May 11, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
Clearwater, Guest Ranches & Horseback Riding
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I have gone on trail rides before, but I was amazed to find our guide, Dominique, had no intention of taking us riding - at least not right away. Her approach to riding is to actually spend time with the horses and familiarize riders with the methods she uses to work with her horses. I really appreciated being taught something about how to handle a horse and not just plopped up on a dusty old mare to go for a trail ride. Each of us in our little group was asked to select a horse and I liked the light brown one called ‘Roper’.
We then walked over to an open area with our horses and we were instructed on how to make the horse back up, how to get them to move their hind quarters away from you and then the front quarters, and then how to get them to walk in a circle around you on a long lead. I realize these are trained horses, but there is a knack to getting them to do these things as they read your every move and look and interpret it accordingly so it took several attempts to get it it all right.
One of the most interesting tricks we were taught was that if we wanted the horse to stop walking in a circle or to get their attention you had to make a very serious or angry face and stare pointedly at their hind quarters. It was amazing to do this and watch as the horse did exactly as she said it would and immediately came to a complete standstill, looking at you expectantly and waiting to see what you wanted next. This was so very cool to see! It was like being a horse whisperer for real. It was this same circling technique that we used to load the horses into a trailer which was much easier to do than I would have thought. Roper of course was the youngest horse there so was harder to manage and the instructor had to help me out a bit. No matter, I actually learned something and I loved it.