December 1st, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
In our dude ranch business, our horses are literally worth their weight in gold. They get ridden by all types of riders, including inexperienced riders wo are pulling, poking, flopping, and generally trying every way possible to get themselves hurt, mostly because they have never been to a Montana Dude Ranch before or taken a horseback ride. Yet, these honest amazing horses take excellent care of them. Eventually it becomes time to say goodbye to these great horses. This is a poem I read in the Big Timber Pioneer and applied it to Honey, whom we lost this year. But it just doesn’t apply to Honey. We all know and love Joe, Louis, Joker, Whiskey Jack to name a few and are doing just fine, and of course, Zach, whom we lost a year ago. These horses are those that guests could faint on. Literally bombproof. We call them “dude horses“, something cowboys often discredit like day-old chew, but “dude horses” are the unsung heroes of the equine world. They work hard day in and day out for a living, and they epitomize the heart and soul of goodness. This poem is a tribute to our horses out there carrying precious cargo up and down the trail every day.
“ODE TO MAX”
“It was the best two hundred dollars I ever spent, Brett said-
On the day we found out that at the trail head Max lay dead.
This two hundred dollar horse had definitely earned his keep
We all prayed to God that he passed on while in blissful sleep.
No purebred Quarter Horse, thoroughbred, nor paint was he
He was of mixed blood with no fancy papers nor pedigree.
He had never dragged a calf to a branding fire nor ran on a track.
But many a precious load he had hauled into the wild and back.
He was honest and kind and never even shied that I ever saw.
The greenest rider or the smallest child would be Max’s draw.
He hauled guests for a living up and down the wilderness trail.
He never moved a muscle when a client fainted over his tail.
He endured being bridled and cinched by well-intentioned rookies
Who offered him a reward of carrots, apples, and Oreo cookies.
Hauling overweight off balanced clients could drive a horse insane.
But even if Max could have spoken, he would never complain.
He hauled dudes and dudettes of every shape and size.
and they all fell in love with his thick mane and brown eyes.
He crossed many hills, mountains, and streams,
Helped fufill lots of hunter’s elk shooting dreams.
It’s hard to find a horse as honest as Max.
All the rider did was sit up there and relax.
So here’s to Max and the great dude horses who have gone before…
The trusty steeds who went to pasture but live in our hearts evermore.”
November 25th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
It’s a valid question, I suppose. After all, we are all allotted only so much vacation time in our lives, so why choose to spend some of it on a Dude Ranch Vacation?
Irresistable horse riding vacation
Those of us who spend part or all of each year working at a Guest Ranch know that there is nothing like it in the world; a bond forms among the crew; a unique relationship exists between the horses and those who work with them; a special rapport develops between the guests and staff.
Many of our guests return to our Guest Ranch year after year because they hunger for time in the wilderness – craving impossibly fresh air and dazzling skies. They need to stand thigh-deep in river waters with a fly rod in had. And they learn something about themselves and the world around them when they mount a horse day after day; I’ve heard it said that you may be able to hide from yourself, but you can’t hide the real you from a horse. I think it’s true.
A Horse Riding Vacation that leads you into Yellowstone National Park, the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, and the Gallatin and Madison Mountains leads you back in time. The pace is slower – travel takes time. It’s quieter. Your cell phone can’t find you here.
Finally, there is the land. The incredibly beautiful land.
Isn’t that reason enough for Dude Ranch Vacations?
November 8th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
And these women are DEFINITELY Crazy Women Riders!! We have Dawn and Linda seated in the front and Murph and Diane standing in the back row. These women were very creative and came up with the CWR nickname (I wish I had thought of that!!) and it only took me about an hour to realize that the Crazy Women Riders name was a spin off CWR. Duh. That week was so much fun and tons of riding. Jeremy and company took us out to see if we could hear the elk bugle, and on one particular day we had the thrill of a lifetime when he called in two huge bulls within 40 yards of where we were! A day that none of us will ever forget. And thanks to Janine for taking the picture of the bull via the belly of Spade as he was tied up to the tree!
How much fun is that??!! Cowgirl Week was such a huge success that we plan to have it every year during the last week of our season. This upcoming year we will have it from September 12-19, so Cowgirls, get your hats on and load up on Tim’s Fabulous Cookies! As you can see, Mary (on the right) our Honorary CWR Family Member, and Janine (on the left) the fabulous photo taker of the elk, are enjoying their snacks. ta ta folks!
