I love riding horses. Unfortunately I don’t own any and haven’t been on one in many years.
So recently I started thinking that there must be local stables or ranches that would let a person ride for a few dollars. I began to search online and happily discovered several local horse owners with ranches, stables or farms where anyone could be a cowboy or cowgirl for a small fee. Everything from trail rides to cattle drives is available. Gosh I love the internet.
One such place is Longriders RV Park just outside of Gibbons Alberta. They have a large park where folks living or camping in recreational vehicles can stay for a few days or a few weeks. Longriders also has over fourty horses and a lot of land with open fields, narrow trails carved through thick bush and bodies of water to cross on horseback.
So I called the number listed and talked to a wonderful woman named Gwen. She informed me that there was a trail ride coming up the following Saturday so I signed up on the spot.
The week went by very slowly as I was excited and looking forward to this fun event. I did have some apprehension though as I had riden alot when I was much younger and had been bucked off several times. I thought maybe there is a reason why I hadn’t riden in so many years.
Finally the day came and I drove the twenty minute jaunt out to the ranch where I drove along gravel roads through the rv park to the correls where the horses were tied. I was greeted by Gwen and handed a waiver to sign. I guess if I fell off and got trampled they wouldn’t be responsible. I hope you can tell I’m kidding. I paid my $30.00 and eagerly took a look at the horses.
I discovered that there were nine riders in all for this trail ride.
The horses were lined up and in the process of being saddled.
I quickly discovered the horse they had for me. A sixteen year old Clydesdale cross mare. This horse was huge! So big infact that I couldn’t reach the stirups. I had to use a stool to get on the thing. How embarrassing.
Once I was back in the saddle it felt natural and seemed like it had only been yesterday since I rode last. What a wonderful feeling.
The group I was apart of consisted of some children about ten or twelve years of age, their parents and a young couple who had never been on a horse before. This would be interesting.
We started to ride in single file. Our guide was a young girl of about twelve and another girl of about sixteen, Nicole brought up the rear.
At first we rode across a large open field in single file.
Then we rode onto some trails that led into thick bush. These trails weaved in and out through muddy patches and up some steep hills then down a trail past a stream. My horse, named Tee Pee, had a nasty habit of trying to brush me off by walking close to the trees. I felt in complete control and Tee Pee soon knew I was the boss.
One hour went by fast but I knew my backside would be sore the next day so I was content to call it a day.
Would I recommend Longriders for trail rides? Absolutely. A one hour trail ride plus travel time is only a couple hours out of your day if you are coming from Edmonton. In fact I have booked another trail ride for next week and have a cattle drive booked for the end of the month.
I would strongly suggest anyone who has never riden a horse come out to Longriders and experience some cowboy fun.
Happy trails to you . . . .
Martin Blair – Travel Writer