Guest ranch vacations remembered: Top50's Jody Dahl unveils the seven best blogs

BY Jody Dahl | Sat 27 Aug, 2011

Equestrian and travel bloggers are everywhere, but they don't come better than Nancy D. Brown, of Writing Horseback fame and Lodging Editor for uptake.com. Nancy recently tagged me in an internet game instigated by Tripbase. The concept is simple: introduce new readers of the Top50 Blog to older blog posts you may not be familiar with. The travel blogger selects seven blog posts from the past, then picks five more travel bloggers to participate in the game of tag.

Well Nancy, mission accepted - let the games begin!

Most Popular Horseback Riding Vacation Well according to the powers that be – aka Google Analytics – the most popular ranches featured in the Top50 Blog are Zapata Ranch in Colorado and The Hideout in Wyoming, where CondeNast’s travel writer Susan Hack took a trip last year. The best thing about this blog is Susan’s two totally different accounts of her visits – from her dramatic encounters with bison amidst thunder and lightning at ‘true grit’ guest ranch Zapata, to her very different experience of The Hideout’s cocktail hour and ‘perfectly groomed lawns’. I often return to this blog just to read Susan’s hilarious and self-deprecating account of her solo cow moving adventures!

Most Beautiful Horseback Riding Vacation All of Top50’s ranch vacations are beautiful in their own way, but the images that stand out most in my mind are those of Estancia Ranquilco, a working ranch in Neuquen, Argentina. Photographer Eddie Thornton took a trip to the estancia and wrote the most beautiful blog to accompany the exquisite photographs he took while packing in the Patagonian wilderness. Both his pictures and his words capture the spirit of the unique guest ranch vacation so perfectly. It’s a case of ‘see it, book it’.

Most Helpful Horseback Riding Advice “Don’t wear thong underwear!” This timeless piece of advice – as given in Top50 blog What Not to Wear on Your Dude Ranch Vacation –might not help your spins and rollbacks, but it’ll go a long way in ensuring your comfort for long days in the saddle on your horseback riding holiday. This might have been one of the very first blogs in Top50’s short history, but it still proves one of the most popular even today. I guess when it comes to guest ranch vacations, your butt is a very important consideration!

Most Controversial Horseback Riding Vacation Not exactly controversial, but some vacationers might be wary of crossing the border into Mexico for their guest ranch vacations. Luckily Los Banos Ranch, located in secure northeast Sonora, Mexico, sets the story straight in this reassuring blog about guest safety in the country. Turns out, it’s actually much safer than some parts of the US!

Surprised This Horseback Riding Post Was Successful OK, so this is definitely a fun blog and in that sense you can see why it’s so popular. But “Ladies that ranch: 10 reasons why girls should saddle up” is, in my opinion, a slightly illogical concept. I mean, what girl in their right mind needs a reason to go horseback riding on a dude ranch vacation? I certainly don’t need any excuse to climb in the saddle!

This Horseback Riding Vacation Deserves A Second Look Sometimes, when I get a spare 20 seconds in my schedule, I take a look at Triple Creek Ranch’s storefront and dream that I’m indulging in the luxury dude ranch’s five-star dining, full-service spa and sumptuous accommodations. I couldn’t resist posting this blog about the ranch’s winter sleigh rides, which I vow to take my children on one Christmas.

Most Proud of This Horseback Riding Vacation Well that’s an easy one, Runamuk Guest Ranch – because it’s mine! When I started the guest ranch eight years ago at mine and my husband’s working ranch, which has been in his family for five generations, I knew it was going to be tough – I just had no idea how tough! Luckily, I also didn’t realise how much pleasure it would bring me, which makes up for all that hard work 10 times over. And now I’ve got Top50 Ranches as well... I must be a glutton for punishment! I think this blog post shows just how passionate I am about ranching, and I hope it has, does and will inspire others to join us ranch owners on guest ranch vacations.

 

Five travel bloggers named to the Tripbase Challenge:

Beth Blair from The Spa Gals blog - I'm always checking in to their luxury ranch reviews

Horse&Rider (UK) Magazine - This is our favorite UK horse magazine and their blog is really fun. Top50's Mel Rutherford is an ex-staffer on the publication, so maybe we're slightly biased!

Jamie Oliver and his team of bloggers - I just adore the chef's 'Jamie's America' book/TV series, especially when he did the cowboy thing in Wyoming

Susie Blackmon - What can I say - love this gal!

Laura Mannering's World Out There - A totally comprehensive collection of quality travel blogs

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