Monday, August 13, 2018

Alberta Open Farm Days: Ophus Guest Ranch

Horseback riding at Ophus Guest Ranch - Photo by Deanne Fabrick


This post was sponsored by a partnership between Alberta Open Farm Days, Yellowhead County, and Community Futures West Yellowhead.  I received monetary compensation in exchange for this post. As always, all thoughts and options are my 100% my own.
Ophus Guest Ranch is a true rural Alberta gem, where horses are a way of life.  Situated on 100 acres of land, and ran by Tom Ophus, the ranch is a small slice of paradise. Tom's nephew Jade Liggat, who helped Tom facilitate our tour, enjoys taking a pause from his busy pace working in the city to enjoy the farm life every summer, and help out at the Ranch.


 

The ranch hopes to take folks back to yesterday year, providing the opportunity for those of all ages and abilities to learn about horsemanship in a fun and safe environment. 

There's plenty to do at the ranch during Alberta Open Farm Days including:


Horse Driving Demos
10am, noon, and 2pm
Learn about harnessing, fitting, and adjustments.  The ranch will provide demos on single hitches.  Learn how to safely drive horses to disc and grade an arena as well as hitches for other equipment. 


Free Photos with the Horses
Get gussied up in a cowboy hat and enjoy some free time being around the ranch's well trained horses.  The ranch will have photo opportunities for the whole family to create lasting memories. 


Pony Rides
($2/ride)
Meet the ranch's adopted pony named Coco.  He loves people and attention.  All money raised during pony rides help support Coco over the winter to keep him warm and well fed so he will be back for more rides and smiles next year. 


Chicken Coop Demo
Ophus Guest Ranch raises organic chickens ever year.   This year they have 100 Cornish Giants and Columbian Rocks.  Learn how they humanly raise organic meat birds and the see firsthand the tools that they use.  They even have a 30 second chicken plucker. 


Greenhouse Tours and Plant Sales 
They don't just horse around at Ophus Guest Ranch.  Visit their greenhouse and garden for a taste of what's growing.  Various plants will be for sale, and their will be an opportunity to learn more about local area mushrooms. The greenhouse will also host a seed swap, so be sure to bring your family favourites to swap seeds and prepare for next year. 

Pop & Refreshments
$2 each
Spend some time around the cowboy fire sharing stores and learning about horsemanship.  Other treats and muffins will be for sale at a small cost. 


I was excited to see that Ophus Farms grows a variety of Golden Raspberries, a true delight especially if you've never had them before.  The flavours are less acidic and slightly sweeter than your typical raspberry. 

 

While I was visiting I had the privilege of going on a trail ride.  It had been a really long time since I was last on a horse (15 years to be exact!) so I was a bit nervous before I went.  As soon as I got to the ranch, Jade and Tom immediately put me at ease, and I was able to ride the horse on my own without being led.  There was a moment that the horse saw the barn and started to gallop, and before I even knew what was happening, one of the farm hands quickly reacted and gained control of my horse for me.  This farm is extremely experienced and the horses are very well trained - no matter what your level of comfort is around horses you will feel at ease in their hands. 


The Ranch raises their own pigs and organic chickens for their family's consumption.  They don't sell meat to the public, however they do receive piece of mind knowing where their meat comes from, and making sure that the animals all have a good fulfilling life on the farm.



In addition to all of the great livestock, the farm has some of the cutest farm cats I have ever seen to date (and I've been to a lot of farms this summer!). I can't think of a better life for a domestic animal. All of the animals were so happy, loved, and well taken care of, it felt really nice visiting this farm and seeing how passionate they are about creating an good experience not only for the public, but for the animals within the farm as well.  That's so important to me, and it should be important to you too.


Needless to say, I can hardly wait to get back on the saddle and join Ophus Guest Ranch for more horseback riding and trail rides, which they offer to the public for a steal of a deal at only $45/hour.  If you can't make it to Alberta Open Farm Days this year (though what better way to experience firsthand what the farms in your community offers), be sure to check out this ranch the next time you need a break from your daily routine - you won't regret it. 

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