Horses grazing on ranch.
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If you like the outdoors and working with horses, you might love working on a ranch.

So you've been dreaming of getting away from the daily grind of life in a big city or the blandness of the suburbs. Maybe you fantasize about exploring the wilderness, love caring for horses or just want to work with your hands instead of sitting in a cubicle. You'd love to own your own ranch somewhere out West with a few hundred acres full of cattle, but you could never afford one. What if you could just live on someone else's ranch for a while, handle some maintenance and daily chores, keep the place running and keep the animals healthy and happy? Sure, the wages would be modest, but you'd be living the dream -- your dream.

Ranch caretaking can be a hard but rewarding job. For some people, it's a working vacation that lets them enjoy the outdoors. For others, it's a permanent job and the ranch is a lifelong home. You could work on a ranch for a season or two, or stay there for many years. It takes certain skills and experience to qualify, but ranch caretaking offers an opportunity to experience an entirely different lifestyle than what most of us are used to.

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If you're not looking to become the permanent caretaker of a working ranch, you can always find out what ranch life is like by working on a dude ranch. There, you can do ranch work for a few weeks or an entire season. This is a form of agritourism, and there are lots of ranches set up to accommodate "weekend warrior" ranchers. If you're looking for a break from your everyday routine, read on to learn how to become a ranch caretaker.