Here is some information about the job.
The job is typically a young persons job because of the physical aspect. The room is shared accommodations with other ranch hands. At the ranch we have a trailer similar to a mobile home with a few separate rooms along with washroom facilities and a kitchen area. The accommodations on the road consist of a holiday trailer shared with the other ranch hands and two semi trucks with sleepers on them. The trailer has a stove, fridge and microwave.
During the spring, for breakfast the crew fix their own, although we often buy cereal, coffee and stuff for them. Lunch is usually left overs from the night before and supper is a good meal we usually provide in the house. You will be buying some of your own meals but most days in the spring we provide them. Once we start to race (in June) you will be on your own for the food.
Between March and May we will be training around the Okotoks area. We will travel to Grande Prairie mid-May and be there for the first competition in June. After that, we will be moving everything to my ranch by Okotoks (Calgary). Once the season starts we move to a different town every week using Okotoks as a home base.
One or two people will be staying at my ranch to look after the horses left there. We try to alternate these crew members so everyone gets to travel somewhat. However it is our goal to have one ranch hand that stays at the home base full-time. We will be hiring until we fill five positions. Check out the new Ranchhand Facebook Page.
The work is seven days a week and the hours are as follows.
Everyone is in the barn ready for work at 8:00 am. We train about half of the horses in the morning. Some of the ranch hands will help with this "truck training". We exercise the horses four at a time at a slow pace using the trucks and cutom made training rack attachment. When the horses are out of their stalls some of the ranch hands will have to clean the stalls, refill the water pails and feed grain/hay. This usually takes until 11:00 am. Once that group of horses is complete, we restock the grain bins or haul a bale of straw. Usually there are many little things to do. We put the horses in for lunch first and then we eat. After lunch we start on the other half of horses. The same routine is in place. The only difference is that we need all of the ranch hands to help because we train this group on the chuckwagon. Check out the website for some photos of that if you are not familiar. This takes all afternoon and around 5:00 pm we start cleaning the stalls, feeding and getting everything ready. We finish this at around 7:00 and we put the horses away for the night and we go eat. Either before or after supper (depending on when we finish) we brush the horses and tend to them with any medicine. The night usually ends around 9:30 and the crew is off. The spring part is a very tough schedule because it never usually changes.
From June on, we are on the road. We travel every week to a new rodeo, sometimes all the way across the province and into the next. Travel days are long because when we get to the new town we have to set up our barns, build the new corals, get the horses in and feed them. On race days we follow the same feeding, barn cleaning and grooming schedule but we don't train. The races typically start in the evening and we finish with the horses very late. Usually you will have a few hours during the afternoon to yourself to catch up on sleep, shop or what ever. We race 51 days between May and August. A non race day is about the same but we often train the horses in the morning. We hook the horses to the wagons and run them on the track. This is not every day but we usually do train a couple days a week.
We travel to 10 different cities and some of the workers are expected to drive one of the vehicles. We travel in a group so when we arrive we can all set up the portable barns we use to house the animals. Travel days are usually long. It is always the case that the horses come first. We make sure they are comfortable and fed before the crew goes to bed.
We do let the ranch hands have time off and we encourage it but we like the days scheduled so we are not short handed. The ranch hands are on their own for those days. Once we are on the road it is a lot more fun. The job is fun but it is a bunch of work and the wage is not high for the hours we work. It is simply something you will love or not.
Keep in contact if you are interested.
Mark and Kelly