Archive for the ‘Affordable Family Vacations’ Category

Monday, January 30th, 2017

DSC_3941If you have come down to the ranch to zip-line, hike or climb you may have noticed that there are only a handful of horses roaming around the property.  You might be wondering where the other 50 of them went.  To answer that question, they are on vacation.  Every year when we finish up our guest ranch season we start loading up the horse trailer and hauling the out to their winter pasture where they just relax and graze.  




Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Arena Ride

2015 was an exciting year for Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.  We have had a marriage, travel, an engagement, a new Hoover baby and even a successful back surgery.  Not to mention, the joy of seeing returned guests and getting to know the new ones. It’s always bittersweet at the end of the season watching staff go and taking the horses out to winter pasture but we love to see our employees have success in their endeavors and look forward to seeing the ones that return for another year in the spring.

Adventure guide Morgan & Wrangler Tember got engaged.

Adventure guide Morgan & Wrangler Tember got engaged.

Wrangler Scott and Jennifer welcomed Boone Howard Hoover to their crew.

Wrangler Scott and Jennifer welcomed Boone Howard Hoover to their crew.

Wrangler Emmi Lou got married.

Wrangler Emmi Lou got married.

Adventure guide Tucker got his back fixed.

Adventure guide Tucker got his back fixed.

Wrangler Cameron returned from his two year LDS mission in France. So with the family complete the entire Johnson Crew went to Thailand on vacation.

Wrangler Cameron returned from his two year LDS mission in France, so with the family complete the entire Johnson Crew went to Thailand on vacation.

2016 brings a new chef, Levi Hill. He is a super guy and an amazing talent in the kitchen.  He is very enthusiastic about sharing his wonderful dishes with you.

Levi and his lovely family.

Levi and his lovely family.

The Lodge is undergoing a pretty extensive remodel, a new kitchen, new roof and all the logs replaced.  It’s a lot of work, but it will be beautiful and we can’t wait to for you all to see it when it is finished. It will now match our remodeled pool area we did last May.

HCR lodge getting a face lift.

HCR lodge getting a face lift.

The process of purchasing some new trail horses is an annual event during January and February. We have been fortunate to come across some pretty neat new prospects. Hopefully they will all work out and be added to our trail string sometime this year. At the end of last season we retired good old Buster, who was 28 years old and gave him to a very happy 5 year old cowboy. We will miss the old man, he leaves a big saddle to be filled.

Good ol Buster.

Good ol Buster.

Horses enjoying some r & r on winter pasture.

Horses enjoying some R & R on winter pasture.

We are truly blessed to do what we do and we are grateful for the people we work with and come in contact with. We are appreciative of you and your families that make our jobs so rewarding.  We are continuing to learn and grow in the wonderful world of family outdoor recreation and we hope you join us for what is going to be an awesome 2016!

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015


The fall foliage is on it’s way and the Ozark region is one of the best places to take in the magnificent color.  With the cooler temps and changing leaves autumn can be one of the best times to experience Horseshoe Canyon.  Horseback riding, cook-outs, riding the zip-line and rock climbing are an example of what you can do doing your stay.  Give Jaime a call and make your reservation. 1-800-480-9635

Peek color happens near the end of Oct - the 1st part of Nov.

Peek color happens near the end of Oct – the 1st part of Nov.







Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

With our 2014 season coming to an end we have hauled all but a few horses to winter pasture for some well deserved r & r.  Shoes off and an abundance of green grass, what more could a horse ask for on their winter break?

Timon enjoying  all that grass.

Timon enjoying all that grass.


Yellow Snow.

Yellow Snow.

Sling Blade exploring his new surroundings.

Sling Blade exploring his new surroundings.



Thursday, September 4th, 2014

We would like to thank all of our guests that came and shared the ranch with us for our 2014 summer season.  We had great summer meeting new families and reuniting with return guests.  We can hardly believe that summer is all ready over.  If you missed out, no worries, our fall  guest ranch season is fast approaching.  October is a wonderful time to come and enjoy the cooler temps and enjoy our autumn colors.  Give us a call today and book, it’s never to early!  800-480-9635

Fall colors

Sunday, August 25th, 2013


From left to right: Scott, Bryan, Shannon, Emily, Cameron and Chadwich

From left to right: Scott, Bryan, Shannon, Emily, Cameron and Chadwick

The summer season has come to a close and with that, it’s time to say goodbye to some of our wranglers who are headed back to the “real world”.  Tember (left earlier in the season), Bryan, Shannon, Emily and Chadwick all headed off to college. We would like to give them a big THANK YOU for their great attitudes and hard work.  Some days they would be up before the sun and going to bed way after it had set but always had a smile on their face.  We hope you all have a great school year and will return to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch for the 2014 season, if we could only be so lucky.

