Frequently Asked Questions

The "Bar M' states that it is not a dude ranch. What is the difference between a dude ranch and your guest ranch? To begin with, a dude ranch has a social atmosphere with many guest accommodations that house a multitude of people. Meals are generally served in a community hall and trailrides are typically comprised of large, mixed groups. They generally host additional activities to entertain their guests, both adults and children alike. Rates are usually charged per person, per day, including all meals and group horseback riding for each day of the guest's stay. The "Bar M" is a large ranch with one accommodation, so it is quiet and private here with absolutely no crowds. Our private horseback rides are separate from our accommodation so you can schedule however much riding you want to do or none at all. The Bar M is a kickback place...totally uncommercialized and private with nature as its' entertainer. Guests are free to do as they please--we do not organize or structure your day for you. Our accommodation rates are for the cabin itself--not per each guest, per day. We don't serve any meals here, however our accommodation has a full kitchen with everything you need if you want to save money by preparing your own meals or there are plenty of fine restaurants in Bandera, just 2 and 1/2 miles away.

How far is the "Bar M" from San Antonio and how close are you to the nearest town? The ranch is approximately 42 miles northwest of San Antonio, Texas--a simply great place to visit--and only 2 and 1/2 miles from Bandera, Texas, the Cowboy Capital of the World.

Your accommodation looks and sounds great! Does it really include everything that you're advertising for that good of a rate? Yes, it does. We refer to it as an efficiency apartment. It boasts a full kitchen stocked with dishes, utensils, pots, pans, microvwave, coffee maker, toaster and dining table. It has an in-room washer & dryer, alarm clock, full bath, hair dryer, iron & ironing board, live plants throughout, covered porch, covered carport, a barbequer and a campfire ring. For your entertainment it has TV with stereo surround sound, DVD & video player with a 200+ video library, plus a stereo radio & CD player. Two queen-sized futons double as sitting and sleeping arrangements for up to four guests. And it is all well-maintained and refreshingly clean.

I've never slept on a futon...is it comfortable? We've had numerous guests comment that they found the futons surprisingly comfortable. They are equipped with thick, quality mattresses that are neither too soft nor too hard.

Are pillows, linens and towels furnished or do we need to bring our own? Those are all furnished plus just about anything else you would need to enjoy a comfortable stay.

Do you allow children to stay in your accommodation? YES...children are welcome at the Bar M however we don't have any activities to entertain them like the dude ranches do.

Are pets allowed? YES...Well-behaved pets are allowed at the Bar M for an additional fee of $10 per pet per stay.

What other activities are available at your ranch? The only activities we offer are nature related...hiking, birdwatching, wildlife feeding stations, ranch operations and the convenience of on-site horseback riding.

You advertise private trailrides...what does that mean? A private trailride means only your group with a wrangler will be on that ride. No others will be booked along with your group.

There is only myself in my group...will you take just me? YES...since all rides are private, it will be just you and your guide.

Can we ride horses at the "Bar M" without staying there? YES...Day rider's are welcome however we give our ranch guests first priority on all trailrides.

Your website states that you are a working cattle ranch. Can we do some cowboying when we're on the horses? Sorry, but no. We run a cow & calf ranching operation and if the horses were allowed to work the herd, not only would it upset the mama cows, it would make the herd afraid of the horses and you wouldn't be able to observe the cattle when we run into them on our trailrides.

Your website states you'll give us free basic instruction before our trailride...what does this entail? Many of our riders have little or no knowlege about horses and horseback riding. Since we're only dealing with your group, we are pleased to spend however much time you want explaining the nature of the horse to you and why they do the things that they do, to discuss any fears or insecurities you might have, how to take charge and be in command, how the bit works in the horse's mouth, the proper way to mount and dismount, the proper way to sit in the saddle so as not to bounce, a demonstration of the proper way to rein a horse and control him with gentle pressures, and so much more. Like we advertise, we'll spend as much time as necessary to teach you everything you need to know about trail riding and in a manner that you can understand and relate to, so that your horseback riding experience will be comfortable and enjoyable. And all the while we're teaching you, you'll be interacting with your horse for the day and making friends with each other before you mount him to ride.

Why do you do all of this for free when others charge a lot of money for the same type of instruction? First of all, your comfort and safety is a priority with us and we just don't believe in putting you on a horse, slapping it on the butt and telling you to "have a good ride." We've heard so many horror stories from our guests about rides they've taken elsewhere where they've been bucked off, or the horse reared on them and they fell off. Some have been bitten, kicked and too many have been on run-away horses headed back to the barn, and etc., etc., etc. Many of these incidents can be attributed to the rider's lack of knowledge in handling the horse. Improper handling may have been hurting him, so yes, he reacted by bucking or rearing or kicking or biting--whatever it took to make that hurting stop! And other incidents can be attributed to the horse itself who may have been ruined by too much improper handling. Here at the Bar M, we have well-trained, responsive horses that benefit from correct riding. Proper riding and handling prevents the rider from hurting them which in turn keeps them comfortable, relaxed and content with their job. And that same proper handling maintains their level of training and prevents them from being ruined. So therefore, we are happy to instruct you for free.

Why do you have a 225 pound weight restriction on horseback riding? State law requires that a rider weighs no more than 20% of the horse's body weight when that horse is used for hire. Our horses are average-sized at around 1100 pounds.

Why don't you take children under 12 on your trailrides? Since our horses are well-trained and responsive, we don't feel they are suitable for the little ones. The safest type of horse for a child is one that won't do anything more than just continue its slow walk down the trail, no matter what it's rider is doing to him.

What do you mean by "hands-on" handling? There is no better way to learn about horses when you participate in feeding, grooming and learning how to tack them for a ride.

Can we bring some treats for the horses? By all means, yes--they LOVE treats! In fact, we always have our guests give a round of alfalfa "cookies" to the horses after each and every ride. And they just absolutely love it when someone brings something more special, like carrots, apples or watermelon rinds.

Why do you limit your rides to small groups of one to three riders? A small group can do so much more than a large group that is often held back by one or more riders who aren't adapting well to horseback riding. At the Bar M, we can do a bit more than a walk with your group if you want to, providing we feel it is safe for your group to do so.

What is the benefit of riding on private lands as your website advertises? To begin with, the Texas Hill Country is spectacular no matter where you ride, on public or private lands. Typically, the clientele that we cater to are seeking solitude away from the public and you certainly won't see another human being or very many signs of civilization when you're on one of our rides. Our trails include all the terrain that the Hill Country has to offer...pastures with hill views, creeks, waterfalls, spectacular rock formations, woods and hills. And because there are no other humans traipsing around, the odds of seeing wildlife are greatly increased. Also, there are no additional entrances fees to public lands added to your horseback riding costs.

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Email us at mtbarmranch@aol.com or click on the horse below to contact the "Bar M Ranch"



P.O. Box 153 Bandera, Texas 78003

(830)796-9096 Office.....(830)796-1164 Cell Phone