Perhaps one of the least defined jobs of the guest or dude ranch lifestyle, the ranch hand is usually responsible for the real nitty gritty of daily operations. Generally answering to ranch manager or a barn foreman
What You Need
This is usually an entry level position and while experience with horses is essential, general handiness and a head for mechanics can also be invaluable to employers. Ranch hand duties can range from feeding and exercising the animals to educating ranch guests on proper horse care.
A firm understanding of horseflesh, a strong work ethic and an engaging personality are elements of a happy guest ranch hand.
This position often encompasses the roles of groom, handler and stall cleaner among others. Job description will vary based on specific laws of the area and rules of the ranch. In smaller facilities, the list of duties will be longer and more varied; while at larger ranches responsibilities will be far more specific. More so than ranch management, this is often a seasonal position and often training, room and board are included in the job.
Daily ranch maintenance
Keeping to feeding, cleaning and medication schedules
Working with ranch guests and their mounts
Provide educational supervision for an uneducated public
Supervise outings, demonstrations or clinics
Maintain animal vet and shoeing schedules
Care and feeding of various ranch livestock
Fence and barn maintenance
The requirements for this position will vary tremendously, as will requirements. As in the case of many entry level horse jobs, often experience is more important than formal education. However larger establishments may require a high school diploma, CPR certification and even some form of higher education.
A few places to start if you are interested in a career as a guest ranch hand.
*Link opens in a new window
Dude Ranchers Association
The Right Job For You?
If this isn’t your dream horse job, try using the search below to find it. You can also find more horse job descriptions on our careers page.