January 1 may bring a new year, but it is still in the middle of winter—with a few more months of cold yet to come. Cabin fever can be a real issue this time of year, especially with the kids inside and not much to do in the neighborhood except build snowmen or have snowball battles. But there is another option: experience a guest ranch with children and try something new this winter.
Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is enough to bring a smile to even the grumpiest person’s face, and as a parent or grandparent to the children in your life, you likely love to see them happy and share their experiences anew. For kids who usually live in the city, a trip to a guest ranch can offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience—complete with horses, cattle, and real-life cowboys. The wonder in their eyes cannot be replicated by merely watching the action on a TV screen; they need to be where they can see, touch, and smell all of the excitement around them.
A guest ranch with children can be a wonderful escape for the whole family. No matter what level of familiarity your offspring have with the natural surroundings, they will find something to love. For young school-age children to older teenagers, a guest ranch offers limitless opportunities for fun and exploration. Beginners will get the basics of horsemanship and learn to respect these powerful, gentle animals by spending one-on-one time with a horse. Those more comfortable in the saddle can explore nearby trails, while novices will be given constant supervision as they gain their confidence. Time with a horse can inspire a lifelong love of nature. And watching children around the loving giants will show you why equine therapy is often used to help abused children come out of their shells and gain self-confidence.
If horses aren’t what make your children excited, there are all kinds of options on a guest ranch. A nature hike can expose them to flora, fauna, and critters indigenous to the area. Other outdoor activities include cross-country skiing, fishing, and snowmobiling. When looking for your perfect vacation destination, ask the ranch what programs they offer for the smaller set. Many provide supervised activities both inside and outside so parents have time to enjoy their own rides or just have a nice glass of locally harvested wine while lounging in the hot tub under the stars.