Children’s Programming

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Children’s Programming

W = Wrangler

HW = Head Wrangler (or owner)

CW = Children’s Wrangler

Overview and miscellaneous details:

1. STR is a family ranch. We hope to support families’ having fun together. The STR Children’s Program is NOT designed to be a “drop-off’” program. (Not all parents will understand this – which leaves us the challenge of producing a “delighted” parent while “forcing” them into a family experience.)

2. The program is generally designed for 5 to 15 year olds. At times the program may have to include really little kids (e.g. local babysitters not available), but this is less than ideal.

3. Note that these age definitions are flexible, based on the child’s size, coordination, and attitude.

* Really Little Kids (Generally less than 5 years old) may “tag along” with older siblings, may join the program when babysitters not available, may be “dumped” by parents.

* Little Kids (Generally 5 to 7 years old) will have activities while their older siblings and parents are trail riding, white-water rafting, or other “older” activities.

* Older Kids (Generally 8 years & older) will have activities available during breaks in the family schedule, and when their parents are doing “adult only” activities.

4. Assessment of a child’s ability to control the horse is based on:

* Size: The child’s legs must be long enough to communicate

* Coordination: The child must be able to immediately and without hesitation, identify right from left, and to simultaneously pull with one hand while pushing with opposite foot

* Attitude: The child must be able to “be in charge”

5. The Children’s Program is “skills based.” Each child will bring home new skills.

6. The Children’s Program is “memorable.” Each child will bring home at least one prize. (We now have a collection of horse shoes that are ready for cleaning and painting!)

7. Safety is our first priority.

8. We are a team. The number of children involved will vary from week to week and from day to day. Depending on the activity and the number of children involved, the Children’s Wrangler may “requisition” the help of any available wrangler, without notice. The requisitioned wranglers shall not BMW (Bitch, Moan or Whine).

9. The Children’s Program shall be structured and planned, but shall be flexible and responsive to the needs of the group.

10. We anticipate between 4 and 13 children each week.

11. Parents are always welcome to participate win children’s activities (except “Kid’s Only” Tuesday night sleep-out)

12. All children should have some form of horse riding experience every day.


A. Horse Skills

1. Horseback Riding – older kids

Person(s) Responsible: Wranglers (as assigned by the Head Wrangler) are responsible for horseback riding, NOT the Children’s Wrangler.

Objective/Goal: The older kids will have a riding experience that is safe, fun, and that develops their riding skills.

Some older kids will do all of their riding with their parents (some kids are more skilled than their parents!)

Others will need extra coaching to develop basic skills It is not unusual for a 12 year old boy to swagger down to the barn like a cowboy – and then burst into tears when he realizes how BIG a quarter horse is!

Some older kids will become “junior wranglers,” as discussed below.

Ideally, All older kids should have trotting and loping lessons in the arena before using these gaits on the trail.

Often, at the end of the week (Friday & Saturday) the older kids will want to “split off” from the old folks (who may be getting a bit sore), and go “loping” or on longer rides.

2. Horseback riding – little kids

Person(s) Responsible: Wranglers (as assigned by the Head Wrangler) are responsible for horseback riding, NOT the Children’s Wrangler.

Objective/Goal: same as above

Younger kids will usually not leave the arena, but may trail ride on the property only, at the end of the week, based on the Head Wrangler’s evaluation of the group’s skills.

These kids will have a daily riding experience, in the arena, aimed at preparing for the Gymkana.

3. Horseback riding – Really little kids

Person(s) Responsible: Little kids will be lead on horseback by parents and wranglers only. (Two people are required to lead a “little kid” on horseback – one person at the horse’s head, the other at the saddle.)

Objective/Goal: will be introduced to the horse in a safe way that makes parents happy.

4. Horseback riding – special kids

Person(s) Responsible: Care of these children will be assigned by the owners and Head Wrangler.

Objective/Goal: To be determined on an individual basis.

There will be times when we host children who have special needs, some with severe handicaps. Programming and objectives will be written for each child as the child’s needs, interests, limitations and capabilities are assessed.

5. Gymkana

Person(s) Responsible: One Wrangler will be assigned the overall responsibility for Gymkana, usually the Children’s Wrangler. This person will develop the games and rules. This person shall be the “Grand Poobba of the Games,” whose word is law…

Objective/Goal: To demonstrate skills development in a safe and fun setting. To create a really fun set of memories and opportunity for great pictures. To give the Children’s Wrangler reasons for giving awards at Saturday night campfire. (Each child is to receive an award – the Children’s Wrangler will need something to reward each child for!)

All Wranglers and the Children’s Wrangler will share responsibility for the activities of the Gymkana as assigned by the Wrangler in charge.

All children (and as many adults as possible) will be included in the Saturday afternoon Gymkana.

There may be “adults only” games included in the gymkanna (eg. Musical Tires, Doubles-bareback race on rakes or stick horses).

Examples of games may include barrel racing on stick horses and again on regular horses, serprntine races, egg races, cracker races, etc.

