Riata Ranch     What We’re All About

Riata Ranch has been in existence for 58 years as an organization, dedicated to enriching and enlightening the lives of young people through horsemanship and western performance.

Riata Ranch provides a basic and thorough equine education and horsemanship for youth.  It’s a unique concept that teaches valuable life-lessons of hard work, discipline, pride and respect from the back of a horse of which to date 3,500 students have been able to experience which is chronicled in a book about the program, titled “Riata Ranch Cowboy girls – Life Lessons Learned on the Back of a Horse

Riata Ranch is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to:

 Enriching and enlightening young people by building positive life skills in a safe environment that in turn changes lives by allowing good kids to become great citizens.

Cowboy Girls

The Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls are known worldwide for their western performing arts including trick riding and trick roping.  To date, they have traveled to 18 countries and across the United States representing the Western American lifestyle.  Each girl is a product of the training provided by the Riata Ranch Youth Horsemanship Clinics and the philosophy and way of life exemplified in the daily routines at Riata Ranch. Students chosen for the teams go through an extensive program that focuses on combining physical skills that promote positive life skills.

We are always searching for young women to become members of the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girl’s performance team. Although our riding lessons and clinics provide a path to becoming a Cowboy girl, we also offer special training. Please inquire about an application if you are interested in the performance team. Open to girls 14 years and older.

Jennifer     Welch Nicholson

Riata was created in 1957 by late founder, Tommy Maier.  Today, Riata Ranch is under the direction of Jennifer Welch Nicholson,  who has been associated with Riata Ranch for 39 years starting as a young student and then becoming one of the four original trick riding performers in the late 1970’s, an international team leader in the 1980’s through the 1990’s and administrative staff for the last 10 years.

What They’re saying

“You learn nothing useless here at Riata Ranch. You learn about yourself, how to step outside the box, and overcome life’s challenges through teamwork.”

- Brandi, 25 years-old, 13-year member

“At Riata Ranch, you are encouraged to be yourself, and when you are yourself, you are accepted.”

- Dominique, Riata Ranch alumni, volunteer