Father and Daughters Ride Across Canada
Some things never change. For example, equestrian travel is never as easy as people think.
That tough lesson was enforced in 1903 when American Long Rider Ellsworth Huntingdon rode across the deserts of Turkmenistan. Huntingdon recalled how one day, after taking a brief rest, he struggled to gather enough strength to get back into the saddle.
“I fairly staggered when I rose to mount my horse; and the suffocating heat made me clutch at the saddle to keep from swaying and falling as the dispirited creature plodded on,” he wrote.
Fast forward to the next century and other Long Riders have written to say that equestrian travel still makes unexpected demands on the traveller’s body and spirit. Such a lesson is currently underway in Canada.
Retired fire fighter David Nahachewsky spent nearly a decade planning a ride across his native land. According to David, a coast to coast crossing of Canada has not been successfully completed without trailering certain portions since 1949. That was the year Barbara Kingscote crossed the country on her mare, Zazy.
But David wasn’t interested in riding alone. His daughters Stacia and Teresa make this a unique “father-daughter” equestrian expedition. The team, which set off in April, have been making steady progress across Canada. However as Stacia explained on the family’s blog, “This is not a vacation!”
“When I started this trip I had a very romantic vision of what it was going to be like. Me and my horse, riding in the sunset, warm and beautiful. Making miles and feeling like we were in heaven. I didn’t consider things like being stuck down wind while a horse pees beside you. I didn’t consider becoming so frustrated with my horse at times. I didn’t consider the communication difficulties with Dad or Teresa. Or the times when your bum is so sore you walk but your backpack keeps getting caught on your pack horses pack which pushes you into your riding horse and he inadvertently kicks you while he walks over and over and over for hours. The blisters, the heat rash, the fatigue, the arguments and irritation. We don’t just argue with each other, we argue with our horses too, they get tired as well. Or the chaffing….oh the chaffing!”
Despite fatigue and hard travel, Stacia articulated why special souls are drawn to become Long Riders.
“So, this isn’t a vacation, it’s an adventure. Like any true adventure there are perils and unexpected hardships, but what you receive in return is life changing and unimaginably rewarding. It’s difficult to explain, but there is joy in simplicity, an inner happiness that provides strength and patience. Life is complicated because we make it that way, not because it is that way. Once you learn to let go of the negative, the positive is overwhelming and wonderful. It’s a feeling no vacation has ever given me.
At the start of each new day, you climb onto your steed and you get to see things and experience things that you’ve never dreamt of, you get this indescribable feeling, this “high” of life. This adventure is awesome! All the bad, all the hurt, all the grumpy sucky moments… worth it.”
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