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horseback riding

Western Adventures in Jasper

Aug. 10, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

For centuries Indigenous people navigated the Canadian Rockies on horseback. And when traders like David Thompson arrived in 1811, horses were used to negotiate northern trading routes and establish trade posts.

Follow in their footsteps and have an old time western adventure in Jasper. Here are the horseback rides, rodeo events and country style steakhouses not to miss this summer. Cowboy hats at the ready…

Jasper Horseback Riding

Escape to rugged wilderness with a horseback ride in the mountains. Photo from Jasper Stables.

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Banff by Horseback

July 6, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

I hadn’t been on a horse in years. So when I was invited on a horseback trip with Banff Trail Riders I could see it going one of two ways. I’d either be a natural or my horse would break into an unexpected trot hurling me from the saddle into pile of mud.

Despite that possibility of the latter, I was excited. I’ve been living in Banff for the last eight months and I hoped the trip would offer sights from new perspectives. And having written about early explorers’ use of horses to navigate the mountains for Where Canadian Rockies, I wondered if the trip would conjure a sense of discovery.

Warner Stables on Sundance Road is the starting point for Trail Riders' tours.

Warner Stables on Sundance Road is the starting point for Trail Riders’ tours.

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Evolution of Mountain Clothing

June 19, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

Hiking, climbing and horseback riding in the Canadian Rockies in 1900 looked very different from today. Bulky apparel has evolved and become more practical. Here, we compare historic styles to modern adventure-savvy wear.

Ernst Feuz & Georgia Engelhard on Mt. Victoria, Banff National Park, 1931. Photo courtesy of the Glenbow Museum.

Ernst Feuz & Georgia Engelhard on Mt. Victoria, Banff National Park, 1931. Photo courtesy of the Glenbow Museum.

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Hot Date: Spruce Meadows

July 6 – 10

Watch some of the best show jumping athletes and horses from the Americas compete at the amateur, junior and professional levels for $900,000 total prize money at Spruce Meadow’s annual North American. Throughout the tournament find live street theatre performances by Evergreen Theatre and a marketplace filled with crafts, giftware and horse-related merchandise or wander the grounds and enjoy the scenery of this world-renowned venue located just outside the city. Spruce Meadows, for tickets, call 403-974-4200.

Hot Date: Cavalia

May 25 – June 5

Watch trick-riders, acrobats, tumblers, bungee artists, dancers and over 40 unescorted horses seamlessly following cues to run in formation, line-up, form circles and interact with each other, in Cavalia, a cruelty-free “Cirque-du-Soleil” like performance. Set in North America’s largest touring tent rising 100 feet into the air, each act artistically depicts the inextricable bond between horse and human throughout the course of history. At Canada Olympic Park, for tickets, call 1-866-999-8111.

Weekend Roundup, June 19 to 21

Greet the beginning of summer in Muskoka with open-air activities and indoor indulgences.

Friday, June 19
Discover the glacier-sculpted islands and remote ruggedness of Georgian Bay on a two-hour Island Queen Cruise.

Upon a sturdy Icelandic horse, gallop through the Almaguin Highlands and along the pristine shores of Newell Lake at Clear Lake Farm.

Saturday, June 20
Stimulate your senses with cottage air, country fare and cold cream ale on a tour of Lakes of Muskoka Cottage Brewery.

Delight in the decadence of the Summerside Surf and Turf Kitchen Party, where you’ll find fresh lobster, succulent steak, an oyster bar, salads and a side of East Coast entertainment at Parry Sound’s Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts.

Sunday, June 21
Take in the tranquil terrain of pink-granite rock walls and verdant valleys while you tee off into the sunset at the Lake Joseph Club.

Soak up some sun and celebrate Father’s Day at Gravenhurst’s Gull Lake Park while enjoying toe-tapping Music on the Barge.