Our family loves horses and any family travel that gets us out to enjoy beautiful scenery in good company of each other. It’s no secret we are a farming family; we even had a couple horses awhile back. What you may not know is that we weren’t prepared for their training needs and they were appropriately re-homed. We still love horses and no matter the destination, we look for a realistic one-on-one experiences with these beautiful creatures, like the incomparable Cowboy experience, Cattle Drive 101, at the Historic Reesor Ranch located in the Cypress Hills area.
When we arrived I was immediately struck with the beauty of the ranch and the reality that the connection to our smartphones would just have to be left behind. Surprisingly my tween and teen girls were completely okay with the unplugged idea and excited about the firsthand ranch life experience. Met by three young ladies, one only a few years older than my girls, my daughters were amazed at how they handled the horses with attentiveness; it was described as if they knew what the horses might be thinking. These ladies were the real deal, cowgirls through and through.
Being livestock farmers ourselves, our family is comfortable around large animals; the girls were eager to ride but getting to know their horses was a priority before heading out onto the pasture in search of the cattle. I’m pretty certain the horses appreciated a good brushing; for a moment I thought Squeakers horse might fall asleep.
The Cattle Drive experience wasn’t meant for little ones and although Baby Girl was sad, with promises of a little ride once they came back by one of the thoughtful guides, we watched as Hubs and the girls finished grooming, saddled up their horses for the ride and trotted off into the horizon just as a brief rain storm rolled in.
Lucky for us, we were generously offered a tour of the property while we waited for the rest of the family to return from the cattle drive. I had no idea how beautiful the ranch truly was until I had the chance to investigate the accommodations and grounds thoroughly. We began with the Old Log Barn, including the main hall, kitchen and dining area, a games room and entertainment lounge, loft bedroom accommodations, single bedroom accommodations with access from the outdoors and a large open yard from campfires, outdoors games and entertainment. Everywhere we looked, down to the smallest detail was decorated in historic ranch style decor and furnishings. The woodwork alone was impeccably beautiful, something the folks at Reesor Ranch should be proud of.
The Old Log Barn can be rented year-round for small to large bookings, including weddings, family reunions or just for a unique rustic experience engulfed in beauty.
At the main house a quaint Bed and Breakfast resides, rich in family history and antique decor, some dating back to original times. As I entered the front door, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the original woodwork of the banister. Looking left to right, my eyes took in all the rich colours and I was overcome with a feeling I had stepped back in time. The family resides in half of the house where the guests have access to their own bedrooms, bathroom, living area; kitchen and dining rooms. Each room was more enticing than the last but perhaps the sweetest area I noticed was the small den at the front of the house which had been converted into a small gift shop.
Baby Girl made a few friends along our travels around the ranch and was quite enthralled by the smell of the tiny little yellow flowers called the Pineapple Weed. It’s the little things that become big memories, a smell or glimmer of a visual will send you back to that day in your memory.
My personal favourite were the secluded cabins, specifically the Bunkhouse. Originally built to house hired hands and other farm related services from the 1900’s, it now offers a Romantic retreat for honeymooner’s or a smaller group of 6. These cabins are decked out with modern amenities, including toilet and jacuzzi tubs. If you are looking for an even more rustic experience, Reesor Ranch has a secluded cabin about a ten minute walk from the main buildings and all are nestled among the trees where starry night skies can be seen for miles. Escape from all the city chaos and unplug from the world for awhile and de-stress. The thought of that experience gives me a much needed moment of serenity.
Cattle Drive 101
After my families return, I was able to retrieve pictures and gage their thoughts on the experience. This experience is nothing in comparison to a regular trail ride; if you are looking for a true cowboy experience, this is it. The scenery speaks for itself and began as soon as they started off from the ranch. These are not horses that simply follow a path and that’s it; it takes some knowledge and training from the experienced staff before heading out and you guide your horse along.
This image is at the top of the valley where you can easily spot the cattle off in the distance; this is where the hard work began. With guidance from the staff, the girls and my husband helped to strategically round up the cattle to help cow and calf bond. I can barely handle the cuteness of the calves. I offered to stay back with Baby Ro because 1) Hubs had always wanted to go on a true cattle drive, 2) Apparently it’s frowned upon to take a baby on a horse. I was tempted but that responsible parent thing kept nagging at me; 3) There was a waiver they had to sign; this is not an experience for young kids but they do offer other things to do for children.
The cattle drive was about a 4 hour true cowhand experience, snack included. My girls had been on horses before, had gone on several trail rides but both said this was a much more realistic and hands on experience with these beautiful animals. To experience first hand what a day in the life of a cattle rancher does is something anything simulated would fail in comparison. All came back beaming with smiles from ear to ear and that speaks for itself.
As promised one of the staff took Baby Girl for a little ride on her horse when they got back; she waited so long for this. Baby Girl affectionally named her the Cow Princess; this, for that moment, was her “best day ever”.
To see other pictures of our family experience at the Historic Reesor Ranch at Cypress Hills and area, follow me along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and follow the fine folks at Historic Reesor Ranch on Twitter and Facebook.
To find out more information about the area, go to the Cypress Hills Destination website and follow along #TimetoExplore on their Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Disclosure: I was provided a Cattle Drive experience in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. All images are copyright Stacey Martin of This Lil Piglet.