Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Chilcotin Holidays

Riding orientation: learning how to do Western Horse Riding

Before I started my internship at Chilcotin Holidays I had very few experience with horseback riding. Maybe three or four times in my life I have been sitting on a horse so far. And I never felt really confident with managing the horse. Nevertheless, I always wanted to improve that and to really learn how to ride a horse.

As an intern at Chilcotin Holidays, it is part of your training to get a riding orientation in about your first week here. I was really looking forward to the possibility to learn western horse riding. When the day of my riding orientation finally started, the first thing I had to learn was how to saddle the horse. There are a lot of things to remember, so after just one time doing it you won’t know everything by heart. But that doesn’t matter, as you will for sure get more chances to train these skills.

Before getting on the horse, you will also get all the instructions about for example how to make turnings or how to behave in different situations that might occur when riding on the trail, like for example dealing with wasps, bears and bikers. That was very interesting and helps you to feel safe and prepared for your adventure.

And then I started the “real” riding orientation. That means, I got onto the horse and we went to the practice ground, which we call the Gymkhana here. There are some logs on the ground to go over and barrels to ride around. Thanks a lot to Teepee, my horse! He was very patient with me and even though he sometimes wanted to test me at the beginning (like trying to stop all the time), I felt really safe on him and quickly gained more confidence.

After some time at the Gymkhana and several little exercises, we went back and prepared more horses. As a part of the riding orientation, you also go on a short trail ride and in my case it was combined with bringing all the horses that were at the ranch up the mountain to graze. This was a real adventure that you barely have the opportunity to do back at home in Europe! First we rode up the normal road, but soon we got off this road onto a little trail. This trail was from time to time extremely narrow and steep. So, as being a beginner, I was really concentrated the whole time to not forget anything of the instructions I had before. But of course, I also enjoyed it a lot! And I realized why those instructions are so important, like for example why you have to grab the mane when you go up a really steep slope. You learn those things best in the field, when you really have to apply everything. I will never forget what I have learned out there on this trip. And again, I am really thankful to Teepee, who safely led me through the Canadian wilderness.

Before I came here, I didn’t expect me to make so much success in just one day of riding orientation and I didn’t expect this orientation to be such an adventure. But I really loved this day and I have discovered the fun of Western horse riding! Learning how much you can trust your horse and that it is actually not that difficult to manage a (well trained) horse are amazing experiences you can make at Chilcotin Holidays. And exploring the wilderness of British Columbia on horseback is just impressive!

Fabienne, Switzerland

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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