Love At First Sight

June 21st, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

Joanne brought a little friend with her during the visit to the ranch this summer, and Raffe fell in love with Emerson. Thanks to the girls for catching the moment!


Who’s the first guest for a Montana Dude Ranch Vacation?

May 31st, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

mama-baby1Well, the weather is fabulous. The crew is working hard. And the wranglers are riding and clearing the trails getting ready for you. As they went out for a ride, Lee and Val spotted our first guests right on the ranch! Can you see the baby? They’re living right at ranch by the corrals!

Meanwhile, what do a couple of cowgirls wear when they work at a Montana Guest Ranch?? Well, Erin and Katie thought it was time to support the local economy and see what they could find before they ride a couple of Montana Dude Horses! We love you guys, and all your FABULOUSNESS!!


Real Montana Cowboys

May 8th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

the-boys-roping-their-first-calfI know I haven’t been real good about adding to this blog. It is such a busy time for the ranch right now! Crew comes in this week and we’ve been working our tails off to get things rolling. It’s very exciting right now, but we’re working hard to make it the best Montana Dude Ranch Vacation ever! Jeremy and Darlene and company have officially moved on to the ranch. The Covered Wagon canvas has been cleaned and repaired and put back on the wagon. brayden-and-his-first-calf-ropedAnd Jerry has been busy getting the new laundry room and gift shop up and running.

Aside from all that, the boys are having fun, and love living on the ranch. They attended a Calf Roping session this past weekend, and Brayden was the first one to rope a calf, not to mention the first calf he ever roped :-) Way to go Brayden. Chase was in on the fun as well, and dad was definitely there to help. Looks like you’ll all get a chance to learn the real Montana way of life this summer at the ranch. More later,


Time For A Dude Ranch Vacation in Montana?

April 27th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

Well, crew, I’m trying to determine how many followers came with me as we transfer to our new blog site. It looks like the old site is gone. I posted something last week and none of you were informed about the post. So, I’m asking each of you to respond who received this message. You know, it’s true what they say: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I’m going to try!!

What I wanted to tell you was how crummy the weather is here. The Covered Wagon Ranch received 18 inches of NEW SNOW last week and up here in Bozeman we got half a foot. Now I ask you, is that any kind of climate for a guest ranch vacation??? I guess in Montana it is!

So here’s what the robins thought about our spring. And don’t forget to let me know if you received this post. If this works, I’ll be back in action and lots to report!

Thanks for staying with me! debi

Montana Spring

Another Addition To The Family!

April 5th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


We’ve added another gelding to the herd today-his name is Chief (previously Scout, but already have Scout in our herd and don’ think it’s fair to have two of the same name!). He’s a 3 year old gelding, a Bay Appaloosa with a White Blanket, and a real beauty. This season Jeremy will be starting a few colts for our guests as part of our entertainment, so we thought we would give him a challenge! Chief is very friendly, stands 15 hands and came from a private owner in Western Montana. His owner had him since a weanling and she said he was just too tall for her when he grew up! He’s getting used to life on Love Lane right now, and flirting with all the mares. Enjoy the photo and video, and tell me what you think! debi

Where’s Waldo

March 29th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


I know, I know, I haven’t been good about writing! It is really busy right now! We only have 1 1/2 months before crew comes in and we get ready to open on June 1st! It is way too exciting and there are so many fun things going on. However, the ranch just got a FOOT of snow today and it’s still snowing.

Meanwhile, NOT back at the ranch, Sarah (previous wrangler, current “cabin mate”, incredible fence mender, terrific friend and now traveling companion) and I, and my infamous Jack Russell TERROR called “Francois Pierre” or “Spud” as my husband loves to call him (!) are traveling around warm, sunny New Mexico for a few days. We took a road trip to help her move some things, and it’s been fantastic. We put over 1600 miles in the car in just two days. It’s a great 71 degrees down here. I’m not sure we’ll head back to Montana tomorrow with all that snow! So here’s how my little 13 year old puppy likes to travel in the car (but of course I can’t seem to figure out how to lay these pictures out properly…Sarah, where are you?????)So we head back north tomorrow and should be home by Wednesday. Do you think the snow will melt by then?


