Camping with Horses

Horse in paddock

Not clouds, rain or slippery slopes dimmed our spirits as we set off on our horse camping adventure!  Each day we saddled up and headed to the trailhead (where all trails begin) – which included a daunting slippery slope to a water crossing.  Luckily our horses enjoyed the water, which led us to the challenging rocky climbs ahead. 

Horse Country Campground in Foresters Falls was a memorable experience. We never did reach the Ottawa River, where Wilderness Tours claims to preserve the last wild stretch of river, but we did see much of the wooded, rocky landscape and Crossing water on horsebackhorseback trails that run adjacent to the river.   Our first attempt (first day out) we encountered a near vertical climb on slippery rock requiring our horses to carefully place their hooves. We picked our way along the muddy edges of the trail, sometimes washed away, an exhilarating way to start our camping trip!  But our horses excelled in their willingness to go where we pointed them and to trust our optimism that we (and they) could do this!

Each day we saddled up and rode.  The obstacle course arena was a perfect place to practise building trust and encounter the “natural trail hazards” in a safer setting, before beginning our daily trek to the trailhead.   

Our camp was comfortable with a small paddock for each horse, lots of space for tent and trailer and most important, close proximity to our horses!   The rain, although frequent and constant, created a calm at night as we sat under the canvas of tent or awning listening to its gentle drumming while we ate, drank and laughed.  To end a perfect horse holiday, after a day of being drenched and challenged on the trails, we headed to Wilderness Tours Lodge (a short walk from our campsite) and enjoyed live music and dinner!

The following day, as we loaded our horses leaving this magical place, there was an inner peace knowing we had met the daily challenges, lived the dream, and knowing that we will do it all over again.

Submitted by Janice Ecclestone, Inukshuk Farm

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