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Wranglers

One of the wranglers job is fitting the rider to a horse.

One of the wranglers job is fitting the rider to a horse.

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Wranglers

Being a wrangler sometimes is more than just trail riding.

Being a wrangler sometimes is more than just trail riding.

They are there to help with a smile.

Wait? What?  Sleeping on the job.  :)

Wait? What? Sleeping on the job. 🙂

Horseshoe Canyon Guest Ranch Wranglers

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Wranglers

Bryan riding Phred and getting him ready to be put in the dude string.

Bryan riding Phred and getting him ready to be put in the dude string.

Horseshoe Canyon Dude Ranch Wranglers

Wranglers at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Watching Scott work a new horse in the round pen.

Watching Scott work a new horse in the round pen.

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Wranglers

Tember guiding a ride to a cookout.

Tember guiding a ride to a cookout.

Being able to swing up on a horse is not a requirement, but it's fun to try.

Being able to swing up on a horse is not a requirement, but it’s fun to try.

Everyday the wranglers saddle and unsaddle between 15 to 40 head of horses.

Everyday the wranglers saddle and unsaddle between 15 to 40 head of horses.

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Wranglers


Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Dude Ranch

HAPPY TRAILS! And best of luck you you all in your next adventure.

HAPPY TRAILS! And best of luck you you all in your next adventure.




Wednesday, February 6th, 2013


Afternoon Trail Ride

A ranch vacation is the perfect treat for all the family this year, so if you were thinking of entertaining your young ones with a trip to Disneyland in 2013 you may want to reconsider. Here’s what makes a trip to a ranch so very special.

Come and experience all the thrills of a ranching holiday this year and you’ll wonder why you didn’t go sooner. Choose from a Luxury Dude ranch, a Working ranch or a Family ranch and indulge yourself in the numerous opportunities a ranch vacation has to offer. Many families are fooled into thinking that a trip to Disneyland is the best option for their children but if you consider the pros and cons below, no doubt you’ll agree a ranch has everything to offer each family member and it’s a much healthier choice for everyone, too.

Value for money

A week’s trip to Disneyland will set you back in the region of $1,900 per person including flight, hotel accommodation and park entry. Be warned that hotels vary in standard and with so many guests being catered for, hygiene can be far from acceptable. As well as your initial holiday cost, you’ll need plenty of spending money because Disneyland is one big shopping temptation for children, and the array of fast food on offer doesn’t come cheap either.

While a ranching holiday will cost you that bit more (in the region of $300 per night, although this can vary greatly depending on the ranch and time of year), you will most certainly get what you pay for. The initial cost of your trip usually covers everything, so once you’ve paid you can relax without worrying about any hidden extra costs.The activities available at ranches are endless, so shop around to see what suits you best. For adults, there’s riding, of course, white water rafting and other water sports, fishing, golf, spas, tennis, yoga, mountain biking, climbing and much more. Younger travellers can take advantage of the children’s programs on offer – supervised activities which allow children to immerse themselves in the day to day running of ranch life or learn how to care for a pony days and weeks, too.

Healthy holidays

While Disneyland provides plenty of entertainment for children, it’s difficult to eat well. Pizza, burgers, chips and other fast food is widely available, but there’s a severe lack of fresh, healthy food on offer and when you do order, the cost is exorbitant. Then there’s the ride queuing time to consider (often more than an hour). With so much time standing around, children can easily become bored and a lack of exercise (combined with all those e numbers) can leave them hyperactive even at the end of a long day. Disneyland is packed out during the holiday season, so expect long lines, poor air quality and substandard restroom facilities.

If there’s one thing a ranch can promise it’s top quality food. Much of the produce is sourced on the ranch and the food will be fresh, tasty and healthy. With so much to do, the whole family can benefit from plenty of exercise if they wish and all the fresh air and outdoor activities will leave children waiting for their beds at the end of the day. For adults seeking a more relaxing vacation, choose a ranch where your children can get involved in the organised programs while you sit by the pool and enjoy a stress-free day in the open fresh air. Limited guests and so much open space will guarantee you a good night’s sleep and plenty of ‘you’ time.

Safety first

If you do opt for Disneyland then be sure to hang on to your little ones, because turn your back for a minute and they may be gone. Disneyland can be a stressful and rather scary place for parents, so be prepared for all the noise as parents shout to their children to stay close and not run off.

At a ranch, on the other hand, your children can run free in a safe environment – whether you’re with them or not. Whether it’s a Dude ranch with an organised children’s program or one that is simply family friendly, your young ones will be able to indulge in the ranch’s activities safely and securely. With so much space and so few people, they’ll be able to run to their heart’s content as they take in all that fresh air and finally experience true freedom – something that many children never get to do.

Stress or stress-free?

