Catholic Horsemanship Experience

12 - 18 May 2019

Catholic mountain mass.jpg

Come and celebrate our being Catholic as we explore a deeper relation with Jesus.  Make new friends.  Learn more about horses, riding, and yourself.

 The vision for this week is to combine being in the Montana mountains riding and learning more about horses with being open about our Catholicism and learning, experiencing, and sharing this part of our lives also.   Horses can teach us about ourselves, listening, and being open to what God is saying.

 We are blessed to have Father Sean Raftis spending the week with us.  He will celebrate Mass daily and give a teaching.  He will be available for Reconciliation by appointment.  He will be riding some with us.

 This is a full week experience.  The week starts Sunday morning with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Helena in Helena, MT at 9 am.  We will pick you up at your hotels to take you to Mass and then drive you to the ranch.  You will get a tour and get settled in your rooms before lunch.   After lunch, we will all get acquainted and then be matched with a horse.  The afternoon will be spent with the horses using the Parelli Ground Games to get to know your horse and the language we use with the horses.  Before dinner there will be a discussion on Why being Catholic is important and a few of the challenges.

 The schedule for the balance of the week will be similar each day.  The day will begin at 7 am with morning prayer and the rosary.  There will be a theme for the day presented.  Breakfast is about 8.  Right after breakfast we will catch and saddle the horses.  You are welcome to help with this if you want.  There will be a morning ride or lessons.  Lunch will be about 12:30.  There will be an afternoon ride or other options.  Two days there is an option of a full day ride with a lunch for those with riding ability and physical condition for the advanced ride.  Each day there will be an activity with the horses that helps you learn more about yourself, relationship, and spirituality.  There will be quiet reflection time.

 Each afternoon there will be Mass at 4:30 followed by the teaching.  Questions and sharing can continue during and after dinner.

 Friday will be the culmination with a Mass on the mountaintop that we all ride to as pictured.

There will be singing by the fire Friday evening.  Saturday we will provide transfers to Helena  to match your flights.

 This week is $1960/person sharing a room or in the single room.  A single person in a regular room is $2,260.  The tax is 2%, the deposit is 35%.

Mass on the Mountain with Fr. Sean Raftis, 2018.

Mass on the Mountain with Fr. Sean Raftis, 2018.

Catholic Cowboy Experience

Sunday, May 20th to Saturday, May 26th 2018


Imagine Harmony

Combining Faith, Reason,

and Horsemanship.


Cathedral of St. Helena

This Catholic cowboy experience will be a unique blend of horsemanship, theology, and science - all while being surrounded by the natural beauty of Montana mountains north of Helena, MT.  We offer you the opportunity to combine daily mass, horsemanship, and intellectual presentations and discussions with our special guest, Dr. Stacy Trasancos.

Dr. Stacy Trasancos

Dr. Trasancos, author of "Science Was Born of Christianity" and "Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science," is a theologian and scientist who has devoted much of her life to educating young people in the sciences with a healthy dose of awe and wonder at the workings of God.  She has her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Penn State University and also an MA in Dogmatic Theology from the Holy Apostles College and Seminary.  You can read more about Stacy at her website

Fr. Sean Raftis

Also joining us for the week's vacation is Fr. Sean Raftis, a local parish priest and one of the inspiring people for the truth behind the movie "Tag," coming out in theatres on June 15th. Fr. Sean is a remarkable man and has lots of incredible stories to share. He will be offering us mass daily and will be available for spiritual counseling and confessions throughout the week, as well as learning to rope and ride!

The Rocking Z Guest Ranch is hosting the Catholic Cowboy Experience, we specialize in Natural Horsemanship - how to understand at utilize the horse's nature in building a relationship.  Working with a horse requires mutual trust, communication, and respect - same as working with people. The horse offers us a selfless, non-judgmental mirror to work on these skills within ourselves - a unique journey for each horse-human combination. There will be Horsemanship games and skill-building, riding and trails, barrels, poles, cattle work, and more games. Also roping, archery, skeet shooting, hiking, fishing, lawn volleyball, billiards, and soaking in the enormous hot tub. The saloon always has beer on tap and options of bottles and wine, and there is space both for conversation and meditation. Find out more about the Rocking Z, our horsemanship and our riding, at

Ben and Maria Anderson, two of your hosts for the week!

Photo by Tracey Buyce

All this will start on Sunday, May 20th with the 9:00 mass at the Cathedral of St. Helena, then settling into the ranch and meeting the horses, followed by an evening discussion and presentation by Dr. Stacy Trasancos. The week will then follow the same rhythm - morning mass with Fr. Raftis before breakfast, horsemanship and riding with the Rocking Z team throughout the day, and evenings led by Dr. Trasancos. 

Riding down the trail

If you want to know more about horses, science and the truths of the Catholic Church, come enjoy this week on a Montana Guest Ranch! We are so excited to offer such a unique experience where you can combine a love of horses with faith and intellectual conversation.  We hope the week empowers you spiritually, intellectually, and physically from the week!

The experience is all-inclusive. For one price, you will have six nights at the Rocking Z alongside Dr. Trasancos and Fr. Raftis, all meals and activities included. The cost is $2100 plus $42 in tax per person - based on multiple occupancy (a single supplement of 50% will be charged when needed). A deposit of 35% of the total is required to confirm your place. Please get in touch with Patty or Maria at the Rocking Z to ask questions, chat, and book your experience! There are only 16 places available, so start planning now. Contact Patty by e-mail,, or by text message, 1-406-465-5534, or call the ranch and ask for Patty or Maria at 1-406-458-3890.