6. Horse Care & Tacking

Person(s) Responsible: Children’s Wrangler

Objective/Goal: By the end of the week, child will be able to brush, and saddle his or her horse. (Older children may also be able to pick horse’s feet and bit horse, as determined by the Children’s Wrangler.)

Children will not catch horses.

Children will not feed horses.

Children shall be taught in small groups, by demonstration and return demonstration.

Children who can successfully accomplish whatever the Children’s Wrangler determines to be the goal, shall receive some kind of recognition and/or reward at the Saturday night campfire.

7. Junior Wrangler

Person(s) Responsible: All wranglers.

Objective/Goal: The junior wrangler shall develop horse care and riding skills under the special tutelage of a wrangler selected for his or her special “coolness.”

Older kids and teen-agers are generally not too enthusiastic about being in a “children’s program.”

These people, however, often enjoy being with and following “god-like” older persons, usually college-age people who are “very cool.”

Junior wranglers shall be taught appropriate skills (including catching and feeding horses), on a one- on-one basis, by their mentor wrangler.

Wranglers shall exercise extreme care when mentoring junior wranglers of the opposite gender.

Wranglers shall be extremely cautious with junior wranglers who are flirtatious or infatuated, and shall seek advice and counsel if such conditions are identified.

Under no conditions are junior wranglers (of either gender) to be allowed in staff housing.

Mentoring wranglers shall be careful to communicate to junior wranglers’ parents on a continuous basis, and to encourage the junior wrangler to share experiences with these old geezers as well.

Ranch skills

Person(s) Responsible: Children’s Wrangler Objective/Goal: The child shall bring home skills and knowledge gained. At least some of these skills shall contribute towards either Boy or Girl Scout Merit badges, as appropriate and/or needed.




Note: There is separate weapons orientation and training provided by Dan to all staff before any are allowed to use weapons. This information builds on that class and handouts.

Objective/Goal: The child will learn basics of gun safety, the parts of the gun, how to carry, hold, and shoot targets provided (starting with large tin cans, progressing to smaller tin cans and paper targets as accuracy increases).

Parents are STRONGLY encouraged to participate!

This activity should be introduced early in the week, as it becomes a favorite “family competition.” Once the child is introduced to riflry by the CW, any wrangler (who has been “certified”/approved by Dan) can take groups of adults and/or children to the rifle range.

Note: while there is a certain amount of room for ”bending” the horseback riding and barn rules , there is NO room for “bending” the rifle range rules.


STR weapon safety rules.

How to hold and carry weapons.

How to load weapons.

How to sight target.

How to clean weapons after use.

How to etc.

STR Weapons Safety Rules include:

1. There is ALWAYS one staff member per weapon. Weapons are NEVER left with guests – the staff member does not leave the weapon.

2. When smaller people (e.g. 10 years old or less, but use your judgment for older kids) are holding a weapon, the wrangler’s fingers never stop touching the weapon.

3. There is ONE staff member “in charge.” His or her word is law.

4. Horseplay is not to be tolerated at all, in any way, ever…

5. Weapons are ALWAYS carried “muzzle up.”

6. Weapons are ALWAYS pointed ONLY towards the targets or straight up in the air.

7. Whenever anyone steps in front of the “shooters line,” all weapons are placed on the ground, and NOT TO BE TOUCHED BY ANYONE.

8. Muzzle-loaders MUST be cleaned after ever use.

This program must be entirely consistent with the rifle safety program.

Use of shotguns by people less than #100 is inappropriate and dangerous.



Objective/Goal: The child will learn basics of archery; including safety, how to carry bow, hold, load and shoot targets provided.


How to.



Arts & Crafts (Rainy Day)

Objective/Goal: The child will be occupied on rainy day, not break up ranch furniture, and not tie up and torture the Children’s Wrangler.


How to make cedar birdhouse, using precut predrilled pieces.

How to make other neat stuff using kits.

Note: Children’s Wrangler will have bird house kits pre-cut and pre-drilled, using designs and materials available on the ranch.

Children’s wrangler will have a “stash” of other kits well hidden for use on rainy days, which she will buy when she gets here.


Objective/Goal: The child will learn the basics of fishing, and may even catch one.


How to cast.

How to tie hook on line.

How to get worm on hook.


Children unde 16 years old do not need Colorado Fishing license, but must be under the supervision of an adulty who does have a license.

Othetr adults (parents) may accompany the CW and kids on fishing trips, but without a license MAY NOT TOUCH ANY EQUIPMENT or they WILL receive a ticket!

The ranch will purchase the Children’s Wrangler’s license. S/he MUST have this license on their person when fishing or can plan to receive a ticket!

Nature Hike

Objective/Goal: The child will learn the names of common flowers, plants, trees, and birds identified on a structured hike.


How to identify cmmon trees, plants, flowers and birds.

Note: various bird and plant books are in the parlor

Cowboy Poetry

Objective/Goal: The child will write and recite his or her cowboy or cowgirl poem at the Saturday night campfire.


