Horses, Humans, and Hounds

It’s not even July and already we’ve been on a Double H and a Triple H camping trip. In case you’re not familiar with the terminology, the Double H is a humans/hounds camping trip and the Triple H is a horses/humans/hounds camping trip. You may have noticed the species order, with horses at number one, humans two, and hounds three. Well, that’s about the way of things when we spend time with the horses. Their needs always come first. I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact. And it means a different kind of camping trip than when the horses aren’t along.


The horses (looking oh so innocent) – Rosa and Storm


One of the main differences in Triple H camping is that T and Nollind hit the trails on horseback instead of hiking with us. Of course, if you’ve read our blogs from a few years back, you’ll know that it’s our own fault, mine in particular, that we don’t get to go along on horseback rides anymore. There were just too many squirrels and other woodland creatures and I couldn’t seem to stick to the trail. My last trail ride was down at Etherington Creek in south Kananaskis when I ran off after a deer and Logan followed. We were gone quite a while so I think that was the infamous straw that broke the dog’s fun. I’m not sure if Logan’s ever quite forgiven me, although he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the horses anymore anyway.

But the horse trip last weekend was different … in a very good way. It was the addition of more humans, humans without horses, that made the difference. Our friends G and S were part of this excursion which meant that we had humans to walk with. It also meant being on a leash and not chasing after woodland creatures but, hey, that was absolutely okey dokey with me. I got to go walking instead of waiting in the trailer.


Big Elbow Trail – Day 1


The eight of us would start off down the trail together, and then T and Nollind would carry on with the horses when it was time for us to turn back. We were mostly turning back because Logan gets sore if we walk too far, so I pleaded with them to let me follow the horses. (I look kind of pathetic in the photos, pulling on my leash toward the horses and wagging my tail like it’s on fire, so I’ll not include one here.) I think I was pretty close to convincing T to let me go with them but Nollind was the annoying voice of reason. I would have been good … well … maybe. I would have tried.


Heading for Ford Knoll Trail – Day 2


We camped at an old favourite, Little Elbow Equestrian. Three days and two nights. All three days included an hour or so of walking and at least one swim, and both nights were filled with food, drinks, and camaraderie around the campfire. G and S are the best kind of people, dog people, so there were treats and attention galore! I know they’re missing their Dixie, so I do my best to fill a little bit of that big empty space she’s left behind.


Morning coffee around the Little Red Campfire.


The living space in the horse trailer is a lot smaller than in Sid, and it doesn’t have heat, so accommodations were not quite as luxurious as we’re accustomed to, but we had our jackets to wear at night like pyjamas. I’m normally not a fan of anything that resembles clothing but, at just 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) overnight, I was happy to make an exception.


Still wearing my PJs while I sample Nollind’s coffee.


Even with the jacket, I don’t think I slept that well because by Sunday afternoon, when T and Nollind were readying the horses and trailer to travel, Logan and I fell asleep in the shade, exhausted. Or it could have been all that fresh mountain air. Or maybe it was watching all that post-ride grooming, packing, and stall cleaning. Whatever the cause, it was the good kind of tired, the kind that comes from days spent outdoors, with friends.


The good kind of tired.


Trail Ride Tuesdays

Right. Like that’s ever going to happen. This is the second year Teresa and Nollind have committed early in the season to going trail riding every Tuesday. So far they’ve been out twice. Okay, it was pretty rainy through July and August, and there were a few trips of other kinds—a birthday trip and a regatta trip and a wedding trip—so it makes sense. But I still find it amusing.


Horseback photo bomb, Trail Ride Tuesday #2

In the second week of September we did manage to get out for the overnight horse trip they try for every year. It didn’t happen last year. Humans are such strange creatures. If I want to eat, I eat. If I’m tired, I nap. If I’m feeling playful, I play. They let lists and clocks run their lives more often than not. If only they’d follow our example and live in each moment, each day. But anyway…


Don’t they look happy when out doing the things they love?

On Friday, September 9, we were off to Kananaskis with the horses. I’m not even hopeful anymore that I’ll be going along on the rides—and, truth be told, I’m not sure I want to go. Those days are long gone.  A few years ago, I thought I was going to lose my mind when I was left behind in the trailer, but now I just sleep in my cave, and wait for the horses and riders to return so that we can get out for a sniff and a walk at a speed and distance that suits my greater years.


My cave under the table in the living quarters.

The overnight horse trips are particularly good for us dogs. There’s usually a walk in the morning before they leave, another when they get back, and often a third and longer one in the evening. It’s a lot like our time on the road in Sid when the peeps go off on errands or activities, taking us out for walks at each end of the day. Given the amount of time I find myself sleeping these days, it works out perfectly.


Hanging out in camp (I like to keep watch)

This horse trip was a short one, much shorter than originally planned. Herein lies the problem I mentioned earlier, the human tendency to let to-do lists and schedules rule. The trip was supposed to be a week, then five days, and then three. When rainy weather interfered, it turned into just two days and two nights.


The Death Valley Loop – a favourite from my days on the trail

But I have to give them credit for making the best of things. In the space of 48 hours, they got in two rides, one of them a long one around the Death Valley Loop, two afternoon foursies, two evenings by the fire, and we walked every road in the Sandy McNabb campground. And even when the forecast called for heavy rains and cold weather to move in on Saturday evening, we stayed, and the rain held off until the overnight hours. The horses were in covered stabling, we had power for the ceramic heater, so everyone was warm and dry all through the rainy night until we hit the road early Sunday morning.


Storm in his campground accommodation.

They talked on the drive home about getting in one more overnight before the season is done. I just chuckled from my place in the back seat. They’re so cute. Today I heard them talking about unpacking the living quarters but getting in at least one more day trip. I’m cheering for them … but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted.


In camp just enjoying the moment.