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Day 3 (and Post #1)

OK, not quite seventeen.  But I did have five on my laptop and two on my phone. Given that I am an obsessive list-maker (the kind who makes lists just to be able to check off things I’ve already done), you would think it would be impossible for me to leave something as crucial to a riding trip as a girth back at the home barn.

But no.

And this is how I found myself on the front steps of a tack shop in Vernon, a half-hour before opening (thanks to helpful but faulty intel), peering into their store like a gamer at one minute to midnight awaiting the release of a bigger, better, and bloodier game.

My plan for today had been to break camp at Topline Stables in Salmon Arm at a leisurely hour of the morning, and wend my way through the mountains to Canmore in time for a mid-afternoon arrival. Topline is a lovely spot – I was delighted to discover last night that Pai’s digs consisted of a big paddock with a mountain view, and lots of room to stretch her legs. I thought I’d take her for a short evening ride after the drive up from Langley, but instead found myself full of woe (woe/wrath – is there a difference?) as I discovered that my girth was absent. I speculatively eyed up my pile of bungy cords, but quickly discarded the idea as Just Too Backwoods. (Never mind that the safety factor – death by stupidity on Day 2 of the Epic Road Trip would just be embarrassing).

A chat with one of the Topline boarders (who turned out to be the cousin of one of my former equine clients back in Nanaimo – my, but the horse world is a small place) and a phone call to my contact John in Canmore both confirmed that the only hope of finding a dressage girth between Salmon Arm and Calgary would be in Vernon – not actually “between” at all in terms of direction, but more “backwards”. So the leisurely morning turned into 90 minutes of extra driving before loading up the gee-gee and hitting the road for Canmore.

The Bow Valley Riding Association in Canmore is a fantastic place. Members individually own pens and shelters on leased land, with a riding ring and round pen on the premises, and direct access to trails from the property. The facility overlooks the Three Sisters mountains – those horses have an amazing view. I arrived, found the pen that I was borrowing from John, and was immediately greeted by his friend Wendy, who offered to take me along on an evening ride if I were game.

You bet I’m game.

I thought our trails on Vancouver Island were spectacular – and they are – but these trails are just stunning.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s ride!

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