Spring Time in The Rockies

March 13th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

This is Sis

This is Sis

This is Lilly

This is Lilly

Ha! Here are some photos of Jeremy working our fillies the other day. They are both turning three this spring. Nice weather, huh? The very exciting news is that these two gals have just learned how to ride. It only took him an hour apiece to work them and be able to ride them. Amazing what a talent can do, isn’t it? Now if I can just learn to stay on somebody’s back-that would be amazing :-) Hope the rest of the country is enjoying the new flowers popping up! See you soon, Debi

The Weather In Montana

March 8th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


Since everybody asks us “what’s the weather like out there?” I thought I would pass along a quick shot of the ranch today. The temperature has been running in the 20′s during the day and down to single digits at night, and there’s quite a bit of snow! JT and Dave are working on the shop, putting in a new laundry room, a small apartment for Debi and JT, and a gift shop. More on that later. Enjoy the picture! brrrrr

Love Lane Photos

March 3rd, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


Since I couldn’t figure out how to successfully put all these pictures together, here are some photos of Love Lane as well!

Back In The Saddle Again!

March 3rd, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


Wow! I think I finally caught up with my paperwork (except, of course, filing my taxes!). I’m ready to rock and roll. But first, I promised Alan I would write a little about where the horses stay. It’s three locations: the Covered Wagon Ranch during our season, which is June through September,then on to winter pasture at Raspberry Butte Ranch, in Big Timber, and, for a select few, some stay at our home in Bozeman. Even though Satin, Oprah, Nina, Rebel, Alfie, Blue and Lido work as dude horses in the summer, we winter them at our home. They were personal horses before Jerry and I bought the ranch.

Raspberry Butte Ranch is where JT and I will eventually live, but it’s hard to give up our home in Bozeman at the moment. Besides, with real estate where it is, who would buy it anyway? In 2005 we built an indoor riding arena, which allows the horses to be worked during the winter. We usually have Jeremy work the younger horses or those that could use a little more “saddle time” as they get started. Once the season is over, Jeremy and Darlene live in the ranch house that’s on the property, and JT and I keep a small apartment in the arena, as we travel back and forth from Bozeman. Our home in Bozeman is about an hour from the CWR. Raspberry Butte Ranch in 1 and 1/2 hours from Bozeman to the north east, and is 2 and 1/2 hours from CWR.

When the horses are at the Covered Wagon Ranch, we have limited corral space. You may or may not know this, but we don’t own the land down the canyon. The Covered Wagon is on leased land from the Forest Service, and it only sits on 18 acres. For those horses that are not being worked that week, we put them up on the 2000 acre grazing permit we have with the Forest Service, which starts up the hill behind the ranch. That’s why we wrangle them up the mountain on Saturday night and bring the ones we need back down on Monday morning.

So, that’s how we keep our horses. Make sense, Alan?? :-)

A Little About Myself

February 22nd, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

I was supposed to be a boy in my family. I came from a mother who was Polish, and her family had 18 children in it. That’s not a misprint. My father was second generation Italian. He really wanted a boy. First child was a girl. Having high hopes for their second child, unfortunately I turned out to be female and was dubbed with a middle name of Victoria. My fathers name was Victor. Do we get the picture? Last child was another girl, but since he was so disappointed with two girls already, it was no big deal. I was supposed to be a boy. I was my father’s son.

I was supposed to have children, and I couldn’t. Which is probably why I have so many animals. All the kids I couldn’t have. So what this meant for this strong Italian father was that it was the end of the Naccarto name. Forever. So, since I was supposed to be a boy, I decided, on my own, that I would retain the family name and carry it on forever. Except I couldn’t have children. It was the end of the Naccarto name.

I was supposed to be on vacation. We left last Tuesday, for two weeks in Belize. Warm sun. R&R before we head back and start our annual trek to open the ranch this summer. Except the minute I walked into the condo, I received a call from my sister to tell me my Dad just passed away. I left the following day to attend to family business and my father’s funeral.

