5 Tips for Showing Guests Around the Ranch

I took a friend out riding this weekend. Though I’m not a fan of using labels, she is a self-proclaimed city girl with little riding experience. I tossed her up on Buster Brown, the best doggone Buster I know, and away we went to check fence.

Not only did she have a great time seeing the country and learning how to ride better, I had a blast seeing my life though another person’s perspective. I haven’t played tour guide much but when I got to thinking about it, five things came to mind when showing non-ranching folks around.

5 Tips for Showing Guests Around the Ranch
1. Explain what you’re doing.
I don’t think about what I’m doing when I get ready to go out for a ride. It’s just as normal as breathing. When I grabbed a can of grain and a couple halters, my friend said, “So you just go out in the field and shake food, and they’ll come running?” I’m so glad she made that comment right off, because it really made me conscientious and explain things like why I walked the horse before getting on and why the saddle is placed where it is.

2. Use proper terminology. As a life-long ranch girl, it’s easy to use slang. Or even worse, to not describe anything at all. Simple things like the difference between a snaffle bit and a hackamore or the definition of a heifer is important.

3. Let them help. When possible, letting guests help is key. It’s one thing to see it; it’s much more powerful to do it. When we wrapped up our ride, I had my friend unsaddle Buster. There wasn’t much that could go wrong, and it was a great way to walk her through the process.

4. Give them the opportunity to succeed. This ties in with #3, but it’s something I wanted to stress because I know I struggle with it. Bottom line, it’s easier and faster to do things myself, but that’s not the point of bringing guests along for the ride.

Some of the trails we rode on this weekend were not easy-as-pie for first timers. While I was ready to step in if need be, I had the utmost trust in the combination of Buster’s steadiness and her adventurous, do-anything attitude. She did a fabulous job, boosting her own confidence and comfort levels with riding in this type of country.

5. Learn from them. It was a great experience, riding with someone who has little background in ranching. The enthusiasm was contagious, and I was reminded of how blessed I am to have the life I do. I fall into the trap of taking things for granted. Having someone ride along with a completely different viewpoint was educational on my side too.

Of course, safety of all involved is the first priority. But is the world coming to an end if the fence doesn’t get stretched and stapled as efficiently as it could? No, not even my little smidgen of a world.


  1. I love this post Erica! It is so true, and my family has learned all five of your points through trial & error :). We had a great experience a couple weeks ago when our daughter brought home her college roommate for the 3-day weekend. She hails from Kent and other than riding lessons at a stables, has never really experienced the country. The most fun was her exuberant excitement at seeing her first tumbleweed! Of course we had to laugh and take pictures and let her know that she could take home all she wanted! She also was put on a tractor with a large bale baler and worked for 13 hours that weekend, with only 1 boo boo. She had never even seen a tractor up close before. She was such a trooper! Safety issues were gone over thoroughly first. I told my daughter that now she needs to experience the ‘city life’ :).

    • Haha, loved the tumbleweed part! It’s so much fun to hear other people’s experiences of bringing guests onto the ranch. I hope to keep doing it!

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