Unicorn has horse riding holidays in several areas of Canada. This is a country known for its mounties, maple syrup and lumberjacks - and it makes for a great riding holiday. It has a cowboy culture similar to the USA. Canada is a truly huge country. This is just how vast: it is 5,514 km from east to west -spanning 6 time zones! - and 4,346 km north to south. It's known for having the longest coastline of any country in the world - over 220,000 km. Canada is the second largest country in the world by area after Russia and occupies almost 7% of the world's land mass. The Pacific Ocean laps on its western shores and the Atlantic Ocean its eastern shores. To its north lies Greenland and the polar ice cap. The lower 48 states of the US are to the south. Canada is a perfect blend of the best of Europe mixed with the best of the United States. The great praries are situated in the centre of this vast country with the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Great Lakes to the south east. It is sparsely populated with most people gathering in cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Quebec and Montreal. English and French are the two joint official languages but if you venture north you'll find the Inuits peak a variety of unusual local tongues. Canada has a series of National Parks, and when you consider the size of this gigantic country you'll soon realise that this makes a for a perfect back-to-nature horse riding holiday. You can ride all day without seeing another soul.
Unicorn has horse riding holidays in Alberta (in the west)and Quebec (in the east) provinces. They cater for all riding abilities from beginners to advanced and those who love a challenge and want to ride fast. Non riders and families are welcome on some of the holidays. Single riders will love the various trails we have or per-aps even the Alberta Working Ranch. Most rides have weight limits but our pack trips and ranches have horses for the heavier rider. These ranches also welcome children, making a great family riding holiday. If you prefer to ride western style then you'll find a perfect riding holiday in Canada. Beach riding is always a great favourite with Unicorn clients and in Canada we offer riding vacations with gallops along the coast. Why not come for the glorious Fall or a truly white Christmas?
Alberta Alberta represents the ranch and cowboy culture. Nature lovers will love Alberta's Rocky mountains, lakes, glaciers and forests. It is home to several national parks including Banff and Jasper. Situated in the south/mid-west, it is the most westerly of the 'prairie and plains' provinces, yet also home to the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Banff is its famous jewel, both the picturesque town and the national park. Set in the Rockies it is a major ski resort but is just as beautiful in both summer and winter, with popular tourist spots such as Sulphur Mountain and Lake Louise. There's lots of wildlfe in Alberta and you stand a great chance of seeing moose, bear, mountain goats, big-horn sheep etc. Visitors can take the Icefields Parkway and walk out on to the frozen icefields.
Quebec Quebec represents the French culture of Canada, and, located in the south east, is Canada'a largest province. Its historic capital city is also called Quebec, though Montreal has a larger population. Here you'll find the Hudson Bay, over a thousand lakes, the St Lawrence river, craggy mountains, tundra and 3 national parks. In summary - beautiful riding country. This is where French is the first language of choice and the ambiance and cuisine is definitely very French. In the north of the province you may be lucky enough to experience the great caribou migration.
Here is an overview of the horse riding holidays in Canada that Unicorn is delighted to offer:
Quebec Trail Snowy Landscapes
Come on the Snowy LandscapesTrail riding holiday for a winter wonderland experience. To start, you'll stay in a warm and cosy inn situated on the summit of a peak in the Appalachian Mountains. Ride out on forest trails or deep powder snow to trappers' cabins, villages, mills and farms. Transfer to a traditional Quebec-style cedar shingled farmhouse and barn and under the starry winter night sky enjoy a magic excursion in a sleigh drawn by two superb Clydesdale draft horses. There are many surprises on this riding holiday - a trapper will teach you dog sledding, you'll have lunch in a teepee, you can try your hand at snow-mobiling or snow-shoeing. Fancy a thrilling toboggan descent? For the less energetic just relax in front of the crackling wood stove, chill out in the steaming jacuzzi or take a hot stone massage. Another bonus - the food on the riding holiday is fantastic. This holiday makes a wonderful Christmas escape.
Quebec Gastronomy Week
Canada is a delightful country full of friendly people all out to help you get the most from your horse riding holiday. This centre-based stay is an ideal alternative to a longer trail ride through the area such as the Snowy Landscapes or the Autumn Highlights, although it may be possible to arrange a mini-trail (just out for one or two nights) for small groups of up to 3 people. Perhaps you'd like to camp in a teepee. Accommodation is in comfortable lodgings, the country inn /ranch has single and double rooms, most en suite. The Inn also has a hot tub/jacuzzi and can arrange massages. The food is a real feature of this ride provided by a French trained chef. Most of the flavoursome produce is home or locally grown. The Inn's restaurant is very popular with locals. Horses are Quarter horses, Appaloosas or Canadians, all good natured and gentle and perfectly adapted to the terrain. Some are more spirited and there are some real schoolmasters. The riding is adapted to the ability of the riders and can vary from a gentle walk to riding at all paces. The terrain is varied with gently rolling hills and soft tracks, woods and view points. English or Western tack is available. Canada is a family-orientated country and families are welcome at the ranch. Besides riding, or perhaps for non-riders, there is a lot to see and do in the Quebec area and we recommend hiring a car to get the most from your holiday. We are happy to arrange this for you, just ask at the time of booking.
