly routine of setting up camp, preparing dinner, and staking, hobbling, and belling horses in their grazing meadow
  • Dinner and discussion of conservation goals, including our ongoing grizzly bear study
  • Hone your scouting abilities as we scan the bluffs for mountain goats
  • Overnight in camp
Day 4
  • Practice your time managing skills - Prepare breakfast, saddle horses
  • Ride along a high meadow trail, practicing your scouting and stalking skills as we continue riding through new terrain to good wildlife viewing locations or follow promising tracks
  • Enjoy lunch atop a mountain pass or in an alpine meadow
  • Explore another trail on the way back, while scouting for black bears, grizzly bears, mule deer and mountain goats
  • Learn photography methods to take pictures of guests and wildlife for marketing purposes
  • Nightly routine
  • Dinner and discussion of camp layouts, trail planning, and trail maintenance
  • Overnight at camp
Day 5
  • Prepare breakfast, saddle horses
  • Further develop your scouting skills as we explore new terrain
  • Break for lunch
  • Learn about the rich history of this territory as we ride along trails once used by explorers, pioneers, and gold miners
  • Nightly routine
  • Dinner and discussion of the unique ecological, botanical, and geologic features that make this wilderness unlike any other on earth
  • Overnight at camp
Day 6
  • Prepare breakfast, saddle horses
  • On today’s journey, we cover more advanced scouting techniques
  • Glass for mountain goats
  • Break for lunch
  • Explore another trail on the way back, while scouting for black bears, grizzly bears, mule deer and mountain goats
  • Nightly routine
  • Dinner
  • Overnight at 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 accomplishments 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.


July 7th July 13th


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