The steady movement of the animal beneath me moved my body to match her rhythm. Her name was Coco, and she was beautiful. I was one of the lucky employees of the Chinook Country Tourist Association that got to go to Mountain Meadow Trail Rides just south of Cardston in Mountain View, Alberta. The three of us from CCTA were only a small part of the 14 person group that went on this tour but the horses’ personalities allowed great conversation starters with the others.
The brochure reads "ride side by side on well trained horses, exploring 15,000 acres of spectacular scenic area," and I could not believe how breathtaking the scenery was along the trail. Being on horseback allowed everyone the opportunity to see and experience things at a leisurely pace while interacting with these amazing creatures. The trail went in a giant loop that went through fields, mountains, and at some parts, large brush with little space to get through, forcing everyone to line up single file. It is at the moments where there is enough room to walk two or three across is when the horses’ personalities really came through.
Coco was a sweet girl who loved keeping up with whoever was directly in front of her and made sure that her nose was as close to their rump as she could go. If whoever was in front of her at the time got a little bit ahead, she would trot up right away to make sure she was still part of the group.
My colleagues had quite some characters as well. Norman, a cute little guy who was white all over had a small case of little-man syndrome which led him to have to always be at the front of the pack, and would get cranky if anyone came up behind him too close. And finally there was Shawny. Shawny also really liked being at the front which resulted in Norman and Shawny battling it out for the entire ride over who would get to lead.
By the end of the hour and a half ride, dismounting from the horses took some assistance and a limp/hobble ensued which some referred to as the "cowboy walk". Our group only did the little adventure, however Mountain Meadow Trail Rides also offer a 2.5 hour, a 4 hour and full day ride options. If you are really interested in the cowboy way of life, they do also have a ‘Cookout Ride’ where it is the four hour ride but also includes an authentic cowboy meal made up of lots of meat and beans.
The whole experience was amazing and something I would jump at the chance to do again. I even talked to my mom on our drive home about setting something up for a family outing. The scenery, the guides, and the horses all made the experience very enjoyable and something I would recommend for anyone traveling in Southern Alberta.