Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chilcotin Holidays

Riding in the wild as an assistant guide

First experience in the wild as an assistant guide.

We have all watched an old western movie with beautiful horses, cowboys wearing proudly their famous hat and galloping across the wild. Well this is not exactly what we are doing here but there are definitely some similarities. First of all we follow the riding western gear such as the hat and the jeans. They are very useful and it's always best if you have a bandana to protect you from the dust. Then we also leave our horse unattended with the reins on the ground. I was intrigued the first day I've done it but it makes sense now : the horse is intelligent enough to understand how it works not to pull on his mouth when he walks on it and he can eat grass when stopped.

Once you are on  the horse you have to hold the reins in one hand, I personally find it so much easier. The horse is very sensitive about your body weight and no need to pull the reins at all just lightly moving them from the center to the side you decide to turn. I also use the opposite leg to the direction I turn to make my order clear and move the back legs of the horse. It wasn't hard for me to ride with a western saddle, they are much more comfortable and I feel like I'm much closer to the horse, I can feel his moves a lot better. So it is different from what I was used to but I thing it suits me better. 

What is very different is the environment I'm riding in now. No gymkhana anymore, where I was going in circle, bored and unhappy. No, now I'm out in the wild. One of the first rides I have been on was to the river, along Gun Creek where I had to cross Pearson Creek two times. Amazing to see that my horse Scout, knew exactly where to walk and didn't slip at all. Also we went up and down and the horse had no trouble finding her way. All I had to do was making sure she wouldn't chose a path where I couldn't go under a tree but a part from that she was the one making most of the decisions. I loved it, Scout was my team player and I had all my trust in her. It's a wonderful thing to rely on your horse because that means you trust her with your life.

It took another dimension when I became a guide assistant after being only 6 weeks at the ranch. I got to work with a great guide, John, who had just finished the guide school and we were in charge of 2 riders. Our team was pretty balanced between the two of us. I was amazed to see how confident he was and he allowed me to take my responsibilities. I did the riding orientation on my own, he was there to support me, and then I was in charge of being at the back. I checked on everyone often, making sure our guest would follow John's instructions when we were going over logs or in mud.

I know exactly what I need to work on now. And I will do anything it takes to keep going in the wild on a horse, as an assistant to begin with and then as a leader. This is my goal and I will learn from everyone here and share it too. Like this morning I wanted to make sure I wouldn't forget the new trail I had been on the day before, so I went back all the way on a bike with an intern who didn't know the trail. That's what we call a win-win here.

 Celina, France

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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