How to find words that rhyme (dine, fine, mine, pine, whine…)

Sports & Games

Person(s) Responsible: Children’s Wrangler with the enthusiastic support of the Assistant Wranglers.

Objective/Goal: Children will have a safe, fun experience that will leave them tired. City kids will learn field games. Staff and adult guests will have sports eqyuipment they can use as well.

1. Capture the Flag

2. Kickball

3. Softball

4. Soccer

5. Sardines

6. etc

D. Other Activities

Tuesday Night Campout

Person(s) Responsible: Children’s Wrangler and one other staff member assigned.

Objective/Goals: Kids will have an overnight experience sleeping outside. Parents will have one full evening/night alone. Kids may see Lady Moon wandering in the trees, or maybe riding a white horse, looking for her head… (which, of course, was cut off…)


Kids cook-out (in the past this was hot dogs grilled on the grill) this year do what you want!

Kids scavenger hunt (we have last year’s list somewhere).

Kids field games (e.g. capture the flag, sardines, etc.) in west pasture near teepee.

Kids campfire at the teepee – songs (?), stories (especially Lady Moon stories), marshmallows, s’mores.

Sleep in teepee (or maybe stay up ALL NIGHT!) – hahahahahahahaha

Note: Unless child is I life threatening situation, he/she is NOT to return to parents before midnight!!!! (parents are playing their own field games).

Possible separate campout for teens.



(1) Boxes that are marked with only “CW” are time slots available for programming.

(2) Rest Breaks are not written into this schedule yet – the CW MUST take breaks or she will burnout and/or fall down. She/he will also need a day off.

(3) Children’s activities do NOT need to fill an entire two-hour time slot -– EVERYONE needs some “down time.” CW will want an activity scheduled for each open slot, but it’s ok for kids to be with their parents instead.

W = Wrangler

CW = Children’s Wrangler

Little Kids (Generally 5 to 7 years old) Older Kids (Generally 8 years & older)

Sunday Afternoon Arrival – all new guests are exploring the ranch, all staff are greeting and touring, AND LEARNING GUESTS’ NAMES Same

Late Afternoon Meet kids, give kids tour (horses, teepee, etc.) Teach horse safety: eg. Never be between two horses, stay away when feeding, etc., See “Horse Skills” Handout. Same

Evening All guests have introductions and orientation with dinner, all hike Stony Point Hill after supper with W or housekeeper.W’s & CW meet to review profiles & assign horses. Same

Monday Morning(9am-11am) CW – With parents Horse orientation with adults.

Late Morning(11am – 12:30) CW & W Start kids’ orientation to horses.At lunch, discuss with parents plan for each child W – Either arena or ride with adults.

Afternoon(2pm – 4pm) CW & W Kids in arena. For 1 hour, then any other activity. W – Either arena or ride with adults

Late Afternoon(4pm – 6pm) Kids are with parents. CW may help other W’s with riflry, etc. Horse are fed at 4 pm – no riding.CW –

Evening All guests hike Boy Scout Hill Same

Tuesday Morning (9am-11am) CW – to Breakfast Rock. Ride, walk, jeep? Ride with adults

Late Morning(11am – 12:30) CW – kids ride (in arena, yard, etc.) CW or W introduce trotting and/or lope as appropriate

Afternoon (2pm – 4pm) CW – rests. Kids with parents rock climbing Rock climb with adults

Late Afternoon(5:30PM) Kid’s cookout CW may want to break here.

Evening Kids cookout, campfire and overnight. Same

Wednesday Morning(9am-11am) CW – arena work and two short rides with kids. Join the adults by car or jeep Ride with adults (All day ride with lunch on the trail). Kids over ten only!

Late Morning(11am – 12:30) Kids jeep with cooks to lunch on the trail. CW may want to nap Most are still on trail with adults.

Afternoon(2pm – 4pm) CW – ride, hike, fish, bird houses CW

Late Afternoon(4pm – 6pm) CW – rest CW

Evening Campfire with Lars & Amy Same

Thursday Morning(9am-11am) CW Off- Kids less than 7 with their parents. All kids over 7 white water raft with their parents.

Late Morning(11am – 12:30) CW Off- Kids less than 7 with their parents. All kids over 7 white water raft with their parents.

Afternoon(2pm – 4pm) CW Off- Kids less than 7 with their parents. All kids over 7 white water raft with their parents.

Late Afternoon(4pm – 6pm) Most adults nap…

CW – Off

Evening Same

Friday Morning(8am-11am) Ride and other activities Kids ride with parents to breakfast on the trail.

Late Morning(11am – 12:30) Some want loping lessons.

Afternoon(2pm – 4pm) Pot-pourrie day – most ride with their parents.

Late Afternoon(4pm – 6pm) Horses don’t usually work after 4pm.Some are starting their cowboy poems!

Evening Family campfire – poems & stories

Saturday Morning(9am-11am) Gymkanna! Gymkanna!

Late Morning(11am until after lunch) Check-out Check-out

After Lunch everybody cleans and turns over the ranch for new guests arriving tomorrow! After clean-up – Sabbath