Why do I write all this? Probably just a very reflective mood about my life. Just wanted to let you all know that I didn’t forget all of you and there was a good reason why I wasn’t writing on the blog. This experience reminds me of the ranch. There are trails that you take that lead you to one final destination, and others that can take you all around the country. You never know where the trail is going to take you, and you rely on your guide to lead you through it. Isn’t that a lot like life? Have you ever thought about that? It is also said that if you fall off the horse you have to immediately get back on, and keep on going. Just to let you know that I’m back in the saddle and ready to ride again. Thanks for listening,

Sheep Wagons

February 15th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

astridssheepwagonI found this neat blog the other day and it gave a blog on the history of the sheepwagon. For those of you who were at the ranch this past summer, you saw two of these wagons on the ranch. We added them for crew quarters. The one pictured here is historic and restored by Anvil Ironworks in Livingston (aka Astrid’s Wagon) and the other is a replica. If you want to learn how these wagons were created, it’s a fascinating story this woman put together. She writes about the romance of the West. Pretty cool!

Happy St. Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

dscn0149001And speaking of Saint’s, meet our new horse “Saint”, that we just purchased today from the Bozeman Winter Fest. He’s a Registered Paint, named Yellowstone Saint, and is a 9 year old Chestnut Overo Gelding. Here’s what they said about him: Saint is good looking a nice ride! He’s logged many miles on the trail and has been used as a pony horse for young colts. Super nice soft lope and trot that you can ride all day. Stands 15.3 hands with correct conformation and nice, big feet. Really carries himself well in the arena also. Loves people and is loaded with personality.”

JT and I watched him ride in the arena and he did really well. His transition from a lope to a walk was very gentle. He was the kind of horse that people came up to and just pet him in the stall. We’re very excited to welcome him to the Covered Wagon Ranch!

A Special Request From Alan C.

February 11th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


oprahonfullmoon003Now that’s a cowboy, right there!! Alan visited the ranch this fall and has become a very special friend to me. It’s funny how those relationships develop at the ranch, isn’t it? He fell in love when he was at the Covered Wagon, and this is a picture of the love of his life!

I ran into some very hard times over Christmas when I thought my dad was going to pass away. For some unknown Divine Intervention, Alan and I started emailing each other. It turns out that he was in a very similar situation as myself at one point in his life, and he offered some incredible words of advice. It was through his guidance that helped me move through this crisis, and by the way, Dad is doing fine now.

Alan shared how much he enjoyed the ranch, but also how much he loved our horses and the rides. You guessed it – Oprah was his trusty steed!

Now for the Special Request. In my next blog, Alan wants me to explain all the different locations I talk about: the CWR, Raspberry Butte Ranch and Love Lane. Til next time, Alan, and thank you for being such a great friend! I just wanted to make sure I gave you credit for the next idea for the blog!


A Horse In The House????

February 6th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

Jeremy and Darlene had taken our 3 fillies (Lilly, Sis and Roxie) up to Raspberry Butte to start their training. Lilly and Sis are both “coming 3 year olds” and Roxie is 2, so it’s time to go to school. They had them in a corral made with electric fence, but the “3 Musketeers” figured they needed to get out and explore their surroundings. When the Young family woke up, here is what they found!

lillyatwindow2 lillyatwindow

I guess Lilly was thinking it was better to get inside the house instead of outside! Or was she just “taking time to smell the roses??” We’ll have more on their schooling in a few days. It was very exciting and they were all such great students (of course, they had an incredible teacher!!!)


Cooper the Llama

January 31st, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


Now I bet you are wondering why I have a picture of a llama on our site! Well, let me introduce Cooper, a packing llama for Yellowstone Safari Company. This group takes people into Yellowstone and pack in supplies with their llamas. This past summer we got an emergency call from the group, stating that Cooper was badly injured in the back country and they needed help in getting him out. He had broken a leg, which is not a very good situation. So, we grabbed a couple of wranglers and a few good horses and headed into the Park to find Cooper. This was how we got their vet to the scene of the crime. They wound up splinting the Cooper and helped him limp out of the Park and into the trailer to the vets.


Well, it took two surgeries, lots of care, and I’m sure a lot of vet bills, but we just got word from Yellowstone Safari that Cooper is Back!! Now that’s a happy ending and another exciting adventure at the Covered Wagon Ranch!!