October 10th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
So many people have asked me “what do you do with all that time off after a Montana Dude Ranch closes”?? Well, it’s pretty boring around here. JT goes off and hunts for days at a time, Jeremy and Darlene and company go back to Big Timber and look after the Montana Dude Horses, train new horses and ride, and I sit at my desk on the computer all day. Boring. Not to mention, it’s 15 degrees out there, snow on the ground and not much fun outside at the moment. So I went to the Hallmark Store to get some birthday cards for a friend-and I fell in love with these two little guys: Frick and Frack (thanks to my sister Rene’e for naming them!). Two dwarf African Frogs that live in their own little ecosystem. How cool is that?? Now they sit at my desk while I work at the computer and I get to watch them all day. Unfortunately, there is one design flaw…..they’re NOCTURNAL. Oh well. Guess I have to find something else
October 7th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
Lucky me! When Ken, Jackie, Kristine and Ashley came to visit us this year (all the way from Holland, I might add!!) they graciously surprised me with a pair of Dutch Shoes!! Now that the weather has turned to snow, I immediately donned the new garb to keep my feet very warm. Much appreciated guys!! To top it off, I asked Ken and Jackie to bring some pictures of Holland out to the ranch, as I would love to know what it looks like. Going overboard, they presented us with a beautiful coffee table book of Holland with tons of gorgeous pictures. Thank you so very much. I might add that Ken was the first person I chatted with on Skype. Hope to see you next year!
October 1st, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
The day they have been waiting for…..a trip to Raspberry Butte Ranch for a much needed vacation. Our boys and girls have worked hard this summer and deserve a much needed rest. We just about have everybody up to the ranch. Just one more trip and they are all together on good grass and wide open spaces. Check out our video on You Tube or Debi’s Facebook Change. The You Tube Video is under pets and animals and called Horses on Vacation. Let me know if you can’t find it!
September 26th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
What a great group of women! The week is over and the ranch is in the process of closing down. But it went out with a bang! The last week of our Montana Guest Ranch season was filled with Crazy Women Riders (yes, Dawn, I’ve stolen your caption!!). The weather was beautiful, the rides were long, and the fun was filled with laughter all week. Our first Annual Cowgirls Only Week was a huge success. Our Montana Dude Horses will never be the same!!
And as the season ends I return to my desk for the winter, although it is supposed to be 88 degrees here in Bozeman today, with a forecast for SNOW on Wednesday. Only in Montana LOL. More later…………..debi
September 6th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
Isn’t history wonderful? We are so grateful to the DeVore family, and especially Jennifer DeVore, for providing us some photographs of the ranch that started back in the 30’s! The DeVore family had been coming to the ranch for generations since the 1930’s. Here is a photo Jen provided that was taken at Cameron Springs (near the draw) . It’s a picture of Charles and Emma Cameron with grandchildren (including Cameron DeVore-Jen’s father).
From Jennifer’s Notes:
“I know that my father’s grandfather and great-uncles – Charles Cameron and Perry and Zade Morgan (brothers of Charles’s wife) had a cabin at Cameron Springs. They all lived in Bozeman, families there since around 1870s or so. The cabin burned down sometime in the 40s (???) and that’s when my dad’s family started coming to what they called Benson’s. my dad still has Morgan cousins who live in Bozeman and there are DeVores in Helena but most of the family moved away from Montana but kept coming to the Gallatin to stay at the CWR pretty much every year. My own family started coming in the 70s when Vic Benson was there (I think my dad called him Benny). There was a great guy named John Haynes (? ) who used to come and sing camp songs around the fire.”
Sadly, Jennifer’s father, Cameron DeVore, passed away this year, but Jen said the family is going to try and arrange a family reunion this year at the ranch. I think they would be pleased to see how well we have taken care of this ranch. Jen is going to forward an old Cowboy songbook she found, which was put together by her uncle, Charles DeVore (who also sadly passed away several years ago). Charles put the songbook together specifically for the Covered Wagon Ranch, and sure to be used around the campfire next summer!
Here’s some more photos Jennifer provided to us. It’s the ranch in the 1940’s. Jeremy thinks one of the horses there is “JOSEPH” hahahahaha
August 6th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
What an awesome group of people and what incredible guests we have! Here’s what Jill, from Pennsylvania, had to say about us (in her own words!!):
“We arrived on Sunday and our first ride was on Monday with Val. During lunch, she shared her food with Josh and said the first day on the ranch you’re friends-after that you’re family. Boy, was that ever true. In five days we have fallen in love with this ranch, the horses and the staff. We have stayed at 5 Star resorts that should take a few lessons from you. You are one of a kind and a class act. Thank you for sharing your time with us. We are sad to leave tomorrow but we are already looking forward to coming back “home” to the Covered Wagon Ranch” Jill R., PA
Jill, Bill and Josh, we feel the same way about you guys!! Thanks so much,
debi and jt
August 6th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
Judith worked her magic again here at the ranch and Brett is making sure that he’s taking extra special care of the love she put into the ground for us. With all the great rain (at all the right times so our riding was never interrupted!!) the grass is so green and the wildflowers are rampant here at the ranch. Judith helped us add more color all around the ranch, and here are a few examples. Thanks Judith-we love you!!
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!
May 31st, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
Well, 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!!
May 8th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
I 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. And 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,
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
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
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?
March 13th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
This is Sis
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
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
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!
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??
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,
February 15th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
I 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!
February 14th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
And 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!
February 11th, 2009 by Debi Naccarto
Now 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!
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!
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!!!)