Experience Alberta high country with true Alberta ranchers and outfitters, Ram River Tours – Ram Rides. Sharmane Hindbo, husband Lorne and daughter Amy along with their dedicated extended family of staff and animals, have been offering a taste of true Western living since 1988. Those that are passionate about or curious about the ways of ranch life, horses and breathtaking Western Alberta scenery are sure to find their adventure with Ram River Tours – Ram Rides.
People from all walks of life are welcome to experience their authentic Working Ranch in the beautiful Caroline area of South Central Alberta (South Ram – est. 1988) and their Base Camp in the West Country near the Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg area (North Ram – est. 1996). Explore the natural areas and enjoy the high country of the Ram River while saddled on one of their impressive horses. From hour and day rides to pack trips, to family or kids horse camps, cabin rentals, campground area and more. Read ahead to see how this Tourism Red Deer member shares the experiences and values of connection, from person to animal to nature.
What makes you different, unique or stand out?
“We are old-time ranchers, a small outfit, not a big operation by any means,” says Sharmane Hindbo owner/operator of Ram River Tours – Ram Rides. “Even the way we put people on horses is different.”
Hindbo discusses the importance of riders bonding with their horses before saddling up. “If you are planning on an hour ride, expect it to be 2 (hours) or more,” says Hindbo. “It’s just as important for the rider as it is for the horse to be acquainted and is a big part of the horse experience we offer.”
Ram River Tours – Ram Rides operates seasonally in the warmer months and offers camps throughout the week. Drop-in riders are welcome for those who just want to familiarize themselves and their families with a horse. Riders can be paired with a guide or staff to lead and help the rider gain confidence, including pony rides.
“We take the time that is necessary to help each rider have a great time with their horse, regardless of their experience,” says Hindbo. “Short rides are a great adventure for families and groups who are looking for a shorter timeline.” A lot of their riding is in the rainforest areas of the eastern slopes; there is great fishing and a lot of game activity, there is no competition with quads/ATVs trails, is peaceful and fresh.
Events in the past have included Women’s Time-Out getaways, Fly-fishing weekend clinics, Cougar, Moose and Deer hunts, Family and Kids horse camps, to name a few. “Events took a hit last season and this year appears to look the same,” says Hindbo. “We can still be outdoors, we have lots of space, cabin and campground rentals are available for those looking for a longer adventure.”
Why do you do what you do?
“We are outfitters and ranchers first most, we live and breathe horses, “says Hindbo. “We pride ourselves in our horse string, we train most of our ranch-raised horses ourselves and their school is on-site here at Ram Rides.”
Hindbo states that their horse herd traces back to some of the best working bloodlines in the Quarter horse world. With about 30 horses, many in their 20s, there are years of experience to please all riding levels.
Fun Facts from Sharmane:
- Horses have personalities of their own.
- Our family includes the horses too! We often talk about the Mom, Grandma, or Aunts in relation to the other horses.
- When you realize your connection with horses, it becomes a very invested partnership.
- The horses make their way in every morning ready to go for the day.
- The horses do 90% of the work.
“There is a good family value in what we do, it can be a challenge sometimes, as what we offer is not just a photo opp,” says Hindbo. “We have strict rules and regulations around marijuana and alcohol use, we value being family-friendly and safe.”
Hindbo goes on to mention their amazing staff between the two properties, several of which keep coming back year after year. “A lot of our staff are the kids that have come up through the Kid’s Camp program,” says Hindbo. “Four different girls have graduated out of our apprenticeship program.”
What can guests (local or visiting) expect to experience?
“We need to let people know that they are (really) off the grid out here,” says Hindbo. “They are in the wilderness, there is no phone service at the site (but do have satellite communication, 2-way radio, basecamp to trail communication for emergencies) and expect outhouses.”
Hindbo notes that the current price list states that meals are provided however, due to the nature of group cooking and eating, meals will not be provided until further notice. Guests are advised to pack their own meals and, rates will be adjusted upon booking.
Rustic Cabin rentals are available in their out-west cozy cabins, inviting guests to sit back and soak in nature after time spent horse riding, fishing, or sightseeing. Make Ram Rides home base and checkout their weekend packages that can include daily horseback riding, fly-fishing, quadding, hiking and sightseeing.
Experience more of the West Country by taking a close one-hour drive to Ram Falls, Crescent Falls, Hummingbird Falls, the Nordegg Mines and more. Before making any plans to venture their way it is best to call for available experiences and accommodations before hand.
What is new or upcoming?
“Ram Rides have hosted Kid Camps for 15 years, our daughter Amy runs them now (which were Grandfathered down),” says Hindbo. “Our camps aim to teach children (ages 9-17) about the wonderful world of horses, through horse-related games and activities, along with safe handling.”
Being able to keep camper numbers manageable for a safe and fun experience is the plan going into the summer. “Time will tell what is allowed and when,” says Hindbo. “Smaller numbers allow for tons of one-on-one time and attention.”
The Ram River Tours – Ram Rides family invites you to venture into their neck of the woods, possibly go out of your comfort zone, a little or a lot, and earn your Ram River experience as you #ExploreRedDeersBackyard.As with any activity it is best to connect directly with the operators for full details on product and service offerings, as pandemic restrictions continue to vary.
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