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By Viv Chapleo, photos by Jill Hoelting
DAY 2 – HORSE RIDING AND HORSE WHISPERING
Jill and I started our morning with a mug of steaming coffee while enjoying the views and sunrise from the deck of our chalet. It was very peaceful, with only the sounds of birds chirping. When it was time to wake Jada for breakfast, the first thing she asked was, “Can we see the donkeys and take them carrots before our ride this morning?” The answer of, “Yes. If we get ready quickly and leave a few minutes early.” was enough to get her up and going.
This morning Jada insisted we needed to take more carrots with us. Apparently we would need enough for the donkeys and the horses we were going to ride! We had just enough time for a quick visit to see miniature donkeys Linda, Bonnie and her 6-week-old baby, Bonita, before our riding lesson.
Wranglers Darby and Amber were waiting at the barn for us with our horses tacked up. Jill would ride General, Jada was assigned Sunshine and I would be on Bandit. The one-hour riding lesson was perfect for all of us. Jill and I hadn’t ridden in four years so it was a good opportunity to work out the kinks and get our “horse legs” back again. Darby gave Jada excellent instruction and taught her basic skills necessary to ride Sunshine out on the trails.
When the riding lesson was finished we rode over to the barn and joined a few others that were scheduled for the two-hour morning trail ride (10 AM to noon). Wrangler Brice was our leader for the ride and took our group of 8 out along the trails that eventually led to a lake where we dismounted and gave the horses a short rest. Winding our way through meadows and heavily forested rolling hills amidst 20,000 acres of ranch land was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy family time with Jada, and for her to experience riding a horse in the great outdoors with her adventuresome aunties.
Finishing our morning ride shortly after noon, there was just enough time to make lunch for Jada at our chalet and get her over to the lobby in the main building for the afternoon Kid’s Camp (from 1-4 PM). Jada was tickled to meet Debbie, the leader in charge of the camp. As soon as Debbie mentioned grooming the donkeys, Jada was ready to go and barely looked back. Jill and I had a few hours to relax (the non-stop energy of a 7-year-old is incredible) and enjoy the ranch while Jada was off doing more fun activities and another horse ride; this time her one-hour ride would be on Raven (who she lovingly dubbed, “The Trotter”).
Meeting up with Jada after the Kid’s Camp ended, we were all smiles to see how excited she was and happily listened to her animated recollection of her fun afternoon. Oh, and… “Do I have time to do another Kid’s Camp tomorrow?” Although she was disappointed to learn that this was the only one scheduled, Jada soon moved on when asked if she wanted to take more carrots to the donkeys. Phew!
Dinner tonight was again in the Angus McVee Dining Room where Jada made her selection from the Kid’s Menu and Jill and I both ordered the daily soup – a delicious potato and leek soup with fresh bread and butter.
At 7 PM it was time for our trio to make our way back down to the barn to meet Sherry May – the Horse Whisperer. She had Trixie ready to walk over to the corral where she would demonstrate the art of horse whispering. For the next hour Sherry enthralled us with her knowledge and ability to read the horse and transfer her thoughts to Trixie. Sherry then asked for a volunteer to work with Trixie and of course we suggested Jada do it. This was a different experience for both Sherry and Trixie as it is typically adults that go in the ring and work with the horse, not a 7-year-old. But Jada was up for the job and did not hesitate one bit. Within a few minutes Sherry had Jada directing Trixie around the ring using just her mind, energy and body language. Then after a few more minutes Jada had completely gained Trixie’s trust and the horse was following her around like a puppy dog. It was a very special moment and quite the event to witness.
Our day had been very full and busy, so soon after returning to our chalet and showering away the dirt and dust from a day on the ranch it was time to hit the hay and dream of riding horses in the Cariboo wilderness.
IF YOU GO:
THE RANCH WILL REOPEN JULY 18, 2016 as Spruce Hill Resort
Spruce Hill Resort
108 Mile Ranch, British Columbia, Canada
Note: WAVEJourney were guests at The Hills Health Ranch for this review in August, 2014. All opinions, reviews and commentary are our own. Read our full disclosure statement to see our review policy.