I am Angy, 36 years old, grown up woman who decided to do an internship of 3 months at the Chilcotin Holidays Ranch as I am currently studying a Bachelor of Animal Science in order to become an Animal Behavior Researcher. My last 15 years work experiences were in Finance, Theatre and Sales.
I came to the ranch feeling really anxious as I wasn’t getting any younger and I couldn’t stand the new generation at university so I was scared not to be able to cope with the immature kids at the ranch. To my surprise, I was dealing with driven and ambitious kids, it was a big fresh air. They made me feel part of the team, and didn’t make me feel any different just because I was 10-15 years older; they respected me, and were open to share their dreams with me.
For the horses, I was happy to be around them, however it wasn’t my main motivation to come here as I had mixed feelings about riding them, I believed that after all horses were not meant to be ridden and it was cruel on our behalf to put a metal in their mouths and to dictate them what to do however after spending a few days at the ranch, I changed my mind really quickly. At the ranch, the horses are free to leave if they want to, they can go off the mountains and be left alone where the good grass and fresh water await them however they choose to stay at the ranch, and as soon as we come in into the barn, some of them come to us, like Teepee, or Billy, asking us to take them with us, something I had never really experienced before. I felt the horses were happy, the only thing they didn’t like, it is getting the cinch tight, they couldn’t stand that part but it was forgotten as soon as you let them eat that beautiful green grass, we were forgiven.
This experience has been a turning point in terms of my physical ability, as I had this idea that I was fit until I went on a trekking trip and horse pack trips, then I realized I wasn’t fit at all, my body was crying for help from the pain I was causing it, by waking up at 5am, staking the horses, cooking for the guests, riding for 6 to 8 hours, then staking again and cooking again and off to bed… I was crying from exhaustion and pain, tears were falling down, but courage was still standing by me. The more and more I went on those adventures, the stronger my body became, and the more I felt I belonged on the saddle in nature, my dream was starting to become a reality, riding through the beauty of Mother Nature through the trees who sang to themselves, we just had to listen and be open. Assertiveness was settling in as there was no other choice, the horses and guests had to be taken care of, their lives were in between our fragile hands, the only thing that was standing between us was trust. Also by becoming stronger, I realized it was a must for the horses to be strong also, that’s probably why they also enjoyed staying with us, and being ridden, we were challenging them and they liked it.
The last 2 years I worked in sales, selling medical equipment to elderly, at first I had so much empathy for them and I used to cry along with them when they shared their pains, but through my last few months of working with this company and having to listen to people’s sad stories, I started losing faith in humanity and being disgusted by it, therefore I protected myself from people who wanted to suck my energy for the wrong reasons and lost my vitality, and my friendliness until I came to the ranch and living in community. To be able to live my dream and to be true to myself, got me happy from within again, and I was once again shining like when I took the courage to do acting for a few years to self-discover myself, or to feel the same craziness I felt when I was a teenager and naïve and full of life and laugh. On horse pack trips, I experienced all type of guests, sisters, family with kids, teenagers, girlfriends… so it was lovely to have a diversity of people and I got along with all of them. I was always amazed to see guests who had never ridden in their lives and trusted the horses to take them on long rides for days. I always knew I wanted to live in a community, as after all, we are like the horses, we are social animals who belong in herds, I became to build really close relationships and to be inspired by those young kids. We were there for each other, in bad and good times.
Apart from the pack trips, at the ranch, I learned how to build gates, fences, to use the chainsaw, to shoe a horse, to cook for lots of people, to chop wood, to identify animal trails.
During this experience, I learned about myself that I was a strong, emotional, and fun woman and that I should believe more in myself as I am worth it. It also gave me the courage and the strength to act on a dream that was always within myself and I am now off to finish my degree, to be doing more internships with animals, to reconnect with my island Corsica and to spend time with Corsican wild horses so I can pick the horses of my life and go on an adventures with them if they agree to trust me. Thank you for this amazing experience, Kevan and Leandra, for creating this space where we can push ourselves and do things where nowhere else is possible, to give us faith, to believe in us… Thank you beautiful Canadian mountain horses, you were a delight to share that experience with, Duke, Meg, Billy, Lona, Royal, Mawson, Bubble, Wendy, and Grey thank you to carry me on those breath taking mountains, to keep me safe, to fill my heart with love, specially you Meg, I have never seen such a strong mare like yourself, you were my dream horse and hope we can meet again, and you Billy, such a handsome fella you are, if I was a mare, you would have been in trouble, hopefully my telepathy skills will get better so you can receive my love from far away both of you and thank you to all the people from the ranch who made this experience unforgettable and more important it was so much fun, and so much laugh were floating in the air, Jean, Catherine, Nadeshda, Edyta, Melvin, Rhea, Job, Simon, Finn, Christophe, Finja, Sarah, Anouk, Andre, Nick, Teegan, Cameron, Todd, Ed the super fixer, Celina, Mishou, Cynthia, Melanie, Florient, Emma, Jacob, Elka, Randy