Looking Back at the International Horseback Adventure

Sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, I didn’t fib! Other names of this trip have been things like “Horse Trip From Hell” and “The Yukon to Alaska Horse Trip & Rabid Rodent Adventure”. Need I say more? LOL! The International Horseback Adventure is the cross country expedition bringing into Chisana, Alaska from the Yukon the new horses to become the partners of the newest Alaska Guide Trainees.

Horseback Adventure
Photo by Cassie H. at Pioneer Outfitters, located in Chisana, Alaska

Folks often get so excited when we announce that new horses are going to be added to the herd of range horses that are as much a part of Pioneer Outfitters as their two legged counterparts.This horseback Adventure is not one that is offered for scheduling. A guest or client may ask to be considered for this Adventure, to be called upon for the next, but it is not available to “book it”.

No matter how brutally honest I am, it’s all a grand adventure to be had for those that have never taken part in all this particular Adventure encompasses.

“It was absolute misery and so much fun!”

It begins months before the snow leaves for the season, the search for the right kind of horses. Our horses are range horses, free and wild, to fend for themselves, living side by side with Alaska’s predators and at the whims of the interior mountain weather.

Finding the horses that haven’t come to love humans as pets, but with the attitude and nature to thrive and survive. “Short and stocky, all ass and no body.” is the goofily insulting phrase used to describe the draft cross horses that do well in our cold environment. Big black hooves, short backs and necks, stocky legs and a huge attitude.

The International Horseback Adventure

Once the horses are located and the horse trading has been completed, veterinarians and truckers are next. The horses are corralled, tested and quarantined for the duration that the testing takes. Every horse crossing the US/ Canada border must have a current Coggins and Health Certificate. A truck driver must be found, checked out and paid.

“Katy! Bar the door!”

Now, things get busy. The truck driver will arrive in Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory, loaded with horses and we have to be there, to off-load the horses and take over their care.

Horseback Adventure

This is when things begin to get interesting, in my experience. Most often I am asked, “How long does it take to bring the horses into Chisana from Canada?” Well, that’s the rub, isn’t it? LOL. I hear-tell, that this trip takes three long and hard days. In my own experience over the last 20+ years is that it can take anywhere from four days, and that time begins upon leaving Beaver Creek, not the time spent readying our departure from Beaver Creek, to 17 days.

The International Horseback Adventure

When the horses are off-loaded from the truck that delivers them to us in Beaver Creek, it is our first time (most often) meeting them face to face. They are stressed from being hauled hundreds of miles and the drama of leaving all they have known.

Now, comes the tricky part. Figuring out who is who, who can be ridden, who can be packed, who should ride who and what horses can lead others. Some of the experience I have gained being part of this Adventure is from the bad side of “horse-trading”. There are no guarantees that any of the horses will even be broke to ride. That is for us to figure out. The hard way.

Horseback Adventure

We usually set up our camp in Beaver Creek at the back of the big RV park, where we never fail to attract quite the audience to our work with these new horses and the horses themselves, never run out of admirers with their offerings of apples and carrots!

The International Horseback Adventure

When the decision has been made, to pack up and hit the trail, no time is wasted. All supplies are inventoried one last time, last check-in calls are made and we depart. Once we leave the relative civilization of Beaver Creek, we are on our own. Into the unforgiving wilderness. With home in Alaska being our only way to rest.

Horseback Adventure

Dozens of icy water crossings, rivers and creeks winding and twisting to the lay of the land, like a ball in a pinball game, smacking against the sides of the mountains, drawn by gravity and the unrelenting force of its weight. Bogs and mud, overgrown and vanished trails of willow saplings and brush.

Breaking and training horses on the trail, in the remote wilderness, is certainly, while not my own idea of a good time, is the stuff legends (and movies!) are made of. People getting wiped off their own horses, a multitude of ways and with a variety of results. Getting tangled in lead ropes and thrown in the treacherous waters. Being rained on for 13 days straight, with no relent and no choice but to forge on, towards home.

Horseback Adventure

Tempers snap, teamwork perfected, laughter and stories of past rides are shared, exhaustion rules and with one common goal, to reach home and stop, the bonds are made permanent on this journey.

No matter how bad it gets, no matter how tired or hurt you may be, we have to keep going.” This Adventure is a life changing one.

