Who doesn’t love the fall colors of the Quebec region of Canada? Now imagine discovering the Canadian countryside on horseback. I was able to explore the hills and valleys of the Charlevoix region horseback riding in Quebec, Canada. Even better, I was riding on the back of a Canadian horse in mid-October when the leaves were at their peak.
Legacy, a Canadian horse. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown
The Canadian horse, while common to New France in the 1700’s, almost disappeared during the 19th century as thousands of horses were exported to the United States for support in the Civil War and to serve as breeding stock. The huge exports led to a breeding drop in the population in Canada during the 1870’s. In 1913 the Canadian government stepped in and created a breeding center in Quebec, Canada. Around the early 1980’s the Canadian horse was again in jeopardy as its numbers dwindled with less than 400 horses in the breed register. Fortunately, the breed is recovering and there are now more than 6,000 registered Canadian horses, affectionately called “the horse of steel” due to their strength and ability to work under poor conditions.
Fortunately for me, I was able to ride Legacy, a Canadian horse who was friendly, responsive and happily living under ideal conditions in Saint-Irénée, Quebec.
Charlevoix horseback riding
As my taxi pulled up to Les Écuries Entre Monts et Marées or The Stables Between Tides and Mountains as it translates from French to English, I was greeted not by the usual pack of barn dogs, but a litter of kittens. Orange tabby cats tumbled over bales of hay and cozied up to the young girls who were preparing to go horseback riding in Charlevoix that crisp fall morning.
Les Écuries Entre Monts et Marées
The Stables Between Tides and Mountains opened their doors in 2003 for horseback riding as a way for brother and sister, Stephane and Emilie Audet to pay their way through school. The siblings actually sold their snowmobiles to afford the purchase of the first two horses. The business grew from there to an equestrian center with an indoor barn and riding arena, 30 horses and many acres of forested trails and open meadows for riding.
Trail rides are offered year round with sleigh rides in the winter. The horses are ridden Western, offering 1, 1.5, 2 and 3 hour trail rides. One hour beach rides are available in the summer season.
No riding experience is necessary, with rides offered at a walk on very gentle and reliable horses. Advanced riders have more options and are open to 2-4 equestrians with the same level of riding experience. Horseback riders must be 6 years and older with children wearing riding helmets.
Additionally, Emilie Audet offers horseback riding lessons at the year-round equestrian riding center.
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown.
If You Go:
Les Écuries Entre Monts et Marées (418) 452-3251
645 rang St-Antoine, Saint-Irénée, Québec,
Canada G0T 1V0
Article, photos and video by Equine Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Les Écuries Entre Monts et Marées and Tourism Quebec. All opinions are my own.