My final ranch was a curly horse breeding, training and lesson ranch. I mentioned curly horses in my Calgary Stampede post and really enjoyed learning more about this fascinating breed! Curly horses are bred with a special fur that is hypoallergenic meaning that people who are usually allergic to horses can be around curlies with no allergy-related problems! (Also, how freaking cute does their fur make them?! I’m in love)
The curlies on this ranch had the loveliest temperaments. They were so calm in fact that I finally got to try an equestrian sport that I have been dying to do for almost my entire life: Valuting! This mixture of gymnastics and horse riding was perfect for me and I spent a lot of my time in the Ookanagan practicing this often-overlooked sport. (YouTube “Equestrian Vaulting” for examples far better than the below photo)
Kelowna is set, along with several other towns of various sizes, on the shores of the beautiful (and huge) Ookanagen Lake. A famous holiday destination for Canadians from all over the country I visited its shores in November but would love to go back in spring! Being there in November, however, enabled me to get into the ‘holiday spirit’ Ookanagan style. I attended the Summerland “Light Up” (Christmas light switch on) and had my first Maple Snow! (For anyone who doesn’t know, Maple Snow is warm maple syrup poured onto snow so that it solidifies as you wrap it around a lollipop stick. Can you think of anything more Canadian? No, me neither. And it is AMAZING)
Having just come from the rainforests of outer-Vancouver the semi-desert of the Ookanagan was a huge shock for me. Where before had been lush green forests of moss and tall trees now I was hunting through the horses’ fields for cacti! Trail riding through this beautiful scenery was a highlight of my trip to the Ookanagen (with the many tastings of famous Ookanagen wine and beer coming a close second! It’s perfect vine-growing weather out there)
Transport wise, it was back to the trusty Greyhound buses to take me to and from Kelowna and the views from the bus were some of the best I’ve ever had. Stormy and dramatic on the way there and breathtakingly crisp and snowy on the way back…. It finally feels like Christmas!