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Discover your inner cowboy (or cowgirl) at Three Bars Ranch

I have never had riding lessons so when I saw that we were going to be staying on a dude ranch for a few nights as part of a fly drive itinerary around British Columbia, I have to admit to feeling a little nervous.

ranch-holidays002 After a late night arrival we were up early for a delicious breakfast in the main lodge. We were issued with our cowboy boots before going to the corral and being introduced to our horses. They have over 100 horses on the ranch so there is one to suit all abilities. Mine was called Blink because he had a scar on his eyelid.

With a couple of wranglers to guide us, we headed up the mountain for a two hour trail ride. Blink and I were beginning to bond, I appreciated his need to snack along the way and he mine to get back to the ranch in one piece. The normal length of stay on the ranch is six nights and you keep the same horse the whole time so you have plenty of time to get to know them.

After a very tasty lunch it was our turn for a 4x4 ATV tour of the ranch. They are essentially 4 wheel drive golf buggies and it was brilliant fun speeding along bumpy, gravel tracks and splashing through puddles. It was very dusty and I would recommend closing your mouth when going through puddles!

ranch-holidays003We then swapped with the other group to try shotgun and rifle shooting. I'm right handed but can't close my left eye so I was told in order to use the sight properly I would have to shoot left handed. This was quite difficult as the shotgun was heavy and did kick back into your shoulder. I found the rifle shooting much easier. There are a wide range of activities to try including fishing, river rafting, hiking and mountain biking. The ranch also has an indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and small gym.

We only had time for a quick shower and change before dinner which was a BBQ. After dinner we had a roping lesson, I was hopeless as I kept laughing so much and only managed to catch myself! We had a drink with the wranglers at the bar and finished the evening off around the campfire before heading back to our log cabins for some well-earned rest.

The ranch is owned by the Beckley Family and they are great hosts. They welcome children of all ages but only those over 6 years can ride a horse. The ranch is only 15 minutes from Cranbrook Airport and they arrange transfers for you. It is approximately a 4 ½ hour drive from Calgary or Banff so you can easily incorporate a visit here if you are planning a fly-drive itinerary.

A ranch holiday, whilst quite expensive, is an amazing experience and will leave you with lasting memories. Tyler Beckley told us that almost every week they have guests in tears when it is time to leave. Having experienced his fabulous ranch for myself I can truly understand why.

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