Horseback Adventure

Looking for the Horseback Adventure for you and your own family? Don’t worry! I can help with that.

Here are a few posts that may help you choose:

Family Friendly Summer Vacation in Alaska

Alaska Horseback Adventures

Wilderness Horseback Adventure in Alaska

Reasons for A Horseback Riding Adventure, Even For the Inexperienced

3 Reasons You Should Spend Your Vacation With Pioneer Outfitters

Dreaming of an Exciting and Unique Adventure?

Trail Rides in Alaska for Your Family

Here are the pages on this website you may want to check out for the different Adventures we offer:

Horseback Adventures

The Chisana Gold Rush

Horseback Riding Wilderness Pack Trips

Horseback Spiritual Retreats

Summer Mini (5-Day) Horseback Adventures

YOUR Perfect Adventure Choice

Too much information?! LOL, don’t worry! You can simply click the “Book it” box below and we will give you a call real soon and we can just chat about what you are hoping for or answer any of the questions that may be confusing or befuddling.

Book It! Button

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16 Responses to Looking Back at the International Horseback Adventure

  1. The Ultimate Endurance Trail Ride ever! I’m not even going to say it..you KNOW what I said/thought….LOL

    I’ll be waiting for a zillion photos and one Heck of a story!!!

    As Always ~*~

    • Zip it.
      Or I’ll make YOU go instead!
      LOL, no, but I really do wish you were going to be right there with us.
      What a riot! (picturing the look on your face when you realize how dead-honest I really was being!)

      • Oh I KNOW! how dead honest you were being and what you go through..we talked about it before..the country your riding through and untrained horses make the hardest of Endurance Rides..the cream of the crop to do and get accepted to ride in.. the Tevis Cup..look like a Saturday Picnic Ride!!! Ahhh but it’s the challenge ..Big Smile..and then you get those bragging rites ya know..one day..you do this what once every decade?..lol..i might be 80 but I’ll be there!!! xoxo

        • Oh my heavens. Now I have that in my mind. Sigh. How much of a puss do ya think I’ll be by then?! And most importantly, we wont have to actually climb any mountains, will we?

          • Hehehe….that’s a awful picture to have in your mind..*snicker. You’ll be a puss?? *Snort..you’d be my age, child! Climb mountains..hmmm..maybe go around them?

    • I can COMPLETELY see you standing right there, Brian!
      And I am going to tell my Dad you think this trip will make a good movie! I’ll see what I can do for you on that one… stay tuned…

    • LOL Terri!
      Isn’t that how I would say “If you live through it, well then, now you have braggin rights.”
      I really do love my life, And I totally love sharing it, here online is almost as special at times as it is here, in Chisana, Terri.
      We (a friend who lives a few miles away in another cabin in the area) were chatting just today how completely “foreign” our lifestyle and way of life really is, to people who have never experienced anything like it.
      Well, hey! I am so happy that you came to visit!

    • I can’t even fathom it, Jayme. Seriously.
      I just (and I do mean “simply”) love what I do.
      We do what we do. And always try to do it better, than we did it last.

      THAT is what a hero is to me…YOU are one of mine…
      Someone who is truly in THEIR spot. Doing what they were meant to do.
      Someone who never allows “good enough” to top “better and best”.

      Thank you for coming by, Jayme. I know how busy we ALL are but sometimes, right before we head out for the seasons, you all boost me and remind me how important it ALL is.
      Take care of you and our world while I’m gone, ok? And make sure no one forgets me! I’ll be back full-force in October. Till then, just touch-n-gos.

    • Oh! Brian, I had to laugh when I read your comment!!
      No, we wouldn’t have buried you out there!! ~ It would have just felt as if we were gonna have to! (LMAO) We are offering this epic Adventure to folks! (Bad for business, ya know, if you end up killing guests!) It IS really hard…. and it IS really amazing. It is absolutely the most spectacular country of both the Yukon and Alaska. To witness and to experience. It is NOT easy. It is NOT a trail ride. And it is NOT to be undertaken without Professional, knowledgeable AND experienced guides. But truly, it IS the most enlightening experience a human can take part in. For looking into and seeing oneself, for seeing this world we were all blessed with. Stay tuned, I am deciphering my notes as fast as I can!
      ~ Alaska Chick!

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