If I Had Known That!
There’s no official manual for starting a dude ranch. Meris Esterly Stout says she wished she’d known a few things on Day 1.
1. There’s a lot of work to off-the-grid living. I learned it’s important to not only be cognizant of how much power and water you use, but also when you use it.
2. When working with horses, a good source of quality hay is so important. It’s difficult to find in New Mexico.
3. Hackamores are a great alternative to a bridle for both horses and riders. My horse wasn’t doing well with a bridle, so I decided to try a hackamore—a type of bitless bridle—and it made a huge difference. We switched our entire herd over to them.
4. I am not a horseshoer. We thought we would do our own shoeing to save money, but we learned that a good farrier is worth every penny.
5. Yoga is a great way to refresh both physically and mentally for ranchers who live life in the saddle.