While Disney is a magical place, it’s most definitely not somewhere to go to relax and unwind. The crowds of people, long queues, screaming children and extra spending money all take their toll on parents, creating stress and worry. Bored children waiting in long queues are not always the best behaved, so prepare to contend with children having fits as they wait and wait – sometimes up to an hour and a half – for their ten minutes of fun.

Instead, why not tailor-make your holiday at a ranch so you can do exactly what you want, when you want? If you want to go horseback riding, you can. If you want to relax by the pool and leave your children supervised by a ranch professional, then go ahead. In fact, if you tell the ranch exactly what you want from your holiday, most will happily oblige. And if a particular ranch can’t cater for your needs, there will always be another one that can at

Learning curve

What better way to learn new experiences than in a fun way on holiday? Sadly, Disneyland may offer fun, but the only thing a family will learn on a trip is which rides to queue up for again and which to avoid. Meeting Disney’s characters – Mickey Mouse and the likes – is the best education your children will get on this vacation.

While a holiday is generally somewhere to escape from education, learning new skills in a fun way is something a ranch can promise anyone, no matter what age. Learn all about the life of a modern day cowboy and take part in real-life cattle drives. Or why not take advantage of a Natural Horsemanship clinic where you will learn to handle horses in a truly professional way? Your children will also learn about the basics of life and be submersed into positive values as well.

Weigh it up

So this year, try something a little different. A ranching vacation is the new Disneyland – a magical place offering a whole range of exciting activities without the stress of crowds and plastic food! In a nutshell…

Disneyland – crowds of people, stress, poor-quality food, extra spending money required, the worry of losing children, long queues for ten minutes of fun, substandard air quality, varied hotel standards, grubby restrooms.

Ranch – relaxation, rest, security, no hidden extras, no queues, a wide range of activities, healthy, home grown food, space, comfortable accommodation, good air quality.

You know it makes sense!

Personal Note: Jody Dahl took her three children (aged 3, 5 and 11) to Disneyland in 2012 and here’s her account of her trip. “We did have a very fun and magical time – but note, relaxing it’s NOT! In fact, when we left the place we all needed a vacation to get over it! We greatly enjoyed all the Disney characters and fun rides, but also had to withstand loads of fits, losing our youngest child (which happens all the time there). You can’t take your eye from your child for even a split second. The food was poor quality (keep in mind, I’m used to very quality ranch vacation fare) and the feeling of grime all around you as you touch anything, combined with droves of people, makes you feel like you’re on the great migration. Two days was more than enough!”


Friday, October 26th, 2012

Grab your scarf, pull out the leaf rake and put some hot water on the stove for a cup of hot chocolate.  Fall has arrived.  It’s that wonderful time of year when the air becomes crisp, the sky has a different hue of blue and the leaves change into the most beautiful colors.   We were a little worried about the Ozark color because of the dry summer season but low and behold mother nature still gave us a work of art.  A canvas of reds, oranges and yellows scattered across the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch valley.


Oct. 15 – The color is starting to really show.


October 20 – More color.


October 20 – One of my favorite ways to look at the fall colors is horseback.


October 20 – Fall means breeding season for the goats. This is one of our bucks (male) enjoying the fall sun with a doe (female).


October 24 – more change in the color.


October 24 – The horses after a day of work.


October 24 – A beautiful fall evening.


October 24


October 24 – The color on the hills makes me think of a big patchwork quilt.


October 25 – The day the color is predicted to peak.


October 25 – Peak day for color. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see the breakfast cookout riders.


Monday, August 27th, 2012

So you have thought to yourself, “Would a dude ranch be a good place to hold a family reunion?”.  And of course our answer would be “YES”!  A little bias maybe but here are the reasons we think you should consider it:

1. No planning.  Okay, you do have to plan when you want your reunion and how everyone is going to get here but after that it’s a snap.  The activities are all ready figured out.

Traditional dude ranch activity: Trail riding.

No so traditional dude ranch activity: High adventure – walking the cable bridge.

2. No cooking or meal plans to work out with one another.  That in itself if worth it’s weight in gold.  I say that because when we have had the Johnson Family reunion we all had to take turns making meals for the group.  If your group is large, that is not always easy.  We ended up making pizza by ordering on the phone.  Martha was not too thrilled.

Grandfather, son, grandsons and nephews.


3. There is something for everyone.  Horseback riding to rock climbing to canoeing to zip lines to just sitting on the porch enjoying a good book.  It is not uncommon when you get your family together that they all don’t like the same thing.  It’s okay, we have it covered.

Sisters with their granddaughters.

4.  Everything is included in one price.  Other than some souvenirs or snacks from our Trading Company there are no extra charges.

So if you have been wondering if this kind of vacation would make for a good family reunion, again we say “YES!”

Son and Father. It’s a great way to get reconnected with family.