Life on the Ranch

dsc00186As I mentioned in my previous post, thanks to my severe lack of money drive and motivation for work, I decided to work for two weeks at Wild Horse Mountain Ranch so I could experience authentic Canadian life. I worked at a ranch located an hour East from Red Deer and two hours North from Calgary. Diane and Bear (the owners of the Ranch) own 180 acres of land, 4 dogs, 2 cats and 60 horses, with Summer camps on over the months of June through to August, it’s safe to say that they often need as much help as possible.

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Whilst I was there, I was working with 7 other girls, Hella and Olivia from Germany, Marian from Australia and 4 Brits, myself, Annabel, Eloise and Leanne. Funnily enough Leanne studies Veterinary Science at the university of Bristol and it turns out we had a load of mutual friends, a funny reminder of how small this world can be at times.

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Vet Leanne with Medicine Horse Merlin.

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Our work mainly consisted of cleaning and organising. They have several barns on their property and are planning to move to British Columbia next February so are trying to get everything organised in advance of the big move. I mean, they do have to transport 60 horses which believe me is no easy task, it was difficult enough to get the herd to shift from one field to the other! I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like to transport them over 600 miles. Anyway, in preparation for the move, we had to sort and relabel everything from ovens and furniture to saddles with a combined history of over a thousand years to leather harnesses and straps to DVDs and VCRs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much stuff! We endured the tedious work in hopes of a few hours riding in the afternoon which we were normally allowed to do providing the weather was nice.

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Even though I moan about the work, working at the ranch was definitely a worthwhile experience as it gave me the opportunity to learn more about Western riding, something I only did a handful of times when I was working in Pennsylvania. Diane and Bear also do a lot of energy work; a concept I haven’t heard much about before. One of the highlights was joining in on some of the sessions that Diane holds. On one Saturday we spent the afternoon learning about Reiki and getting our beginner qualifications, you can learn more about Reiki here, and within my top 10 highlights of Canada was the Mother/Daughter weekend. Unfortunately only one mother and daughter were able to come but fortunately for us, we got to join in with all the activities.

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Those Albertan skies are just something else.

The first activity was groundwork. I normally hate groundwork, I nearly always find it boring and I just want to get on with riding but this was so different and I loved it. I actually think that in this case, the groundwork was almost better than the riding.

I had chosen a horse called Prince, he was a rescue horse and one of the first horses that I spotted when I first got to the ranch due to his amazingly long and beautiful mane. He ended up being my favourite out of all 60 thanks to the time we spent doing groundwork.

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Sunrise riding with my main boy.

Diane taught us how groundwork can actually help you bond with your horse and encourage you both to learn more about each other. Prince and I formed quite the bond which is apparently rare as he is quite fussy with who he likes. We learnt about their energy and how different energies can affect a horse’s mood. One of my all-time favourite moments was when Prince followed me straight over a small jump despite never jumping before. He was quite the natural, especially considering it was not a fixed up jump but a fallen tree in the forest.

The more time I spent with Prince the more I loved him. Despite his angelic appearance he was quite the troublemaker, winding up other horses and resulting in his own injury. However, even though he was frequently kicked and bitten, his spirit was never dampened and he always kept his sassy head high. It was so much fun just to watch him in the field and to see what he gets up to, it was even more fun to work with him and he made my time at the ranch incredible. I left him a month ago and I just miss him more and more.

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If you’re in Canada or planning on visiting, I definitely recommend staying at Wild Horse Ranch, they have so many activities and different things to do that it’s definitely worth the money if you’re looking for something different and special to do in Canada.

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If you have any more questions about what I did there then please just drop me an email!

S x

 

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