Reviewed 27 Aug 2006 by Patricia Bowerbank
Overall my holiday exceeded all of my expectations and I did expect it to be amazing. Travel, accommodation, riding requirements were organised to perfection, no detail was overlooked, CJ and Helen did everything in their power to ensure I had an informative, fun, and safe holiday I would never forget.
The weather was sunny and warm but not too hot to ride in and the Saskatchewan scenery was some of the most magnificent I had ever seen. The people I had the pleasure to meet were open and friendly and I will be keeping contact with many of them.
All the horses were treated extremely well looked in good health and were very well trained. This was a very important feature of my holiday and left a lasting impression on me. I will definitely be going back. Read the rest of this review here.
Reviewed 08 Aug 2003 by Gesa Paulfeierborn
I have been back a couple of days now and my Saskatchewan travels sadly already seem like a long time ago! I really had the most amazing time. Claude-Jean Harel from the tour operator (he was the link through your web-site) really put a great package together for me. And I liked the fact that I was completely independent. Though I think if a group were to book he would accompany them if he were free. He picked me up from the airport on arrival in Regina and took me to the Saskatchewan hotel where I stayed my first and last night. He then gave me all the details of my trip, with maps etc. The next morning he met me and took me to the car hire firm after which I set out to my first destination, the Eastview Wilderness Ranch near Arborfield, run by Corrina and Larry Kapeller.
I had the most amazing time with Larry & Corrina Kapeller. They run a fantastic outfit there and it is still a true working ranch which is what I wanted (totally different from the many guest ranches you get in America). The horses were great and the riding was just amazing and Larry & Corrina are just very nice down to earth people. I learnt an awful lot about farming, horses, wildlife etc. and came away feeling part of the family. We rounded cattle, mended fences, rode a lot, tore around on a quad bike and many other activities which are part of life on a farm. At night we sat around the campfire and chatted and I saw the Northern lights on three of the 5 nights there, which was stunning. The accommodation is in cabins (though you can camp if you want) which is basic but has everything and the food prepared by Corrina each day was fantastic. I will definitely go back there at some point. In fact I can't think of a better place to ride anywhere. I can thoroughly recommend the Kapeller Ranch.
After 6 days I then moved south to the Cowesses First Nation Reservation in the Qu'Appelle Valley, by Crooked Lake, where I spent time with Hugh and Barbara Lerat, Cree Indians, who run Spotted Medicine Horse Outfitters. My accommodation there was a Tipi with a fire in the middle. My time amongst the Cree Indians was great. I was the only visitor there so got to spend a lot of time with Hugh & Barbara Lerat. They camped with me and I learnt a lot about their culture, traditions and religion by just talking with them, their family & friends. We did some riding (lovely Appaloosa, Paint & Pinto horses), though only trail riding through the Qu'Appelle hills and coulis which are very beautiful. On the trail rides Hugh showed me plants, roots, flowers, etc. that he uses (he is a medicine man) - he has a cure for everything! Some plants etc that don't grow in Sask. - he gets from other places in Canada & the US usually by trading with others or sometimes he makes a trip and gathers stuff himself.
I attended a Pow-Wow on the next reservation which was an amazing display of colours, dancing and drums. You really feel the immense sense of pride the Indians have on such an occasion. The highlight for me was the Sweat Lodge, which I found a very moving experience - I guess it's their 'church' and I felt very honored to be allowed to participate. They are so very much in tune with nature -even now- and I found the basis of their beliefs and spiritualism very honest and refreshing. Their attitude to animals other races and cultures is a very embracing one which is probably one of the reasons why they are in the situation they are now.
Sadly, they also don't help themselves so the prejudice towards them gets perpetuated and it becomes a vicious circle. Hugh and Barbara run a lot of camps for First Nation children from Regina & other cities to try and teach them about their own culture & traditions, trying to give them a sense of pride back which many have lost.
Living in the Tipi is great fun and its right by a lake in which you can swim and they have some Indian type canoes as well. The only thing which might put people off is the toilet & water facilities which are very basic. You can get a good shower for a couple of $ though on a campsite 10 min ride from the reservation. My Tipi was great - much bigger than I had expected and it had a fire in the middle which was very welcoming some nights.
Staying amongst the Cree Indians was a very moving experience for me but then I have always been interested in their culture. It probably wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea, particularly if creature comforts are important, but if people are open minded and don't mind basic camping facilities and want to learn something about their culture and traditions, it is ideal!
So my trip was truly amazing; Sask. doesn't seem to be a big tourist destination in Canada, most people tend to go to BC and Alberta but I certainly fell in love with the place and people and really didn't want to come back to England. I will definitely go back to both places I visited.