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.

We thank Philadelphia Insurance for sponsoring this program.

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

Wrangler Training Course

This DRF safety training course, held at multiple ranch locations, is offered to wranglers at the beginning of each summer. A wrangler who completes the course, leading to a certification, remains current for five years. This past year, even with its many challenges, 98 wranglers were certified!

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 instructor, Will Ferguson. They did a fantastic job!

Below are ranches hosting wrangler trainings in 2022:

Where: Covered Wagon Ranch, Montana
When: May 25, 2022 – Starts at 9:00 am
Call Covered Wagon to register: (406) 995-4237
Instructor: Will Ferguson

Where: Bar Lazy J Ranch, Granby, Colorado
When: May 26, 2022 – Starts at 9:00 am
Call to register: (970) 725-3437
Instructor: Cheri Helmicki 

Where: Medicine Bow Lodge, Saratoga, Wyoming
When: May 26, 2022 – Starts at 9:00am
Call to register: (307) 326-5439
Instructor: Tim Bishop

Where: Teton Valley Ranch Camp, (TVRC) Jackson, WY
When: May 31, 2022 – Starts at 9:00
Call Jim Ligori TVRC to register: (307) 733-2958
Instructor: Will Ferguson

Where: Hunewill Ranch, Bridgeport, CA
When: June 16, 2022 – 1:30 – 5:00 PM
June 17, 2022 – 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Call Megan at Hunewill to register: (760) 932-7710
Instructor: Lauren Pokay

Horse Safety

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

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