Dude Ranchers Association Convention

January 25th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

Well, my apologies for being so late on the blog. JT and I have been traveling since January 18th. We hooked up “Homer the Hauler” to our fifth wheel and hit the road, ultimately reaching Tucson and attending the Dude Rancher’s Association Convention. Before we got to Tucson, we stopped off to see the Grand Canyon (quite spectacular), the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, and down through Pinetop up and down a quite spectacular canyon that turned out to be a nail biter for me (but we all know what a scaredy cat I am!).

We got to Tucson this past Tuesday, and pulled into this RV Park that JT picked out because it was close to the Tanque Verde Ranch where the convention was held. Well, thank you Jerry, as the RV Park was for Seniors Only, which they define as 55 and older. I told him I was the baby here!! Is this what I have to look forward to??? :-) We are traveling with the infamous “Francois Pierre”, my 13 year old Jack Russell and JT’s least favorite friend!

The Convention was awesome, as well as the ranch. Although, I must admit, I’m not too interested in riding in the desert and worrying if I fall off my horse that I would get stuck on a cactus! These big tall cactii called Saguaro’s are amazing. They don’t start flowering until they are 50 years old, and don’t branch out until they are 75!! Now they would qualify to stay in that RV Park, wouldn’t they?

We learned so much at this meeting. We both took the Wrangler Certification and Horse Safety Course, and have so much to tell Jeremy and Darlene when we return! They will love this information. Lots of fun vendors, and some fun new ideas we’ll bring back to the ranch this summer. Also, JT was elected as a Board Member for the Montana District for the DRA, and that was very exciting.

We’re currently in Wickenburg, Arizona, as the meeting ended today, and on our way to Vegas. Look out slot machines! We plan to be back in Bozeman on Thursday night, so more later. Any bets???


A Winter Day At the Ranch

January 13th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto

moose moose3 moose4

Well, it was quite the day at the ranch! Jeremy, Darlene, Brayden and Chase decided to make a visit and check things out and were surprised by two trespassers at the ranch. When they first pulled up, this big old bull was hanging out by the playhouse just to the left of the lodge! They watched him from the steps of the lodge and thought they were done, when all of a sudden a second moose appeared at the ranch! Both of these characters didn’t seem too frightened to see the Young family, so they just stayed there and decided to bed down right around Cabin 10. (the moose, that is!) Considering the snow was up to their knees, the Young family decided to stay close and do what they needed to do then leave the ranch! The moose (or do you say meese???!!) just stayed and watched them. Pretty funny! That’s all for now,


New Year’s Day for the Horses

January 1st, 2009 by Debi Naccarto


I’m not thinking they’re having as much fun as we are on New Year’s Day. Yikes! Look at the snow on their back and how well they insulate themselves. As long as these horses have access to water, forage, minerals and cover (which they have all of the above), then they are better off being outside grazing as opposed to inside a barn. They are choosing to hang out and graze, instead of running down in the coulee away from the weather. Amazing, isn’t it?


Happy New Year 2009!!!

December 31st, 2008 by Debi Naccarto

snowfortbuildingjeremy snowfortbuildingkids snowtracks

Well, another year is about to embark upon us, and we’re really looking forward to it. We wish you happiness, love and success in the year to come. “Things will be fine in 2009″

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Raspberry Butte, that is, the snow and the wind is giving Jeremy and Darlene and the little ones much havoc. Although the snow isn’t deep, the wind blows up to 50 mph and keeps drifting them in! Meanwhile, the horses are smart enough to know to keep themselves huddled up in the coulee’s where the wind won’t get them. (see their tracks in the snow?) The Young family don’t have that option. Not to get them down, they take advantage of the snow and have found ways to have fun! That’s one way to shovel the driveway!!

Be careful tonight and please don’t drink and drive. More importantly, watch out for everyone else on the road. If you can stay home, that would be safest. Until next year………….


Merrry Christmas and Happy Holidays

December 25th, 2008 by Debi Naccarto

oprahonfullmoon003 dscn0082003

Holy Bethlehem! I forgot to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! It’s not too late. It’s 3:30 pm MT and I’m getting ready to cook dinner for JT and his boys. Alaskan King Crab, Red Potatoes, and Fresh Green Beans. And don’t forget the home made biscuits. Wanna come?