Alberta Working Ranch
The USA does not hold the monopoly on ranch holidays. This is an excellent ranch riding holiday in Canada. Get away from it all and gain an inside view of this authentic working family ranch. Set at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this small working Canadian cattle ranch is the real thing. On 2 week programmes guests will experience cattle work and learn the basic techniques of working cattle and ranch roping. Riding experience would be beneficial for this but is by no means essential as on this horse riding holiday beginners can also participate. The first cattle drive takes place in the first part of June and allows you to take the yearlings into the Forest Reserve. Usually they are gathered and driven three miles to the neighbour's corrals on one day. They will stay there overnight, and the next morning we combine the herd and move them between 15 and 20 miles into the Forest Reserve. A second cattle drive takes place in mid-July (weather permitting). This involves taking up the heifers that have been with the bulls for six weeks. This drive is similar to the first as they will go into the same pasture. The third cattle drive is the Fall Roundup. This drive takes place about the middle of October as the cattle need to be out of the Forest Reserve by the 15th of the month. Cattle drives are extremely popular and you will need to book early to reseve your place. Branding Week offers a traditional branding experience that even today, echoes the practices of the past. Help the crew gather, sort and brand. You're welcome to observe or pitch in and learn the basics. Why not combine your stay at the ranch with a two day stay in the city for the world famous Calgary Stampede in July? Please contact Unicorn Trails for details.
Alberta - Calgary Ranch
Unicorn offers another ranch holiday in Canada. Situated near the historic Fort Assiniboine, between the beautiful Sand Hills Wildland Park and the meandering Athabasca River, we find a secluded ranch nestled in an area surrounded by forests. Experience the cowboy life on this ranch. Guests have the opportunity to participate in cattle work on the ranch and experience trail riding through a portion of Alberta's historic Klondike Trail with abundant wildlife - favourites are the bald eagle, beavers and moose. Even guests with limited riding experience will be comfortable in the saddle and penning cattle after a few hours of gentle tuition. This horse riding holiday in Canada is an ideal family destination. Many extras can be arranged - e.g. canoe trips, gold panning, visits to local rodeo shows, bird watching, wagon rides, viewing the Northern Lights, wilderness survival and nature tours.
Canada Wilderness Pack Trips
Now for some special Canadian horse riding holidays that would suit advanced and adventurous riders with a pioneering spirit . Participate in an Alberta Pack Horse Trip, camping out in either the Canadian Rocky Mountains, or for those looking for a faster riding holiday, on the Great Plains. You'll join with a small band of like minded adventurers and athletic, sure-footed horses to explore some of the most wild and beautiful places in Alberta. Your gear is carried on pack horses although the pack string may take a different route to enable you to ride some more difficult terrain or perhaps faster at times. You camp in unspoilt locations surrounded by vast nature as the first explorers of this country did, enjoying food made on camp fires and working together in an awe-inspiring but demanding land. Multi-day pack trips are the answer for those who want to get into the real back-country, relax and recharge their batteries in the splendour of nature, learn more about riding, and enjoy the companionship of horses.
7 Day Pack Trips - Rocky Mountains -These will typically cover 100-120 km of both foothill and mountain topography in Kananaskis Country. 7 DayGreat Plains Trail - This trail covers 190 km, from the Sweetgrass Hills on the Montana border to the Cypress Hills in Saskatchewan. This is excellent riding country, with unlimited opportunity for experience rider to move at a faster pace. This trail is aimed at riders who can confidently control a horse at a canter in open landscapes. 10 Day Pack Trips - Rocky Mountains - These are designed for keen riders who are up to the challenge of covering between 170 and 200 km of rugged mountain trails. Over the duration of the trek the basics of horse packing, wilderness horsemanship, low impact horse camping and a myriad of other skills are aquired.
We also offer a ride in the Yukon.
A rare chance to experience from horseback the pristine natural beauty of the Yukon, the westernmost of Canada's territories that borders Alaska. A wonderful location for a horse riding holiday, the Yukon, or "Great River" in the old language, is supplied by the great lakes that characterise the landscape along with the ancientglacial valleys, volcanoes, alpine meadows, forests andtundra.
Unicorn's staff will be more than happy to arrange extensions to your Canadian riding vacation. We suggest a few nights in Calgary - particulary at stampede time, a week in the fabulous city of Vancouver, climb the CN tower in Toronto, visit Montreal or Quebec City or take a trip to Niagara Falls on the Canadian / US border. Whatever you have in mind, we can make all the arrangements for a hassle free trip.