Ultimate OE – Equine Programme

Horse Based Working Holiday’s

The Ultimate OE equine program has been running since 2012 and it is the only one of its kind in the world. Over the years we have placed over 300 young kiwis into guest ranch (horse trekking)  and other outdoor-based employment in Canada. Our unique model of “train before you go” has allowed us to build close relationships with our employers in Canada who look forward to their new Ultimate OE cadet every season. If you are passionate about horses, the outdoors, adventure and have a great work ethic then the equine program is for you. Taking people on treks through the mountains on horseback and being immersed in the world of western riding and culture.

What will I be doing?

Firstly you need to understand that you are there to work. This is a paid work placement so you will be expected to work for your pay cheque.

You will be involved in the equine industry in some capacity. Whether you start as a wrangler or a full-time trail guide or something in between, you will be working in for a respected guest ranch owner in Canada. Our employers offer everything from 2-hour trail rides to week-long pack trips into the mountains. They offer everything from advanced riding to basic trail rides. Larger ranches have a range of different employment options if riding every day doesn’t suit you personally.

We also have some full time packing positions available for those who don’t think a trail guide or wrangling position would suit them. This involves packing and trailing in strings of horses or mules with supplies in and out of backcountry camps. Less dealing with people, lots of riding/packing. 

We customize each placement for each graduate. We are not going to place you in a situation where you are out of your depths or somewhere where you have no interest. Some applicants may be more suited to more of a working ranch type placement (farming) but still horse based, we can discuss this option during the training course.

“We take all the worry, hassle and work out of finding the ultimate horse riding job in Canada. Our placements are safe, fun and the best Canada has to offer. You will be surrounded by good people, new friends and LOTS of horses!”

Who should apply?

We’re looking for hard working young kiwi’s who are motivated by the experience and the opportunity to work with horses at one of our industry-leading guest ranches in Canada.

Ideally, applicants should have a solid foundation in horses, experience with customer service or an outgoing personality suited to interacting with guests and staff, a sense of adventure, and most importantly a worth ethic that to match the sometimes mentally and physically demanding nature of working as a horseback guide, packer or wrangler in Canada. 

We have a minimum age of 19 years old at the time of training,

You must be able to mount a 16 hand horse, repeatedly and comfortably, from the ground without the use of a mounting block or other aid. This is a health and safety requirement for all our guest ranches in Canada for guides and wranglers taking groups of riders on treks into the mountains.

 Guest Ranch Wrangler / Guide  Placement

$4850- +GST

The standard package includes the 8-day course and a placement on a guest ranch in Canada This will give you approximately* 4 – 6 months paid work. We have a large range of different guest ranching jobs available. Where you are placed will be determined by your level of riding experience, your level of maturity and what you hope to gain out of the experience. We try to place the most suitable graduates with the most suitable employers in Canada. The standard package also includes a professional visa service to help streamline the process of obtaining your Canadian working visa.

We have placements to provide for the most experienced riders to those with limited riding experience. You should be prepared to work hard and have a passion for horses in both cases. 

 – Wilderness Cook Equine –

$1800 + GST

Work in the guest ranching industry as a wilderness cook. Placements range from 3 – 5 months in duration and also includes our wilderness cooking online training specifically tailored for the Canadian backcountry cooking industry. We have a range of placements available depending on how “remote” you feel comfortable with and how much riding you want to do while in Canada. 

Visit the wilderness cooking page 

Additional Placements

Winter ski resort placement – Full time work at a Canadian ski resort. If you wish to remain living and working in Canada over the winter this additional placement is a great option. It fits particularly well with the end of the guest ranching season and will give cadets the opportunity to continue working though the Canadian winter. We have access to a huge range of jobs with a large number of popular ski resorts in Canada. Previous Ultimate OE cadets who have completed this placement have work in everything from ski patrol too driving snow making equipment on the mountain. These placements are a great way to see a different side of Canada – we describe this placement as more “social”. You don’t need to have any previous skiing/boarding experience. The cost of an additional ski resort placement is $850 + GST and will add 6 -7* months of paid employment to your OE in Canada.

Where and when is the training course?

The equine training course for this coming season will be held on: 

February 21st to February 27th, 2020

Our training will be based in the south island out of Gunn’s Bush Camp which is located ten minutes out of Waimate, New Zealand.

A shuttle from Christchurch airport will be available to transport successful applicants to and from the training facility in Waimate. 

Applications for 2020 are now open. Places in 2020 will are limited in number and applicants will be accepted as we receive suitable applications throughout the year.


Applications for the 2020 season close on the 1st of Febuary 2020. Once we receive your application we will be in contact regarding the outcome. If you don’t hear from us advising you of the outcome of your application within two weeks please email us to confirm that we have received it.


Not ready to apply but want to stay in touch and get the latest updates on new experiences, opportunities, and up to date notifications when we open applications for a new season? Register below

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