Leading riding holiday operator, Ranch Rider is adding the Painted Warriors Guest Ranch to its Alberta collection—the property, which is surrounded by 82 acres of pristine forested wilderness, only an hour's drive northwest of Calgary. The specialist already offers wilderness rides taking in the Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies, and its latest addition blends the province's breath-taking landscapes with First Nations culture.
A timely introduction, Canada removed all COVID-19 restrictions for international travellers on 01 October.
Sandra Potter, Marketing Director at Ranch Rider, comments, "A first for Ranch Rider, the ranch is a wholly owned and run indigenous tourism operation, with stays at Painted Warriors giving people a unique glimpse into the lives and culture of the Ojibway, Cree, and Mohawk people.
“The horseback adventure invites travellers to see nature from a new perspective, as they will be riding in the foothills of the beautiful Rocky Mountains and reconnecting with the outdoors through the eyes of the First Nations, their philosophy shaping all of the authentic outdoor experiences from practising archery through to learning backcountry basics. Its proximity to Calgary also makes the ranch an ideal starting or end point on a festival focused trip."
All First Nations tribes share an intimate connection with the animal kingdom, and at Painted Warriors, they feel it is important to preserve and impart their knowledge of working with horses through this indigenous lens. Taking a maximum of six guests, the horseback adventures range from two to ten days with each tailor-made journey offering insight into natural navigation, geology, animal tracking and medicinal plant identification.
On the nine-night ranch stay, the first five days are spent getting to grips with horse riding and developing an understanding of First Nation outdoor skills from basic camping and fire lighting, to reading the nature trails and learning about the indigenous culture and its link to nature - every plant and rock possessing a spirit. The final five days are spent out on the trail putting these skills into practice.
The ranch also draws on its heritage when it comes to archery, an activity which is believed to reawaken our genetic memory as hunter gatherers and restore our deep connection to the land. An exceptional opportunity, guests will receive instruction from owner, Tracey Klettl (a descendant of the Cree and Mohawk people), who has previously represented Canada at the world archery championships.
The accommodation is based in Métis-style comfortable trapper tents (each tent can hold up to five people) complete with cozy wood burning stoves and shared facilities. Weather permitting, all meals are enjoyed "family style" around the campfire where stories are shared in the traditional way under the wide Canadian skies, or alternatively there is the large meeting hall.