Tuesday 9 August 2022

Making up for lost time

 I feel like I fit the entire spring and summer calendar of events I missed into last week’s vacation.

I’m not sure I have the words to adequately recap everything we got up to. I’m sunburned, exhausted, and have a mountain of laundry and tack to clean…the hallmarks of any good horsey get away? 

If you haven’t been following along lately, some friends and I got a somewhat last minute idea to pack up our ponies for a week and venture to Hi Point Guest Ranch on Vancouver Island. Check out the link if you're interested in pictures of the facilities, since I didn't think to take any! 

Lake Bridget also came out of retirement and attended

Since my spring and summer went completely off the rails, Bridget got drafted for the job. I worked hard the last month or so to get her back to a level of fitness where bringing her wouldn’t be unfair.

The horses and humans all travelled well and on arrival we were pleasantly surprised that the farm was even nicer than advertised. We had a choice of paddocks or stalls next to the gorgeous indoor arena, and us humans got lakeside camping with bonuses like a refrigerator, dock and power outlets available to share. There's even a nice little cross country course spread over a few of the fields and hay sales right on site. Not really roughing it at all :)

Morning view from my tent site. 

Day 1 was spent on a nice trail ride and some floating in the little lake. The trail system was awesome. I would go back just for that alone, you could easily ride all day and the property connects directly to the Trans Canada Trail.

Trans Canada Trail is like so, but there were plenty of more technical options up into the mountains from here that we barely explored.

But, the real reason we were there was for lessons!

Day 2 B and I had our first dressage lesson in….years? And it was super exciting. B showed up ready to work and tried so hard. I’ve had a couple of long standing things I’ve never really solved (a minor pony head tilt going to the left being one) despite lots of great advice, but the clinician zoned in on that immediately and gave me tools that also worked almost immediately. She hopped on and had some fantastic feedback for me as well. My favourite part being that B feels 100% fine to her physically, and none of the “problems” I’m feeling are anything I should worry over, it’s just fitness and training from here on out :) Then since it was hot, I hosed B off and lounged in the lake the rest of the day.

*would I even be me if I didn't take 10000 pictures of my friends and their ponies, but request zero of myself and Bridget? After all these years, I'm still a terrible blogger and you get no pictures of my dressage lessons.

Day 3 was another dressage lesson first thing in the morning. The clinician challenged us to a bit of basic lateral work and some back and forth in the trot and canter…I liked that she was respectful of wanting to keep it fun but also not work pony too hard. The buttons are still there and super responsive, the execution was rusty and could use some refinement lol. In all seriousness I was really pleased with the little potato, we’re both wobbly and unfit but she’s still game to show off her moves. In the evening once it cooled down I took B to the cross country course and popped some logs and just had fun. It’s been a long time!

Oh hi, here we are doing something!

Day 4 there was a xc clinic, but in keeping with respecting B’s current fitness we did working equitation instead and had a great time. It’s not something that particularly interests me, but I can see the attraction, it’s very much dressage and trail challenge all in one. B had ants in her pants either because the course was set up on the xc course or because she really liked it. Not sure, but we had lots of fun navigating the patterns and obstacles and even got to pretend to be the real deal by spearing rings off a fake bull. B was 0% phased by any of it and already familiar with the natural obstacles due to previous xc and trail experience. She seemed to pick up the objective of the new to her things quite quickly. I think she might have found her calling! Honestly everyone we met was super nice and fun too - really I am not seeing any negatives to this sport and almost feel like I should give it a chance to grow on me and go to another clinic or two.

B and her angry bull spearing face

Day 5 the temps just kept increasing and it was super hot. I was also expecting to have a tired pony so didn’t schedule anything formally. The other ladies had another clinic day and I planned to give B a quiet hack. But since she was still spicy and on a mission on the shady trails our proposed leg stretching hack turned into a 10km expedition on the nearby rail trail. Apparently there is an amazing trestle bridge at 20km, so something to plan for next time (because there will be a next time!) 

Day 6 was sadly our last day and with the ponies needing to be on the trailer 5+ hours to get home B and I both just enjoyed a bit of a quiet morning and I had a last swim in our little lake.

All in all, it was a really nice blend of riding and learning, plus some much needed downtime with horsey friends. We’re planning to make it an annual thing and I already have so many things I want to do next year.

Like making it to this bridge...we got half way and turned around since it was so hot out - it didn't seem fair to the horses to add another 10k to the outing. Photo borrowed from here

I’m glad as well that I ended up taking B this year, I’ve been feeling quite lost as to a plan or direction with both ponies and this week really helped solidify a lot of decisions I’ve been waffling over and eased some of my worries. More on that later (and no, this is not a cliffhanger with any exciting life altering announcement pending, just a future blog coming with some thoughts on future things to aim for with the girls) 



  1. Sounds like SO much fun! How lucky are you to be able to do something like that and possibly make it an annual thing. B sounds like she had just as much fun as you!

  2. What a lovely vacation with B ♥️

  3. What an incredible place! I so want to do that!

    1. Come with us next year! I'm sure we can find you a horse/pony to borrow :)

  4. Wow! What an incredible vacay!

  5. Just gorgeous I want to go and I also want to steal Bridget :)

  6. sounds like an awesome week!! so glad it went well!

  7. Sounds like an absolute blast! Combo of lessons, trail rides in the beautiful scenery and exploring the working equitation discipline- how cool is that!