Holidays

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A Lesson in Building Trust - A First Nations teacher and horsewoman, Bella Capoose, had expressed the desire to go to the mountains again by horseback as she had done as a young girl. Bella’s friends, outfitters Dave and Joyce Dorsey, made the trip into the Mackenzie Valley of Tweedsmuir Park possible so that Bella could rekindle the memories of family and friends and a way of life that had depended heavily upon horses.

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The horses were tired and hungry, and we needed to find them good feed. We had travelled all day in the alpine, over shale ridges and snow patches, through meadows that were just greening up, and finally over a pass between two rocky promontories. Route finding had gone well, but the last trail — dropping 1000 feet down into a pass — eluded us. We ended up in the bottom of a bowl above 400 foot cliffs, taking the brunt of a nasty wind.

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Trail riding across endless tall-grass Canadian prairie in summer sunshine, possibly through a herd of bison, was a long-term dream that drew me like an arrow to Saskatchewan. But it took the misery of a snowy six-month-long northern winter in Terrace, BC, to turn the dream into reality.

Yukon horse packing trip

Out the plane window the sun casts a golden glow on the mountains below as the clouds of pink and purple fade to black. My dream of experiencing the wilderness of Canada’s Yukon on horseback is finally coming true. Landing in Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon since 1953, I drag my bags across the street to the hotel to settle in for the night.

Circle Z Ranch

The oldest continuously operating dude ranch in Arizona (since the 1920s), Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia is a 6500-acre oasis of peace and calm, perfect for a relaxing retreat. Managers Jock and Pamela Soper began visiting Circle Z in the 1980s as guests, fell in love with the ranch, land, and people, and are now in their third season as staff.

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Several years ago I googled “Africa + Horses + Volunteer” and found myself travelling solo to Mozambique for two months. I volunteered with Mozambique Horse Safari on the shores of the Indian Ocean, billed as “the best beach riding in the world.” That first trip from my home on Vancouver Island was a big leap for someone who had taken up riding later in life. It was also the beginning of a relationship with horses and Africa that continues to this day.

Winter Holidays for Horse Lovers

By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne - It goes without saying that just about any equestrian’s dream vacation is going to include horses. But while many riders may fantasize about galloping with the gauchos in Argentina, or piaffing on Lusitanos in Portugal, the hard truth is that time and budget make such trips prohibitive for most of us. If you’d like to get away this winter, consider staying closer to home. There are plenty of wonderful getaway opportunities for the equine-inclined within Canada and the U.S.

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