Horseback Riding Vacations in Canada

by admin on May 14, 2013

Horseback Riding Vacations in Canada
One of the nice things about being the second-largest country in the world, aside from bragging rights, is the enormous variety of terrain within one’s borders. And while Canada is well-known – and deservedly so – for its picturesque mountain ranges, maple syrup and the sentence suffix “eh,” many are unaware of its beautiful beaches, its dense coniferous forests and its open plains where a man can see both horizons with no obstruction.

This makes for what I would call an ideal vacation spot.

Granted, I’m more the adventurous type. I mean, you give me a beach and I’ll sip a pina colada. You give me the sun and my skin will be bronze before day’s end. Give me a coral reef and I’ll scuba dive the crap out of it. But the typical tropical vacation always seems so restrictive – the beaches, the resort and wherever the resort bus will take you (after you fork over a couple hundred bucks) are your only stomping grounds. No wilderness. Little nature except an ocean (rimmed by fancy resorts, so how natural is it really?). And no maple syrup.

When given a choice, I’ll take the maple syrup. And if you’re the nature-loving type, the adventure-seeking type, or a pleasant mixture of both, Canada has all you need: millions of acres over 43 National Parks, adventures from coast to coast over a variety of terrains, and a crapload of horses.

Why You Should Ride a Horse in Canada

Why horses, you ask? A few reasons:

1. Horses are one of the most majestic creatures in the world (and unlike the other majesties, they won’t eat you if you try to saddle them).
2. You can explore much more terrain with four legs than with your own inferior two.
3. Initiating a bond with a horse is one of the most emotionally rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Not as cool as Avatar, but still a pretty incredible bond.
4. Have you ever taken a horse up to a gallop? Then you shouldn’t have even had to read this list in the first place.

Horseback riding on your nearest local ranch or in the closest metro park does not hold a candle to a horseback ride across vast stretches of mountain pass, forest trail and grand beaches. Whether you prefer the Lone Ranger route or want to roll with a posse of fellow riders, all options are available in the second-largest country in the world (did I mention that fact yet?).

Top Three Horseback Riding Destinations in Canada

Three Bars Ranch

Three Bars Ranch in British Columbia is ideal for a family getaway because it has trails and horses for all experience levels. If you have a family or are just starting out, Three Bars Ranch is quite literally the perfect destination for you. Even if you’re an experienced rider, this place has some of the most beautiful vistas and scenic trails you’ll find in all of Canada. Opportunities are also available here for fly fishing, whitewater rafting and mountain biking.

Spring Lake Ranch

Also in British Columbia, Spring Lake Ranch’s emphasis is on rest and relaxation. And with 10,000 acres of forest, trails and lakes to explore, you shouldn’t have trouble finding some quiet solitude here.

However, if your tack is a little more rustic . . .

Guest Ranches

The level of self-sufficiency you want to attain depends on how much time you want to spend researching. Most guest ranches in Canada offer cabins in the wilderness that are technically off-site, but to truly get that immersive wilderness experience where you’re crossing paths with herds of elk and deer, that’s something you’ll likely have to create on your own, ideally with the assistance of a guest ranch and some friendly locals. Regardless, innumerable guest ranches litter the Canadian countryside that can be found with a simple Google search. Canada is your oyster.

A horseback riding vacation in Canada should definitely be on your bucket list. Whether you prefer the great outdoors with a scenic trail ride and nary a soul in sight, or would rather experience life on a real working ranch surrounded by fellow ranch hands, a horseback riding trip to Canada should be in store for you.

And if you can handle the cold and can find the ranch, I recommend hitting a more northern latitude between the months of late September and late March for a chance at seeing the aurora borealis – the Northern Lights. 2013 is a time of solar maximum, so if you can make it, this is the year to go.

Jeff Hirz is a writer, freelancer and equine aficionado with a flair for the canter. This article was written on behalf of One Stop Equine Shop.

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