Vancouver City Slicker Enjoys a Special Equine Retreat
by Diana Mark
Twincreeks is a beautiful eight-acre ranch located in the rural area of Glenora in the Cowichan Valley, ten minutes southwest of Duncan, on Vancouver Island, and only a ferry ride away from the Lower Mainland. The facility has a huge, beautiful sand riding ring, wonderful paddocks under the trees, a creek running through it, a giant, five-acre field for horse play, and access to the Trans Canada Trail.
Owners Deborah Flinn and Launie Gratto are wonderful hosts. They are passionate about making your experience at their facility something special including wonderful down home cooking, sitting out on the deck in the evening, and enjoying a glass of wine while watching our horses in their paddocks. This is a treat we city slickers don’t often experience. Who ever thought mucking out a paddock would be fulfilling? There’s something about waking up, pulling on my boots, and heading out to bring feed and water to my horse that is anything but work. My horse’s head coming up in delighted greeting at seeing me is a great start to my day. If you are like me, our horses are boarded out at stables. If I get out there to ride three times a week I’m doing really well so interacting with my horse all day long is something special.
I arrived at the ranch for an Adiva Murphy clinic. A fabulous part of this experience was getting to watch other women working with their horses during the clinic and seeing how they all connected differently. I learned a lot this way. The spiritual bond we women share with our horses is pretty special. Being able to learn so much about my horse and myself in such a supportive environment was an extraordinary opportunity. It’s like going away to summer camp only better…and with much better food and wine!
Twincreeks is constantly evolving. In 2011 they focused on offering Adiva Murphy Natural Horsemanship Clinics, Cowgirl Getaway Weekends (an all inclusive package) and Bed, Breakfast and Bale (bring your own horse). Also very popular are the annual week-long ladies’ camp and kids’ camps. In the fall the ranch hosted horse-centered writers’ and artists’ workshops. A new addition in 2011 was horse agility clinics with Adiva. The back field sports a horse playground. This includes various structures on which to teach and test your horse – poles to weave in and out of, large and small platforms for your horse to walk on, giant upright tires to walk between, and overhead streamers to walk through, as well as other challenges.
Besides activities at the facility, Twincreeks has a gate in the back field that opens directly onto the Trans Canada Trail. Turn right, and you head onto wonderful flat trails that go on for miles (wonderful for us Type A’s who want to gallop fast!). Turn left and you have the joy of climbing trails that head up into the mountains or meander along old logging trails and miles of winding brush trails. There are so many different places to go, no traffic just the wonderful out-of-doors. Being able to hire Deb to come along as the host of our trail ride made it even more enjoyable – no stress about getting lost. Deb also offers individual and group lessons, always based on natural horsemanship “Twincreeks Style.” This is all about seeing from our horses’ perspective and learning the language of the horse.
As a busy professional, when I’m on holiday, it had better be a genuine break. And this is exactly what Twincreeks was for me. I was able to enjoy my horse, have all my meals cooked for me, and at the end of the day I sat out on the patio deck, watching the horses and enjoying the company of others. Before bed, I had a soak in the hot tub, a perfect finish to a perfect day. I was unable to stay up very late, simply wonderfully tired after a day out in the fresh air with my horse.
Twincreeks was my little secret, but it’s too good to keep to myself. You, too, will want to enjoy this unique retreat and have your own, genuine horse immersion experience. For more information, check out the two websites: www.twincreeks.ca and www.adivamurphy.com.
Diana Mark is president of her own private company involved in the mining sector in downtown Vancouver. She lives in Surrey with her family and has been riding for 8 years.
Published February 2012 Issue