We have a White Christmas! It snowed most of the week and we have about a foot of snow on the ground. The horses were “horsen’ around” the other day That’s Rebel and Alfie goofing off in the snow. They feel their oats when the wind blows and it snows, and run all around the pasture. Then JT fed them the other day with the large round bales. Oprah just couldn’t get enough! (see above. I couldn’t get the picture just right)I think I’ll end for now. I thought I was going to be a lot more creative, but my computer skills are limited. Happy Holidays everyone,

debi and jt

We’ve been accepted to the National Dude Rancher’s Association

November 23rd, 2008 by Debi Naccarto

Happy Thanksgiving to our Ranch Family and Friends!
We hope this holiday season is a great one for all of you. The horses are happy to be home to winter pasture and are resting comfortably.

The Covered Wagon Ranch is proud to announce that we have been officially accepted to the National Dude Rancher’s Association . This was not an easy task!

First, we had to submit a lengthy application detailing all that we do and what we provide. After that binder was accepted, J.T. and I had to attend the National Dude Rancher’s Convention in Cody, WY last February, and present to their Board of Directors. After our presentation, we were then asked a series of questions about our ranch and operation. We then passed that test, and awaited a site visit this past summer from the Association, and we passed with flying colors. Still not official, we had to wait for the Board of Directors Meeting in October, where they voted us in. We are very proud to be a member of this outstanding organization.

Here is an excerpt from their home page:
Imagine yourself taking the best vacation of your life at a dude ranch. The cool, fresh mountain air, the open spaces, the feel of a steady horse beneath you as you top the next rise… the flash of color from the dark pool as the monster trout rises to your offering…luxuriating in the warmth of the setting sun as you wait for the dinner bell’s call … shared time with family and friends.We now have over 100 members in The Dude Ranchers’ Association, which was formed in 1926 to preserve this special way of life and the wonderful environment in which it takes place. Membership in the Association is not automatic. Dude ranches applying for membership go through a rigorous two year inspection and approval process. When you vacation at a Dude Ranchers’ Association Dude Ranch, you can be sure of a quality vacation.

You will now notice that we have proudly placed their link on our home page. Jerry and I are off to Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona this winter for their National Convention. Here we get an opportunity to network with all dude ranches in the Western United States and learn all kinds of wonderful ideas on dude ranching! We can’t wait for this trip!

That’s all for now, and again, wishing you a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving,
Debi and J.T.

Happy Trails

October 18th, 2008 by Debi Naccarto

Just a quick note to let you know that our blog will be back up and running this season. Sorry for the delay. We had a great season this year and had the pleasure to hear stories from around the world, including Thailand, Italy, Belgium, France, Ireland, Germany, and of course, the U.K.

Half of our horses are already on vacation up on Raspberry Butte. Sarah was just up there today and said they healthy, fat and sassy! The other half are still working for Kurt and Rebecca in hunting camp and will join their family on November 16th. We’re looking forward to giving all of them a well needed rest, as they worked very hard this year.

Lots of new things on the horizon this year. We’ll keep you posted. Thanks to all of you for staying with us and making this the best season ever,

Debi and J.T.

A Working Ranch

August 31st, 2007 by Debi Naccarto

When you are a guest for the first time here at the Covered Wagon Ranch, we do our best to treat you like royalty.

After that, you are no longer a guest but a friend. And friends help each other out. So we put you to work and you’re lucky if you get so much as a door opened for you.

For example, early this year, we needed some flowers planted. So we put Judith, a long time friend of the Covered Wagon, right on it.

She and her husband, Ken, did a wonderful job, and the flowers still look amazing. I took these pictures just half an hour ago.




They are on the porch of the lodge, on the patio and on the porches of all the cabins. They are gorgeous.

Thank you Judith and Ken. We love you!

Lunch on the Trail

August 30th, 2007 by Debi Naccarto

Covered Wagon Ranch lunches are laid back. Actually, I think that makes it sound like more work than it is.

We all get off our horses, and let them go graze.

Some of us eat our lunch, some of us take pictures. But most of us take a nap.


Or we sleep.


And while we are sleeping, the horses are grazing.

Now, I know that I haven’t put a video up here before, but all you should need to do is press play. Let me know if it doesn’t work. I might try and do something about it.