Holidays

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Spending all day with your horse, visiting with friends, and riding a variety of trails pretty much describes horse camping, so it’s no surprise that many riders consider horse camping to be the ultimate adventure. Although performance riders often haul to a different facility for a clinic or competition, put their horse in a stall, and camp out in their rig, trail rider-style horse camping is a bit different.

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It’s a beautiful day to head out to the mountains for some playtime. You grab your horse and tack and head out in the afternoon for a quick ride to your favourite spot. It’s 28 degrees Celcius and you don’t see a cloud in the sky. You grab a light windbreaker for “just in case,” get on your horse, and soon you’re enjoying the peaceful sights, sounds, and smells of the forest.

Stan Walchuk Jr, horse trail riding, trail riding guide

For many people riding across a pasture, down a laneway, or along a road is considered to be trail riding. It’s a good thing that we have those options since we cannot instantly wish ourselves onto the wilderness trail of our choice. But interesting trails spoil us

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Holidays on Horseback - Sven, the Haflinger pack pony, jerked his head up and snorted. I looked uphill towards our camp and caught a humpy flash of beige ducking behind a stunted fir tree. Grizzly, I thought. I was hand-grazing Sven and my paint mare, Jewel, on a frosty July morning in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia during a solo pack trip. When Sven jerked his head up again, a beige grizzly bear shambled downhill towards us. Just 20 metres uphill from the first bear, a second bear rose up on its hind legs out of the brush before dropping down onto all fours and following the frontrunner. As the two bears lumbered towards us, Sven danced around on his lead line while Jewel kept grazing, and my heart beat a little quicker. As I considered what to do, a third bear trundled out of the trees and followed the first two. They were all grizzlies, all full size, and all coming straight at us. I started to sweat.

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Holidays on Horseback - For the first time in a long time, I did not leave my home country, or even my province, at all this past year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last time I packed my helmet and chaps to fly to a new place for an equine adventure was in November 2019, when I travelled to New Zealand for The Land of the Long White Cloud Ride with Wild Women Expeditions. Reflecting on all of the wonderful opportunities I have had in my career as a photojournalist specializing in horseback riding vacation articles, I treasure the memories and am thankful for the opportunities. Experiencing little pockets of the world that the typical tourist never sees and meeting wonderful people from all over the planet with one thing in common — the horse — has been an exciting venture. In my opinion, the saddle of a native equine is one of the best seats one could have to breathe the scents, take in the views, and experience the nuances of a different culture. With the pandemic forcing us all to stay close to home, I am sure many of you are itching to get out there once the travel bans are lifted. If a riding vacation is in your future and you are wondering where to go, hopefully I can give you a few things to think about and help you narrow down your options.

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On any riding vacation, whether it’s camping or glamping, there are a few essentials that I always bring along.

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As we trudged up a scorching gully of black boulders, I tried to ignore my parched throat and the sweat dripping down my back. It was a late afternoon in February, 2020, and I was hand-walking Farouk, a spicy, 14.1 hand, 18-year-old chestnut Arabian stallion who preferred galloping across the desert to fancy footwork in rocky ravines

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Canadian Quarter Horse Association