Working Conditions In a Nutshell

According to a long-term ranch employee, a typical Dude Ranch Day might go something like this. Ask yourself after reading: Am I a good fit?

“We don’t punch a time clock, and we don’t have a ‘time clock’ attitude, but we do keep time logs to help us keep our private lives and our work lives separate.”

“We work long days and take breaks when we can. Most days most people take a few hours off in the afternoon. Some days we don’t do much of anything, and some days we never sit down. his is an issue that we discuss regularly, as it can be confusing to both live here and work here. We often have to counsel younger staff about drawing a line between their personal life and their work life.”

Guest Ranch Employees Riding Horses

“Also, sometimes it’s hard to tell when you are working and when you are on a break! (If you are sitting on the front porch, drinking a beer, and a guest is telling you about a college scholarship at his school that you may qualify for, is this work or break?”

“Off ranch activities are very limited, therefore staff members usually spend the evenings around the ranch visiting with the guests and other staff members. Is this work or free time? This is both good and bad – it means that you are not necessarily being stressed out by your job – but at the same time, if you never get away, you can get burned out (overdosed).”

Typical Barn Worker Schedule

  • 6:00am one or two wranglers are up and out to feed horses (and chickens and goats and cats and whatever), generally a couple more are up and showering
  • 6:30am horses fed and everyone is moseying around
  • 7:00 am to the kitchen for coffee, set tables, one or two may be assigned to help cooks
  • 8:00am serve breakfast, eat with and entertain (and be entertained by) guests
  • 8:30am clear tables, stack dishes and to the barn to pull horses, tack and arrange riding groups with barn boss
  • 10:00am morning rides out!
  • 12:00pm, stop in forest, meet cooks for lunch; wranglers, guests and dogs all nap…
  • 1:30 return to barn. Two wranglers assist rock climbing instructors, two wranglers teach private riding lessons, two wranglers help farrier.
  • 4:30 two wranglers take a group of guests to rifle range or trap range, one wrangler teaches tomahawk throwing, two wranglers feed horses
  • 5:30 wash up, two wranglers report to kitchen to help cooks, others set tables, serve appetizers and visit with guests on front porch
  • 6:00pm supper
  • 7:00pm clear dishes, two wranglers wash
  • 7:30 two wranglers lead kids on jackalope hunt

Typical Kitchen Staff Schedule

  • 6:30am cook #1 starts breakfast
  • 8:30am cook #1 starts baking
  • 10:00am cook #2 starts lunch and supper
  • 12:00pm – one takes lunch out to forest meeting place & feeds the hungry gang
  • 2:00pm cook #1 quits for the day, and goes to get a riding lesson
  • 6:30pm cook #2 quits, leaving the dishes and kitchen clean up to assistant cook and wranglers on kitchen duty

Typical Housekeeper Schedule

  • 7:45am report to kitchen for coffee and help with last minute prep
  • 8:00am breakfast with guests
  • 8:30am wash dishes
  • 9:00am clean common areas (parlors, recreation room, etc.)
  • 10:00am clean guest rooms
  • 12:00pm lunch
  • 1:00pm finish cleaning guest rooms and/or laundry
  • 3:00pm break
  • 6:00pm supper
  • 7:00pm lead adult group hike


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