Horse Safety Program

Safety First on the Trail

Horse Safety Program

Safety First on the Trail

Horse Safety

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~ Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1874 – 1965)

Ranch Risk Management &
First Aid for the Trail Seminar

Horseback riding and other dude ranch activities conducted oftentimes in the outdoor wilderness, and/or mountainous terrain, include inherent and other risks that can cause injury, damage, death, or other loss. As a result, it is recognized that ranches cannot assure the safety of their guests and that participants share in the responsibility for their own well-being and the well-being of others on any trip. The Dude Ranch Foundation Horse Safety Program is an endeavor to assist ranches in managing risks and considering safety in their ongoing effort to provide their guests with a positive experience.

This Dude Ranch Foundation horse safety program is offered through a seminar approach. The objective is to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to prevent and/or manage an accident that may occur on the trail. The seminar, reflecting current equine safety guidelines and best practices, also promotes a continuous evaluation and improvement of safety procedures for the rancher, rider, and the horse.

This DRF program relies upon the integrity of participants to review their individual ranch programs and procedures with consideration to the horse safety and risk management practices discussed. To stay current with the program, each ranch must attend a seminar at least once every three years. The owner or general manager of the ranch should be the person attending.

Ranch Risk Management and First Aid Seminars are offered at the annual Dude Ranchers’ Association Convention and throughout the spring. Those completing the course will receive and/or update their certification.

The DRF would like to thank NFP Insurance, Glencar Insurance, and the Outdoor Insurance Program for their generous sponsorship of the DRF Horse Safety Programs.

Key Seminar Elements

  • Horse Safety
  • Accident Management
  • Site Safety
  • Equipment and Tack Safety
  • Guest Orientation
  • Certification
  • Continuing Education

For more information on the Ranch Risk Management & First Aid Seminars Wrangler Training Course, contact Colleen Hodson at 307.250.1981

About the Horse Safety Survey

Over the last 12 years, the Dude Ranchers Association, on behalf of the Dude Ranch Foundation, has administered a survey to the member ranches regarding the type, number and seriousness of injuries sustained during any given season. With the thousands of hours guests spend in the saddle at a dude ranch the rate of injury per season is always much less than half of one percent. We feel, and several insurance companies agree, this is due to the Dude Ranch Foundation’s Horse Safety program.

Horse Safety Survey Results 2019

Horse Safety Survey Results 2020

Horse Safety Survey Results 2021

Horse Safety Survey Results 2022

Wrangler Training Course

What a year this was for our wrangler training program! We had 12 DRA member ranches and 4 non-DRA Ranches/camps participate for a total of 137 wranglers trained! A big shout-out to our trainers this year: Will Ferguson, Lauren Pokay, and Cheri Helmicki. The DRF wrangler training program has trained over 950 wranglers thus far.

This course has been established to train wranglers & guides in the skills needed to meet the Minimum Horse Safety and Risk Management practices accepted by the DRA ranches. This course helps to provide the skills and knowledge needed to help prevent potential accidents and demonstrates how to anticipate dangerous situations on the trail. Participants in this program must already have a good working knowledge of horsemanship skills. This is both a hands-on and classroom experience. The course follows the material presented in the DRA Horse Safety Manual.

  • Current First Aid & CPR certification is required.
  • Course is eight hours. It can be completed in one full day or two half days.
  • Minimum course size is five.
  • Participants must sign an acceptance of responsibility.
  • Courses are set up through the Dude Ranch Foundation.
  • Upon completion, the DRF office will issue a card.

View a sample of the training agenda here.

To obtain certification, participants will learn and exhibit, as assessed by the instructor, a general knowledge and confidence in the following:

  • Ranch’s emergency procedures
  • Risk management
  • Handling accidents on the trail and at the barn
  • Ride management and organization
  • Riding, handling, and managing horses safely
  • General back country practices
  • Adaptive first aid for the trail

The cost for wrangler training is below. This includes a Dude Ranch Association (DRA) horse safety booklet, the course certification card, and lunch.

  • For DRF members the cost is $50.00 per wrangler.
  • For Non-DRF members the cost is $100.00 per wrangler.
  • Members of the Dude Ranch Association receive a discount of $50.00.

For more information on the Wrangler Training Course, contact Colleen Hodson at 307.250.1981

Special Thanks:

The DRF would like to thank all the wrangler instructors, including our traveling instructors, Will Ferguson and Lauren Pokay. They did a fantastic job!

Below are ranches hosting wrangler trainings in 2023:

Where: Western Pleasure Ranch, Idaho
When: April 29th – Starts at 9:00 AM
Call Janice at Western Pleasure to Register – (208) 263-9066
Instructor: Roley Schoonover

Where: Colorado Trails Ranch
When: May 17th – Starts at 9:00
Call Jeanie at the ranch to Register – (970) 247-5055
Instructor: Holly Foy

Where: Sylvan Dale Ranch, Loveland, Colorado
When: May 23rd – Starts at 9:00
Contact Susan or Dusty at the ranch to register – (970) 667-3915
Instructor: Nick Herold

Where: Red Rock Ranch
When: May 24th – Starts at 9:00 AM
Call the Red Rock Ranch to Register – (307) 733-6288
Instructor: Lauren Pokay

Where: Lazy L and B Ranch
When: May 24th – Starts at 9:00 AM
Call Lazy L and B to Register – (307) 455-2839
Instructor: Will Ferguson

Where: Flathead Lake Lodge
When: May 28th – Starts at 9:00 AM
Call Jodie at Flathead to Register – (406) 837-4391
Instructor: Russell and Laura True

Where: Covered Wagon Ranch
When: June 2nd – Starts at 9:00 AM
Call Covered Wagon Ranch to Register – (406) 995-4237
Instructor: Will Ferguson

Horse Safety

It’s the 20 Year Anniversary of the Horse Safety Program!

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