Coming from a big city in the heart of Germany I’ve never really experienced the wilderness, yet alone lived in it and by its rules or rode a horse. So before arriving at Chilcotin Holidays I had taken a few western-horseriding lessons to give me a little head-start on my two-week Guide School, where I would be working and riding horses every day for several hours to become a Cowboy.
The first week of Guide School was designed to prepare us for the use and care of horses in the back country – how to properly wrangle, saddle, ride, pack and shoe your horse. We woke up at the crack of dawn every day to chase the horse down into the corral from where we picked and worked with different horses throughout the day in order to know their personalities.
Our daily evening-rides lead us on trails around the Ranch, down to Gun Creek and around Pearson Pond. During these rides we not only discovered new trails and beautiful scenery but also got a better feeling for our horses.
My horse Nadila, a tall and strong brown steed, was a gentle giant who tested her new (novice) rider at any given opportunity by stopping to graze every now and then or going left when I wanted to go right and vice versa. She knew exactly what I was and wasn’t capable of and what might sound frustrating at first (which it was at that time) turned out to be some of the most valuable lessons: Nadila tough me how to feel and foresee her every move, which prepared me to later maneuver her with only slight touches on the steep and narrow trails around Leckie Camp.
At Leckie Camp, we didn’t burn daylight and started out early at six in the morning in the morning – while one group fed and then saddled the horses, the others prepared breakfast.
Our daily rides led us along Leckie Creek, through the forest, clearing trails to break through further into the back country, where Nadila impressively demonstrated her skills and endurance stepping over dead-fall and climbing mountains. After trailblazing for two days we reached Beaver Pond and were rewarded with a breathtaking view on the valley and South Chilcotin Mountain Range.
In the evening, after taking care of the horses and having dinner, we gathered around the campfire and told eachother stories about the wild west and how the cowboys back then lived life to the fullest. Returning back to the Ranch I felt like one of them, returning from the bush a lot dirtier but whole and with a lot more experience.