Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
Miracle Horses And How They Stole My Heart
Who remembers them?
Whoever has been to Silver Spur Trails over the last few years will remember my miracle horses. Maybe you have ridden one of them and have a special memory or a photograph? Please send it to me, and add something to my memory.
I will never forget them, my miracle horses; they all will be remembered and live on in my heart forever.
2016 was a rough year, emotionally. I closed Silver Spur Trails Wilderness Ranch for business. The end of an era and less hard work and more freedom, being able to invest more time in myself. Hopefully, this would give me the chance to work on my enormous bucket list and I get to travel again.
But What About My Horses?
Without the income of the guest ranch, there was no way I could keep my ten horses and feed them through winter, most of them had to go. I cried countless tears and the thought of having to let go of them haunted me every night. It was a stressful time.
How would I find places for my miracle horses in a country where trail horses have no value, where the lucky ones go for free to a new home and the not-lucky ones have to go through the horror of being shipped for meat. In an economy where many people struggle to survive, hay gets expensive and keeping a horse is not affordable for every horse lover. With horses are high costs involved, and more if you want to look after them well.
I did find new homes for seven of my ten horses. Some I sold, others went for free. Some of the horses have excellent new homes, others, I don’t know. I try not to think about it too much, they are gone and I can’t influence their well-being anymore. Still, I shed tears once in a while, thinking of them.
Today, I have three horses left, Princess, Belle, and Ruby. I wish Dolly would still be here as well, she is one I worry about.
Vicky, purebred Morgan Mare, was 28 years old when she went to horse heaven last year. I owned her for 14 years. An excellent lead horse, mostly ridden by me. Rest in peace Vicky, I will love you forever, we were a great team making lots of miles ahead and leading the pack.
Princess is Vickie’s daughter, a purebred Morgan mare, I also owned her for 14 years. Like her mother Vicky, she is fast, and gentle and many of my guests will remember her. For years she had to carry the heavier riders up the hill. Princess is still at my ranch today, together with Belle and Ruby.
Update August 2017 – Princess went to a new loving home in Cherryville, BC.
My Belle, she was six years old when I bought her. A cute Brat, just over 14 hands. Bell is the most expensive horse I ever owned. Included in the price was free breeding with a beautiful Morgan Stallion, Princess’s sire. Unfortunately, the breeding never happened. Belle had a fight with the Stallion who got injured and I was told to take Belle home.
Belle, the sweet and the devil, we went through a few challenges together. We took part in one of the last Kamloops Cattle drives, Bell and me, and Princes were there as well. This is a story for another blog.
Destiny is Princess’s half-sister, purebred Morgan. She was 6 months old when I bought her after Belle couldn’t get bred. Destiny found a great new home in Terrace BC. I know a girl in Switzerland who fell in love with the little brat during the two summers she rode her. Destiny will never be forgotten and remembered by many.
My little Dolly, I worry about you. She was another one of my special horses. I had here for 11 years a sweet, polite Morgan-QH mare, always the last one in the pecking order. There was one time on the way to an overnight camp when Dolly had a novice rider on her. After riding the steep hills on the way to Kathy Lake Dolly decided she had enough and turned to go home. Fortunately, Dolly couldn’t resist the high grass reaching up to her chest for very long so the rider had a chance to get off and my riding partner could catch her. An hour later we continued towards the lake again.
My dear old Ruby, purebred Morgan Mare, 28 years old and still with me. I sold her when she was 17 years old, knowing that I had to downsize. Somehow the new owner couldn’t ride her. They bread her, she had a filly, and three months later they sold Ruby to someone else. Another sad story. Then I heard that they wanted to take her to the auction, and I bought her back, which is quite a few years ago. Was she ever happy to be back! Ruby is another one of the amazing Morgans and was one of my reliable leading horses for years. I’m not riding her anymore, but she is in good shape and my beautiful lawnmower during summer.
Update: Ruby slipped on ice and had to be put down on February 24, 2018, at the age of 19 years old. R.I. P. will remember you forever.
Registered Quarter horse mare with a little attitude, but knows the Parelli games. Jacky was with me for eight years and most of the experience horse people visiting my ranch loved her. Jacky went to a great new home in Lumby and is with experienced horse people. I’m not worried about her at all, she is a lucky mare.
Diamond was the last horse I bought during a horse auction. She was a strong, good-natured mare and Smoky was her best buddy while she was at my ranch.
Oh yes, once again she had to carry a very heavy person up the mountain when she decided she needed a mouthful of fresh grass and the rider flew over her head to the ground. Fortunately, the rider was okay and his wife riding with us just laughed. Another time, just after leaving the ranch, she took a shortcut through the bush and went home again. Still, Diamond was another one of my miracle horses. I found a place for her and Smoky in a neighbouring town, but Diamond was moved from there to a new place. My Farrier still trimmed her feet last year and according to him, she had a good new home.
Smokey, my only gelding I bought together with Starling from a neighbour in the area. He was a slow walker and had mostly beginner riders on him. That’s probably the reason why he got sour after a while. A farmer down the road offered to take him, and I walked him to his new home. I used to see him on the way into town. Smoky was gone for not quite a year, and one spring morning he was back in my field. Not sure what happened!
Somehow the vacation was good for Smoky and he continued to take the novice riders safely up the trail. Where he is now… I’m not sure.
Starling, a quarter-horse mare anybody can ride, is bombproof and worth a pot of gold. Snack Shack was her nickname while she was at my ranch. She loved the greenhorns that let her eat all the way up the trail and the ones that didn’t have the strength to get her head back up. Whenever I rode her, she didn’t even try to eat on the way. Clever horse, Starling!
Starling is another lucky horse that went to a great home in Lumby.
And who remembers Brandy, another miracle horse?
He’s been in horse heaven for a few years now. He was another miracle horse.
Do you remember any of my horses? Have you ridden any of them? Please leave a remark below or get in touch via Contact Form. I love to hear from you.