Tiger Lilly Farm Errington BC

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The family decision was to ride horses. Of the four of us, I the eldest, last rode a horse in the early 1990s a couple of years before our trail guide was born. I didn’t feel old at all, no sir. The rest of the gang was equally out of practice or inexperienced.

Errington is near Coombs and only 10 minutes from Parksville. Tiger Lilly Farm is a left off of Highway 4A on Errington Road.

Tiger Lilly Farm offers trail rides and a farm petting zoo. This part is perfect for younger children, especially those with limited exposure to goats, sheep, rabbits, donkeys, ponies (which little kids could ride) and a set of new born kittens. They are separate entry fees, technically, but it was quiet and as we waiting for our trail ride guide, we could look around.

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This miniature donkey was one of the greeters.

Once the group out on the trail had returned our trail guide prepared horses suitable for our varied age and sized group and it was time to saddle up.

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Michelle, our skilled trail guide

One of the many things I’d forgotten since I last rode was how high up you are once on a horse. My mare, Peggy, was rock solid and incredibly patient with the huffing nervous moose-sized wreck that was on her back. The rest of the family was saddled up and our guide took another bunch of greenhorns on the trail.

The 30-minute introduction trail ride was good enough for all of us to understand the concepts of the reins and how to position oneself on the saddle for up hills and down hills.

These horses had taken these same trails so many times I had the distinct impression that were not horse riders, but horse passengers. My instructions with the reins were accidentally correct and when wrong ignored. Peggy decided she needed a drink of water in the stream and nothing I had to said about it mattered. Our trail guide confirmed this.

About halfway through the ride, my nerves levelled to something sensible and I could enjoy myself. The trail itself was a simple forest run, but was very dusty due to the dry conditions. A Stellar Jay yelled at us at one point and I could imagine when a bit greener how lovely it would be. I did remember not to clench too hard with my legs because a) it’s not necessary and b) reduces the numb-butt phenomenon at the end.

When it came to dismounting, there was no step ladder to help. The trick for me was to engage upper body strength and slide off smoothly, preferably not landing on the trail guide.

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The whole family on their mounts.

The family ride had thumbs up from everyone and we hope to do the hour-long ride next time.

For more information: www.tigerlilyfarm.ca

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