For many of us, the closest that we ever come to experiencing life on a ranch is through movies or books. Through these mediums, we get whisked away into a world of adventure, excitement, and cowboy hats. However, the only way to really appreciate all that a ranch has to offer is to actually visit one.
However, this type of vacation does have some potential dangers, so it is important to understand the safety precautions while still having fun.
Take Caution Around Animals
There are often more animals than people on ranches. Most of these animals are well accustomed to human interaction and will probably be a feature in your activities. Visitors will have plenty of opportunity to straddle horses and get a flavor of the Old West. You may also have the chance to get up close and personal with bulls or to chase chickens around.
Experienced staff will usually be on hand to ensure safe interactions between you and the animals, but animals are unpredictable and often react quickly. Be sure to pay close attention to safety briefings, which will include things such as how to approach certain animals, where not to stand when interacting with horses, and staying safe during animal-related activities.
Most of the activities on a ranch involve spending several hours at a time outdoors under the blazing hot sun. Aside from making sure that your skin is adequately protected with the appropriate sunscreen, you will also need to be aware of your body’s need for regular fluid intake.
It is easy to get carried away with the fun activities on a ranch. Several hours will quickly pass without you realizing your thirst. You may become dehydrated without even feeling thirsty. This is potentially hazardous to your health, so it is essential that you make a conscious effort to take in plenty of fluids at every opportunity and avoid dehydration.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
From hay rides and cattle driving to shooting and roping, the action can be pretty much non-stop on a ranch. There is also plenty of opportunity for relaxation. Some ranches have spas and massage areas; you won’t need much clothing in those areas. For most everything else, you will need to come prepared with some suitable, comfortable clothing.
Getting outfitted for a trip to a ranch is all part and parcel of the fun with this type of vacation. Men’s western workwear is a good place to start.
You will need to have the appropriate footwear; cowboy boots are not just for show.
Durable clothing is also key; there is a reason that most everyone on a ranch wears rugged jeans. Finally, make sure to have appropriate headwear, such as a cowboy hat, to help you see better and to shield your face from the elements.
Ensure You Are Suitably Trained for Activities
If you are visiting a ranch for the very first time, it is likely that the possible risks that you will encounter are unlike any that you have faced before. Activities can include things such as jumping into a ring with a temperamental bull, shooting high-powered rifles, or hitting the rapids in a small raft.
Before you dive in head first to these activities, make sure that you have the proper level of competency to keep yourself and others safe. This essentially means paying close attention to the training that you get and seeking clarification if you have questions about certain things.
Make Use of Safety Equipment
Your ranch of choice will likely provide you with equipment that will keep you safe and instructions for using it. It is important that you actually use the equipment, and in the correct manner. Do not attempt any activity without appropriate attire and equipment such as life jackets and boots. Be very careful around tractors, combines, or other pieces of equipment and machinery.
You should be prepared for lots of action and adventure on a ranch vacation. For the most part, you will not have to worry about safety because most ranches are well prepared with experienced staff members and safety procedures. However, just like any other type of vacation, it is important to be prepared, be sensible, be aware, and adhere to safety measures.