We're glad you've made the commitment to attend our School of Fine Horse Training.
We ask that you arrive at the ranch after 4pm the day before your course is scheduled to begin. This allows you and your horse time to get settled in. That first evening, we all gather between 5 and 6pm for an orientation and complementary barbeque.
The schools end on a Saturday or Tuesday evening with a final gathering at the campfire where all students share in a critique and informal graduation ceremony. You may leave afterwards, if you choose, or you may stay and leave the following morning. Please be on your way by 11am. Letters for specific arrival dates and instructions will be sent to you upon enrollment.
At the Oregon Home Ranch, student quarters are simple summer bunkhouses, or you may bring your own living-quarter trailer, camper, or motor home. The day begins around 7am with a home-cooked, garden-fresh breakfast of coffee, juice, assorted home-baked sweet rolls or muffins, quiche or other organic egg dish, and fresh fruit at the outside kitchen. We saddle up and start our morning round pen sessions around 8am and break for lunch around noon. Afternoon sessions resume between 1 and 2pm. The scheduling may vary from day to day, depending on conditions and student needs; some days will be more involved with the round pen, arena, and individual lessions while others may find us out on the trail most of the time. Lunch and dinner arrangements are up to you--spontaneous pot lucks often occur.
At our winter Southwest OutPost in Arizona, most folks stay off-site and breakfast in town, so we start around 8am with coffee and campfire fellowship before saddling up. A hearty lunch is served around noon in our Arizona Room gathering spot, then we resume riding between 1 and 2pm. After a full day of riding, folks either head back to town for dinner or stay for a pot luck mesquite barbecue dinner, enjoying the camaraderie around the campfire.
Both locations are only three to ten miles from small towns with a good deli and country cafes, motel accommodations, and a general store for all your basic needs. For those who stay on-site, both ranches have outdoor kitchen areas with a refrigerator, barbeque facilities, cookstove, and microwave for your use near the campfire area where we gather nightly to relax, fellowship, and discuss the day's accomplishments.
Our Oregon Home Ranch is nestled in a lush irrigated valley of hay fields, pastures, cottonwood, and fruit trees, surrounded by rolling high-desert hills, dry sagebrush, rocks, and wildflowers. Mornings are cool, but can quidkly warm up to hot and humid afternoons. The rides we take up into the hills may be hot and dry. A pleasant breeze cools the evenings. Although we generally expect nice weather and beautiful summer temperatures, remember, this is the northwest--we're close to the mountains and the weather can change quickly. We may end up experiencing cooler temperatures and occasional thunderstorms, so come prepared and bring layers!
The same applies at our winter location in Cochise, Arizona, where we are at 4500' elevation. Evenings often freeze, but it quickly warms up to the mid-60's, 70's, and sometimes even 80's by noon. But as soon as the sun drops behind the Dragoon Mountains, the temperature follows suit, so bring layers and expect a desert breeze and bright sunshine.
The following is a list of items you should bring with you to make your stay more comfortable. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call!
Layers of clothing for hot and cool weather (be sure you have comfortable clothes and jeans for riding all day)
Boots or riding shoes with heels (we prefer a good western boot with a spur ledge on the heel, as lace-up packer-style boots hinder your ability to use your ankles, spurs, and stirrups effectively)
Warm coat, jacket or windbreaker, rain slicker, and gloves
Hat (for sun protection)
Sunscreen and Chapstick
Hay fever or allergy medication
Swimwear and towels (if you plan to swim in the creek or lakes)
Oregon Ranch Bunkhouse Needs:
Bedroll (sleeping bag or bedding, personal pillow, etc)
Towels and washcloth (the bathhouse is supplied with some)
Personal toiletries (shampoo, soap, etc)
If you are staying at the Bunkhouse, remember that the facilities will be rugged and primitive yet quaint and clean. Plumbing consists of a bathhouse with toilet and separate shower room, as well as a unique outdoor hot shower and wash basins for the adventurous who wish to shower under the stars. Bunks are equipped with foam mattresses, and the bunkhouses have separate quarters for men and women. Rooms are limited, and it is first-come, first-served, so be sure to reserve your spot when you enroll.
Ice cooler for extra drinks and food
Fishing gear if you're coming to the Oregon ranch (Eagle Creek runs through the ranch, and the Snake River is just three miles away)
PS--Pets will be supplied by us; please do not bring yours.
What horses to bring:
We recommend that riders bring their most advanced or trained horse. An older, more seasoned broke horse will allow you more saddle time to experiment, apply, and fine-tune the exercises and techniques we teach, while a very young or green horse may poop out during the training sessions and their advancement potential is limited in a week's time. However, you may bring a second horse to practice with--a colt to start or a young horse with plenty of time on it--where we can show you the direction to take your horse, what to teach him next, when to advance him, etc. This works really well (an additional fee of $100 per day is charged for your second horse).
Use of a Wil Howe Trained Horse for the Entire School Session:
In the event that it is not feasible to bring your own horse or you are really wanting to experience the true feel you are looking for in building a finished horse, in the bridle, we highly recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity to use a Wil Howe trained horse for the entire school session (see specific class description for fee). We find that those who use a Wil Howe trained horse learn the most and are then best prepared to pass on what they have accomplished on these seasoned horses to their younger or less-experienced horses. Like Wil always says, "Your best teacher is a well-trained horse. How can you teach your horse something if you've never felt it before?"