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For some, a riding holiday can turn into a life-changing experience, as guest ranch vacation owner and Top50 founder, Jody Dahl reveals.

"So many people ask me why I founded Top50. Well there’s the obvious – I’m a businesswoman at heart and the website makes for great work in an industry I’m so passionate about! But the real satisfaction I get, the thing that makes those 18-hour days spent in front of my computer, is when guests who’ve stayed at one Top50 best ranch vacations tells us how much they’ve enjoyed their stay.

Of course, helping guests to choose their guest ranch vacation, dude ranch vacation, luxury dude ranch vacation or working ranch vacation and plan their trip is pretty satisfying, knowing we’re making their horseback riding holiday dreams a reality.

But when vacationers tell us how their riding holiday has not only met or even exceeded their expectations, but actually changed their lives – now that makes it all worthwhile. "Life changing, a vacation? You may laugh, but for some it’s true. I mean, we always get the holidaymakers who return every year because they’ve fallen in love with ranching so much.

But then there are some people whose perspective on life totally changes after visiting a ranch. Maybe it’s the wide open spaces, the feeling of complete freedom, going out to ride with a purpose instead of going round in circles in the arena... (pretty much everything we ranchers take for granted, really!)

After experiencing such a liberating way of life, for some people going back to their normal, everyday routine can seem not just difficult, but wrong. It’s like they realize what they’ve been missing out on all those years… what they were born to, where they’re supposed to be.

Take head wrangler at Runamuk Guest Ranch, Kate Matheson, for instance. Thirty-year-old Kate left behind her life in England and ‘dream job’, after spending a week at Runamuk, upping sticks to pursue the western way of life on a working ranch she realized she was made for. “What it really came down to was that I love this lifestyle – horses and riding – and the hospitality you experience on this type of horse riding holiday is unbelievable. I have travelled all over the world and have found no other getaway with this type of service and commitment to the visitor.”

Underneath it all, we probably all dream of doing something mad like emigrating to another country and leaving life as we know it behind. Of course, our heads (and our bank managers) would have us convinced it’s completely the wrong thing to do – we’ve got responsibilities, bills to pay, jobs to do, mortgage agreements to fulfill…

But sometimes it takes something as inspiring and life-changing as this type of riding holiday to make us change our minds and see that actually, it is possible to change our lives if we want it enough.

I’m not saying you should hand in your notice tomorrow, pack up your things and head for Heathrow Terminal 5 tomorrow for the nearest flight to Wyoming! But hey, you don’t know if that’s the life for you unless you test the water first.

And maybe it’s not for you – maybe a week’s break in dude ranch country is enough to blow out the cobwebs and leave you feeling refreshed for another year. But maybe – just maybe – you’re one of those people whose life will take a whole new direction after experiencing western cowboy culture.

And you don’t know ‘til you’ve tried it!

Well I hope that’s left you feeling inspired to spend this summer’s riding holiday at a ranch – but if I haven’t quite convinced you into our wonderful way of life, don’t forget to check back next month when I’ll be updating you on what’s been going on here at our own ranch in Montana! Trust me, there’s always something going on…"‘Til then!

Jody Dahl, Top50 Ranches

Jody Dahl is the founder of Top50 Ranches – the leading online resource for those looking for a western riding holiday. Jody and her team strive to showcase only the best ranch vacations, with the best riding, that the world has to offer. Whether you head to one of Top50's dude ranch vacations, guest ranch vacations, working ranch vacations we know you'll have a great time. Or book a riding holiday estancia Argentina trip or a horse riding holiday, either way Top50 can help you find that ideal ranch experience.

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