One of the best things about a dude ranch vacation is that kids from all over the country and the world get to come and be little cowboys and cowgirls for a week at Red Horse Mountain Ranch. Our Kids Program here at Red Horse is dedicated to making it the most exciting week possible for the lucky kids vacationing here. Not only do they get to experience horseback riding on our beautiful trails, but they get a chance to try out our climbing wall, kayaking, fishing, pottery barn, our Mega Zip, and much more! The kids have a blast under the watch of our wranglers, playing games and making friends that last beyond their vacation. Ana Baggiano, one of our Kid’s Wranglers, had a blast this summer as a part of the Kids Program.
Ana, originally from Charlottesville, VA, earned a degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the College of Wooster in Ohio. Before arriving at Red Horse Mountain Ranch, she worked as a children’s ski instructor at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. Prior to working as a ski instructor, Ana worked as an environmental educator at Casper Mountain Science school through the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps, where she helped educate young kids about nature and the ecology of Casper Mountain. Ana also spent several years as a summer camp counselor, and needless to say she found a perfect niche here at Red Horse Mountain Ranch! Check out her interview for a closer look at our Kids Program and what it takes to be a kids wrangler here at Red Horse.
What do you love most about working with kids?
Aside from getting paid to play, I think what I love most about working with kids is learning something new every single day. The kids I work with inspire me, they teach me new things, and help me see the world from new and different perspectives.
What was your favorite activity with the kids?
Though Thursday night Wine Dinners were long days for me, some of my fondest memories in the Kids Program were those Kids’ Night Outs. Friendship bracelets are definitely one of my fortes, and as silly as it sounds, teaching the kids how to make them was one of my favorite activities. Seeing a child or teen put down their cell phone to make a bracelet for their new ranch friend and engage in stories and talent shows around the campfire was a very cool experience for me.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working the kids program at red horse?
I kind of mentioned this earlier, but putting aside technology to connect with nature and animals was the most rewarding aspect of working in the Kids Program at Red Horse. By the end of the week, the kids would be swimming in the pond, connecting with their horse, or running around outside with their new ranch friends.
Was it hard to leave the kids at the end of the week?
Yes, there were some kids who I honestly think fell in love with Red Horse, and saying goodbye to them as their eyes welled up with tears was really difficult. There were also some children I think I really kind of connected with, and saying goodbye to them after only six days together seemed almost cruel. Red Horse is much more than a vacation for most of our guests, adults and children a like, and I like to think that all of our guests’ take away something positive, something that they will carry with themselves for years to come. Well, at least a fond memory that will last them until their return to the ranch :).
What was your favorite nightly activity?
What can I say, I’m a karaoke queen…the microphone just seems to somehow fall into my hands. Just call me Ana “Eminem” Baggiano.
Do you have a favorite horse?
Hands down, Poco is my favorite. He is such a handsome man! As a kid’s wrangler, we never go past a trot and Poco’s got the smoothest trot of them all. He may not be the fastest horse but I love him just the way he is!
As always, what is your favorite food at RHMR?
Mashed potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods so I obviously loved when Steve made them with the herb roasted chicken…om nom nom! Lauren’s chocolate chip muffins and snickerdoodles are two more of my weaknesses… really, anything Lauren makes. Mmm, and I love Steve’s crabcakes, steelhead with crispy shallots, cliantro lime shrimp– the list goes on and on.
Thanks to Ana for her incite into what our Kids Program is like for our wranglers and kids here at Red Horse Mountain Dude Ranch!