If you have ever dreamed of going to Canada, you must have heard about the beauty of the province Alberta. Having moved to Toronto recently, I have to say that I am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around the country more easily.
Coming from Europe, I had never really envisioned one day traveling to the western part of Canada. It seemed so far, complicated to get to, and the truth is I was not really educated or ‘aware’ of its beauty. Little did I know, this place is absolutely stunning!
As some of you may know, before every trip, I do a rather extensive search on the riding facilities and “equestrian adventures” available in the area. Not going to lie, it’s always nice to find some instagramable spots if I can sneak a picture on horseback (I always do hehe).
In this blog post I would like to share my experience about two different stables I have had the chance to visit during my stay in Alberta, both of which are within a 2 hour drive from Calgary, the province capital.
It is important to note that not every type of ride will be a good match for all riders. Some seek adventures and faster paced rides, while others are happy to enjoy a slower ride in a nice scenery.
Luckily, if you are looking to go horsebackriding in Alberta, I have tips for both.
This place at first seemed very crowded and it looked as though they were trying to get as many people on horses in the shortest amount of time possible. While it all seemed a bit rushed and impersonal at first, we quickly found ourselves in a smaller group of intermediate to experienced riders for our 3-hour scheduled ride.
This adventure took us into the depth of the beautiful Kananaskis countryside. Endless forests of pine trees, birch trees, and incredible views of the Canadian rockies from afar. Our ride took us across Sheep River, and into the vast prairies where cattle roams freely. We had the chance to canter in big, endless fields at the foothill of Kananaskis country. A dream-come true for adventure and nature lovers!
Overall, I have to say I had a total blast on this ride, and really embraced my inner Canadian cowgirl! I mean, check these pictures if you don’t believe me!
Cool fact: Anchor D offers various additional activities, from horseback riding to sleigh and wagon rides in winter. Might be worth checking it out if you are there for a few days! Overnight stays in cabins and longer trail rides over several days are also available! Please check directly on their website for more details and updated prices.
If you are looking for great views and nice between-the-ears shots, this ride is for you! Brewster Adventures offers different types of ride along Banff National Park, and I opted for 3-hour “Tea tree top” ride, which led us to Lake Agnes. This 3 hour trail ride offers unbelievable sights going up the mountain and passing by two beautiful alpine lakes: Lake Mirror and Lake Agnes. Your ride will drop you off at the top of the mountain where you will be able to take a 20/30min break and enjoy some tea or coffee at the Agnes Tree House while appreciating the breathtaking views.
This ride is for riders of all levels, including those who have never ridden before. Several other rides with various itineraries are available as well, please check directly on their website for details and prices.
I have to say my one regret is this is a very slow ride (walk only). Most people are first-timers. But hey, you have to appreciate it for what it is, a beautiful and peaceful walk along the most scenic areas and the Canadian Rockies, some of the best views Canada has to offer!
Cold Canada: Do I really need to say this? This region of Canada gets extremely cold in winter! Ideally, it is better to visit Banff National Park during the months of May-September. Anything outside of these dates and you will probably freeze to death. If you would like to avoid the tourist crowds, it is better to go outside of July and August, but you will not be guaranteed great weather. In fact, I don’t think anyone can ever guarantee good weather in the mountains… right?!
Activities in the area: Now, although horseriding is probably better to do in the less cold months (notice how I didn’t say WARMER!!), if you decide to go in winter and brave the cold, you could pair your riding holiday experience with some other cool winter activities like dog sledding and skiing!
Banff National Park Entrance Fee: Important to know in advance – you will need to pay an entrance fee to the park of just under $20. If you are going during the weekend or a bank holiday, don’t forget to factor in some extra time in your journey as the line can get pretty long!