About the rides
What happens on the day of my ride?
Quick summary: We get your horse from the pasture, brush and saddle it shortly before your arrival. When you arrive at the ranch, drive to the ranch house. We will greet you there and you will have to pay and sign a waiver. Afterwards, walk to the barn where your horse and guide are waiting for you. When going for a ride on the ranch property, you get on your horse and we explain some riding basics before we take off.
What is the procedure with trail rides in Riding Mountain National Park?
When you arrive, your first step is to do the paperwork in the ranch house. We then trailer the horses and drive all together to the park entrance. Depending on the group size, it might be required that you follow us to the park entrance in your own car. Upon arrival in the national park, you get on your horse and we explain some riding basics before we take off.
In what pace are your rides?
Our rides are only walking pace (means going slow). As we cannot check on rider’s abilities beforehand, this is the safer version. Apart from that, our horses’ speed varies when going quicker than walking which makes it hard to keep the group together.
Preparation for the rides
What clothes do you recommend for riding?
We definitely (!!!) recommend wearing long pants. Bare skin rubbing on leather is not enjoyable at all – so please NO skirts, dresses or shorts. Depending on the season, you might also be exposed to the sun and a bunch of mosquitoes for hours. So, we also would go with a longsleeve, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. As shoes, choose sturdy shoes (sneaker or hiking boots are fine, sandals not). Please do not take backpacks along on your ride. We have saddle bags if needed (tell us beforehand!).
About the riders
Do I need riding experience to go for trail rides?
Definitely no riding experience required! Our horses are used to absolute beginners. Some rides are more suitable for less experienced riders (like our Homebound, Buckaroo & Jumpstart). For the longer rides (especially Full Day Ride & Overnight Rides), a good fitness level might be helpful when lacking in riding experience. Our new option Half Day Ride – Tilson Lake is for experienced riders only. If you are unsure which ride is the best choice for you, just ask us and we are happy to help or recommend a ride!
Are (young) kids allowed to go on trail rides?
Yes! Families and kids are very welcome. We do not have a certain age requirement. But – your kid needs in any case to be able to sit on a (regular sized!) horse on its own and it will not be placed on a horse with you. You know best if your kid is able (and comfortable) with doing so. Out of experience, we cannot recommend taking kids younger than around 6/7 years along. For safety reasons, we usually tie smaller kids’ horses to the guide’s horse (depending on our guides’ capacities).
Are there weight restrictions?
No, we do not have general weight restrictions. Please note that we might ask about your weight and height (especially for longer rides) to ensure we choose the right horse for you. If you think you might need an extra strong horse, a hint in advance helps us as well. Same with very tall persons – let us know beforehand and we will not prepare the smallest one for you. A weight restriction of ~220lbs applies to our Half Day Ride – Tilson Lake.
About booking and schedule
Is there a certain schedule when you go for which ride?
Nope! We basically schedule our rides according to guests’ inquiries. Means we have already had rides at 6am in the morning and sunset rides in the evening. For longer rides (Half Day and Full Day ride in the park), we usually start around 10am while we are more flexible with shorter rides. Have a look at our new calendar to see already scheduled rides with open spots – maybe one fits and you want to ride along?
Is there a minimum group size required for booking?
Two riders are required for booking. We still offer all rides (except overnight rides) for “solo riders”, please note that there will be an extra charge. As maximum, we accommodate groups up to 6 people for park rides. Regarding rides at home, we are more flexible and can take (most times) 8 to 10 riders in one group along. If you are a bigger group, we also try to make that work (e.g. with splitting your group and going more than once).
Are you merging groups together?
Yes, we do mix groups together if it fits time wise. Have a look at our new calendar to see already scheduled rides with open spots which you could join – great for single riders to avoid the extra fee. Out of experience, we can say that most times, your ride will be only with your riding companions.
About the horses
What kind of horses do you have?
We have around 11 guest horses at the moment. Most are purebred Tennessee Walking Horses and are born, grown up and trained on the ranch. Our horses are super friendly, reliable, and laid-back. They know what they have to do and are usually doing a great job – an unplanned break for a quick snack is usually the most disobedient thing they have in mind. If you want to get to know them in advance, we published our horses’ profiles on our Social Media accounts 🙂 (Check the hashtag #9fingerranchhorses on Instagram)
Can I help with preparing the horses?
Usually, we will have your horse ready to go for you when you arrive at the ranch. If wanted, we can (most times) arrange that you help us. As this usually takes longer, we would charge a little bit more for the extra time we have to invest. Talk with us about this well before your ride, please!
And a few other questions …
Are there packages for riding and staying at the ranch?
Yes, we have stay & ride packages prepared for you. They range from one night up to a week stay. You can choose between the pampered and the economic version. If you have something else in mind, let us know and we will see what we can do for you. We have two cabins available which can be booked independently as well.
Can I take photos while riding?
Yes, you can take your camera along. We just recommend asking your guide for a short stop if you want to snap a picture. However, when posting pictures on your social media accounts, we would be super happy if you tag (and hopefully recommend) us! You can find us on Instagram and Facebook.
I am not sure if I am comfortable with riding on my own – what now?
If you are a little bit scared or unsure, just let us know in advance. We will make sure to prepare the most reliable horse for you and help you in deciding which ride fits best. In the “worst case”, we can always take your horse on a leash and tie it to the guide’s horse (depending on our guides’ capacities).
Can I take my dog along?
We ask you to not take your dog along. Since there is a leash obligation in the national park, we do not allow dogs on rides. Additionally, we also cannot let other dogs come along for rides on the ranch property (as we can never be sure how it behaves around our dogs, horses and cattle).
Did we forget something important & special inquiries?
I have a special idea regarding a trail ride – what now?
You want to discover a certain spot in the park on horseback? Have riding experience and want to go for a more challenging ride? You want to do a multi day trip ride? You want to bring your own horse and need us as guides only? Whatever you have in mind, let us know and we try our best to make it happen.
Or do you have further questions? Contact us! 🙂