Dude Ranch Job Information, Employment Policies and Expectations
(This is most of the Employee Handbook)
Working at the Ranch
This list is not exhaustive, nor is it to be understood as containing binding promises or a contract. It is intended to provide you with a general framework for understanding our work life together.
All staff have the following responsibilities:
- The comfort, pleasure, and safety of our guests is our first priority. Memories of a safe and delightful vacation is our “product.”
- All staff are responsible for guest, staff, and animal safety.
- All staff share responsibilities for care and feeding of guests, which will often include dropping whatever is at hand to meet constantly changing needs, requests, and demands… and then go back and finishing the job started.
- All staff provide or assist with ranch entertainment (usually in the evenings) and assisting with childrens’ programming (including weekly overnight kids camp out).
- All staff assist in kitchen (assist cook with meal prep and presentation, wash dishes)
- All staff assist with housekeeping (cleaning rooms, cleaning more rooms, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning bathrooms again, vacuuming)
- All staff do maintenance (the never-ending list of things that need to be fixed)
- All staff tell endless jokes and humorous stories.
All staff requirements include:
- Must be able to communicate to the public with tact and clarity, and
- exhibit a patient and knowledgeable attitude with horses, goats, dogs, cats, children,
- and the occasional guest whose expectations may be challenging.
- Enthusiasm, energy, and “A smile that never quits.”
- All staff are expected to live on the ranch, as all staff are responsible for fire protection and guest safety twenty four hours a day.
- Staff may leave the ranch at the completion of guest activities the evening before their days off.
- Staff are provided room and board at no charge.
- Staff are to take all meals with guests, when there is room in the dining room.
- Unfortunately we do not have accommodations for married couples.
- Wranglers are expected to have valid First Aide and CPR certification at the time of employment. This is to be obtained at the employee’s expense.
- Fire prevention, protection and response will be taught to all staff, at ranch expense.
- Dress Code: Employees MUST dress in “Western Fashion” while on the property. All employees are required to wear western clothing, western boots, western hats with stampede strings, blue-jean jacket, & western shirts. Bring a sleeping bag, swim suit, and watch (wraglers should have a watch with a count-down timer for filling horse troughs – $35 at Walmart). Western skirt or dresses are allowed for evening activities. A pair of hiking boots is recommended.
- Stampede strings are mandatory when working around or riding horses. These are available here at wholesale price (~$6-8).
- Baseball caps are not western.
- Neatness counts: no patches on jeans or shirts.
- Personal vehicles are encouraged.
- Guest, staff, horse safety come first.
- A very high level of guest satisfaction (delight) comes second.
Guest satisfaction is based on having expectations met;
- By making conversation, and asking guests about themselves, we can learn what their expectations are.
- By being flexible and creative we can usually meet those expectations.
Guests are our customers, not our friends. We never:
- Tell them our personal problems, our problems with management, our roommates, or the ranch
- Discuss religion or politics
- Ask them what they do for a living
- Tell “off-color” jokes
- Loose our tempers in public
- Accept sexual invitations
- Act silly
- Smile. Usually we smile because we feel good. Sometimes we need to smile because we want others to feel good, no matter how we feel. Note: this is not a “smiley” philosophy – it is a behavioral expectation.
- Call guests by name.
There is never an excuse for being rude to a guest or to each other.
Minimal impact and no trace ethics.
- When in the forest or on neighbor’s land, we make as few changes as possible, and leave no evidence of having been there.
- We respect elk calving season, and follow the calving season scheduling restrictions.
- We respect our neighbors rights and preferences.
- We do not chase or harass in any way either wildlife or domestic stock.
The moderate use of alcohol, for those of legal age, when not responsible for others’ safety, is acceptable:
- Public intoxication is not acceptable.
- Drinking before or while trail riding is unacceptable.
- Use of any illegal drugs is unacceptable.
- Smoking or use of other tobacco products is unacceptable.
- This expectation will be revised if any abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs is noted.
Men and women will not be in each other’s room at night.
There is no excuse for animal neglect or abuse:
- We do not strike or throw stones at animals.
- We do not allow horses unrestricted access to grain or hay.
- We do not chase wildlife or cattle
- We do not poach.
Behaviors which can result in termination of employment:
- Rudeness to guests
- Rudeness to fellow staff
- Animal abuse: horse, elk, cattle
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Use of tobacco products
- Stealing of any kind
- Reckless behavior
- Violence of any kind
- Unacceptable hygiene
- Failure to use stampede strings when working around or riding horses
- Allowing horses unrestricted access to grain or hay
Typical Riding Schedule (which changes every week!):
- Horses day off.
- Afternoon check-in no riding.
- Barn Orientation – class #1 on ground manners and knots.
- Supper introductions and ranch orientation.
- After supper hike.
- AM – Orientation and arena work (1 hour), short “shake-down” ride on property (1 hour).
- PM – Bubba’s Hill or Lady Moon Overlook (1 hour) or Arena instruction (1-3 hour)
- Tuesday: Morning rock climbing
- PM – Aspen Canyon Trail (1 hour) or Bubba’s Hill or Lady Moon Overlook (whichever was not taken Monday)
- All rides include short hikes and/or low impact rock climb
- Introduction to trotting, as appropriate.
- Mount Margaret Trailhead lunch (2.5 hours out), return via Turtle Rock (2 hours) or Mount Margaret/Doudy Lake (3 hours) back.
- Introduction to trotting or loping, as appropriate.
- Six night guests to white water rafting – only 3-night guests riding.
- Lunch Ride and Riders’ Choice rides
- Introduction to trotting or loping, as appropriate.
- PM- continued, after lunch onthe trail
- AM – Arena Games! – Gymkanna in the arena.
- PM – Guest Check-out & Ranch Clean-up.
- Off-ranch trips to rodeos, auctions, fireworks, outlet malls, etc., as requested.
- Hiking on ranch property, Boy Scout Ranch property (pending permission) and occasionally in the National Forest.
- Guided fishing trips
- Jeep Trips to areas including Cameron pass, Deadman Road, and the Swamp Lady Area.
- Jackalope & Snipe hunts
- Sexual harassment shall not be tolerated in any form or manner.
- Sundance Trail is an “at will” employer. As such, may terminate an employment relationship at any time with or without cause.
- All employees are paid bi-weekly, every other Monday.
- All employees share the “tip pool” (gratuities) equally, unless the guest specifies otherwise.
- Holiday pay – there is no holiday pay differential.
- Sick leave pay – there is no sick leave pay
- We do not allow seasonal employees to bring pets.
- Some schools will allow students to incorporate an Equine/Recreation Internship for college credit into their summer experience here. For a list of learning objectives, please contact us by email.