This blog was originally named back in 2012 with a wink to the gals in my Spanish class at the now closed Wentworth language school. I was making a road trip from Vancouver Island, on the West Coast, to Prince Edward Island, on the East Coast, with a horse in tow.
Chicas, son ustedes quien me han dado la idea de empezar un blog de mi viaje de un lado de Canada al otro con mi yegua, un blog que se llamaría “Una chica y su caballo.”
The blog gave me a place where I could post those pics my classmates were hoping for: a girl on her horse, maybe with a cowboy hat if I could find one. And it was the place I could jot down my experiences on what was going to be a road trip to remember: a coast-to-coast trip, and back again.
We had a blast.
In June of 2015, Pai and I headed out on a new road trip that had no particular destination and no definite time frame (just had to be home by the end of July). My hope was to ride some of the most gorgeous trails in Western Canada, to re-connect with friends I met on our 2012 trip, and to meet new ones. We looped eastward through BC to south Saskatchewan, and then back west again.
Como yo les había prometido a mis amigas en la clase de español, escribí mi blog numero dos.
The 2015 trip was such an amazing experience that I decided to hit the road again in the summer of 2016. We had five weeks, and three must-go destinations: Cypress Hills, Ya Ha Tinda, and the Wood Mountain Wagon Train. Other than that, we were free to go where we pleased. And so we did.
The blog has morphed into a photo share, and a mini little trail/camp report for friends who like heading out into the back country with their steed.
Paikea is a home-bred 2004 model Lipizzan X Arab. She was named after the main character in the New Zealand movie Whale Rider. (Paikea: “Since then, in every generation of my family, the first-born son has carried his name, and become the leader of our tribe. Until now.”) Through her mom’s 11-month pregnancy, I had been keeping my fingers crossed for a colt (’cause boys are so tractable), and was briefly disappointed to discover that my foal was a filly. (“Girls aren’t allowed.”)
What is it expectant moms say, sometimes even convincingly? “As long as it’s healthy, I don’t care whether it’s a girl or a boy”, right? I got over it, named her after the girl who was supposed to be a boy, and consoled myself that baby was at least my favourite colour, black.
Or not. Telltale white hairs over her eyes on her first day of life were a giveaway: baby was going to be my least favourite colour, grey. Within months, she turned a salt-and-pepper colour (OK, a very pretty salt-and-pepper colour) that was definitely not black.
As it turns out, with horses – kind of as with cars – colour doesn’t matter in the end (red ones really don’t go faster). My little grey mare is a smart, phlegmatic girl with a strength of will to be reckoned with. Just like her namesake.
In this summer of 2016, Pai is now in her prime at 12 years old, and is more flea bitten than dappled (reinforcing my horror of white horses, who, if you are as slovenly in your equine beauty care as I am, always look pretty gangster in terms of cleanliness. It doesn’t help that she herself has the grooming habits of Pigpen off the Peanuts cartoons.)
And I also have a new canine traveling companion. The Scoot passed away in 2014, at the age of 12, and a new dog insinuated himself into our lives the following year: Spy, an Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) rescue, who was 8 months old when I headed out on the road in 2015.
He is extremely fortunate that he is so cute and so unbelievably sweet, as his inherent Dog Badness makes itself apparent several times a day, spawning death threats and warnings about imminent re-homing, neither of which, thanks to above-mentioned adorableness, transpire.