May 20, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
100 Mile House, Guest Ranches & Horseback Riding
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For years my wife has been trying to convince me to go on a horse riding vacation, but I was always more than a little reluctant to agree because of a couple of bad experiences I had when I was younger. Finally after some coaxing she convinced me to try it out.
I've always had a fondness for the Cariboo after spending a few years as a youth growing up at 92 mile on highway 97. So we did a little research and found Free Rein Guestranch at Bridge Lake, it looked perfect, and it was! When we arrived we received a very warm welcome from our hosts Kathy and Finlay (and of course little Benny their pet dog)and were shown our accomodation for the week, a great little log cabin that was just right for the four of us. I love log cabins and this was perfect, located nicely right in front of the lake with a great porch for just sitting and taking in the view.
If you like birds and bird watching the amount of different birds on the property is unbelievable. Once we were settled in, Debbie (the owner/host/wrangler) and Mervin (the wrangler) wasted no time in getting us familiar with the horses. They carefully chose horses for us that would be compatible with our riding skills (mine being zero!), and had us enter the corral, and approach and harness our own horses. Letting me do this on my own quickly made me realize that horses aren't big scary monsters that are out to kill me, but really amazing animals. Although I wasn't successful at actually catching the horse they had chosen for me, just being among them did me a world of good in getting over my anxieties. They then had us groom the horses to get us comfortable around them and letting them get to know us.
In the evening we all sat together for a homecooked meal and discussed the days events and what we wanted to do during our stay. After dinner we played some snooker and darts and enjoyed getting to know our hosts. The following days and nights were fantastic, consisting of training and horsemanship and some trail rides, some trails were easy and relaxing others were more challenging with steep hills and water crossings. We also tried our hand at barrel racing in the riding arena. Mealtimes and evenings were very enjoyable with great conversation and enjoyable activities. My wife and two children 12 and 14 had an excellent time and didn't want to leave, we actually ended up staying an extra night. All in all I found this trip to be very therapeutic, the best vacation I've ever had and I would highly recommend Free Rein Guest Ranch to everyone! And this is coming from someone who wasn't very fond of horses. The hosts are excellent and make you feel right at home and the surroundings are spectacular. I wish we had had more time to enjoy all of the activities that were available, maybe next time.