Riding Policy


Note: All persons who intend to participate in horseback riding will be required to sign a waiver of liability. Parent or Legal Guardian required to sign on behalf of riders under 19 years of age.  Faxed or emailed waivers are acceptable. 

We require accurate height, weight, and riding experience (based on novice, intermediate or advanced.) upon booking for everyone intending to go horseback riding.  If you are booking for another person, please ask them to send us their height/weight riding info.  Sundance Guest Ranch cannot take responsibility for failure to provide horseback riding due to incorrect information being given.

Sundance Guest Ranch reserves the right to limit availability of horseback riding due to anything which may in our judgement pose a threat to the health and safety of either horse or rider.

For the health and well-being of our horses, height/weight limitations are in effect and are strictly enforced. 

Please see height/weight restriction charts for horseback riding at bottom of page. 

Please be honest and accurate when providing your information, as Sundance Guest Ranch will not take responsibility for failure to provide horseback riding due to incorrect information being given.  For the welfare of the horses, we are requiring guests to weigh in upon arrival.  We have a discreet scale in the office with a digital display visible only to the staff member taking the reading.  We respectfully request no riders over 220 lbs  (100 kg) 

A further word about our weight restrictions for horseback riding: 

Okay, folks  –  This is the most difficult part of the business.  Our weight restrictions are in place for the health of our horses and are strictly enforced.  Some places simply have a flat weight limit, which is much easier to enforce.  We use a sliding scale for weight restrictions (as do many other places) because after 45 years in the business, we have seen the difference that weight distribution makes. Any horseman will tell you that a 120 lb rider with a “heavy seat” (meaning just sitting on the horse’s back and not keeping their weight sufficiently in the stirrups or properly balanced in the saddle) will do more damage to a horse’s back than a 200 lb expert rider.  So it’s not just about weight.  And by the same token, there is a world of difference between a rider who is 5’2” and 200 lbs and one who is 6’2” and the same weight, as far as that rider’s athleticism, balance and ability to keep their weight in the stirrups mounted on a big wide horse.

Also – and this is a biggie – we need people to be honest and accurate when advising their weight upon booking. We can make allowances for a few pounds of clothing and footwear, but if a guest arrives who is significantly heavier than they told us on booking, they may not be able to ride even if they fall within the weight limit for their height, especially if they are 190 lbs and up.   Here’s why: Virtually every horse in our herd can carry at least 150 lbs.  After that, every additional 10 lbs or so reduces the pool of available horses, until you get to our maximum weight which only a relatively small number of our horses can carry. We closely monitor bookings and rider weights to ensure that we do not over-book our larger horses.

Our rugged terrain also factors into the riding policy.  Many people say, “But I ride regularly at home.” but this is generally on gentle ground or in arenas or riding rings, which is not the case here.  We have many beautiful grassy meadows and flat trails suitable for galloping, but this is very hilly country, so we have to go up and down a lot to get to them.  This is part of what makes our riding (and our views) so spectacular, but it also presents challenges to the horses beyond what might be encountered when riding at home, and forces us to be especially careful not to overburden our animals.

A horse’s weight-carrying ability is not based solely on its size.  Horses lose strength as they age, just like people do.  Over time, injuries also play a factor.  We have horses in the herd who used to carry 230 lbs but are now limited to toting kids around.

We are always trying to add big heavy horses to our herd, but suitable mounts can be difficult to come by.  Due to their size and strength, they must be especially docile.  Big horses are stronger, but their backs are also susceptible to injury.  Older, well-broke large horses often come with pre-existing soundness issues due to heavy use, and it can take years to work a young horse into the string.

We truly hate having to belabor a point, but your vacation time is too precious to take chances with, and so are our horses.  So thank you for your understanding, on their behalf.

Lastly: Cowboy boots or other footwear with a firm sole (no heavy tread) and a stout heel are required for all rides. Helmets are strongly recommended for all ages, and are mandatory for all riders under 19 yrs of age. The ranch has boots available for a rental fee of $4.00 per day and helmet rentals are $3.00.

Children must be 8 years of age to go on the trail rides, but kids 4 to 7 yrs can enjoy a parent-led pony ride in the arena, and child-minding is available in July and August!


Maximum Height/Weight Chart - IMPERIAL
5’0″ – 160 lbs5’1″ – 165 lbs5’2″ – 170 lbs
5’3″ – 175 lbs5’4″ – 180 lbs5’5″ – 185 lbs
5’6″ – 190 lbs5’7″ – 195 lbs5’8″ – 200 lbs
5’9″ – 205 lbs5’10” – 210 lbs5’11” – 220 lbs
6’0″ – 220 lbsAny height over 6’0″ – 220 lbs

Maximum Height/Weight Chart - METRIC
1.52 m – 72 kg1.55 m – 75 kg1.58 m – 77 kg
1.61 m – 79 kg1.64 m – 82 kg1.67 m – 84 kg
1.70 m – 86 kg1.73 m – 88 kg1.76 m – 91 kg
1.79 m – 93 kg1.82 m – 95 kg1.83 m – 98 kg
1.84 m – 99.7kgAny height over 1.84 m – 99.7kg