Gina McKnight, Author, Freelance Writer, Equestrian, Blogger, and Poet! Welcome to my international blog about horses, writers, authors, books, cowboys, equestrians, photographers, artists, poets, poems, and more horses.
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Sunday, January 20, 2013
Alaskan Wilderness Adventure by Gina McKnight 1st Publication Going Gaited @2012 2nd Publication A Love for Horses @Jan 2013
an ebony Alaskan range horse. She is a
working herd mare thriving in a fly-in area deep in the Chisana, Alaska
interior, site of the last historic gold rush.
Tiny is a mere 17 hands, towering her peers, humans and select tundra. A
docile mare, most of the time, she works for Pioneer Outfitters hauling confident
guides, adventurous tourists and sometimes the occasional traditional pack
Dibble is guide and Manager of Pioneer Outfitters.Hailing from Sherman, New York, Amber-Lee was
raised on a dairy farm; now, she is living her dream.She is good friends with Tiny. They respect
each other and their assigned roles as outdoor wilderness guides.Amber-Lee says, “I am a farm girl. I have
always been proud of that and loved the fact that I could say that.While others of the same young age were
partying, studying or planning for whatever future they hoped for and dreamed
of, I knew exactly where I was headed and what I would do. In the Paint Horse
Journal I found my dream - Alaska. An article about Pioneer Outfitters Master
Guide Terry Overly was a hope and wish.” After communication with Terry,
Amber-Lee was soon on her way to meeting Alaskan range horses, realizing her
dream and melding with the vast Alaskan landscape.
Outfitters offer horseback adventures for all experience levels and age
groups. Horses are their livelihood. Amber-Lee explains, “Our horses are one of
the favorite things about my life! Our horses are range horses, which means for
seven and half months a year they are wild.
They free range in the enormous Wrangell St. Elias National Park and
Preserve. They are as tough as they
come. They live in the wild, fight off
timber wolves, are intimately knowledgeable of the terrain and are the most
sure-footed horses I have ever experienced riding. They carry our gear so we can offer our
guests and clients comfortable camps; across rivers, through bogs, over
mountains, and over hundreds of miles of Alaskan wilderness.”
looking for more stock to add to their herd, Pioneer Outfitters has certain
equine requirements. “We are looking for short and stocky, all ass and no body.
We like mountain horses; big-footed, short-coupled, short-backed, between 900 to
1,200 pounds, 14.5 to 15.5 hands, short-necked, heavy-boned, with an average
shoe size of 2 to 3.” That is a mighty horse! Their stalwart horses must brave
the Alaskan flora and fauna as well as become the perfect companion for a
explains that their horses are not ‘pets’.
“We like the horses that would rather not have anything to do with us,
the barn and the yards. The horses are important to us, not only as an
important part of the business and the history of the area, but because they
are our partners. They do amazing things for us, just because we ask.”
bridles, tightened cinches, ready scabbards and anxious tourists prepare to
traipse the magnificent Alaskan void. The event of a lifetime begins with a
connection to your assigned horse. Amber-Lee schools visitors on the
disposition of their mount as well as Alaska’s offering of cold weather,
vivacious wildlife and extreme beauty.
Amber-Lee says, “A guide, whether a hunting or horse pack trip guide,
has more to do with the client than anyone else. A guide must know all options and answers. In
our remote and inaccessible world, a guide must show no fear or worry. The well
being and safety of the client and horses come first. Chaos does happen and the
guide has to be able to react quickly, decisively, calmly and autocratically.”
may be small in stature, but she is certainly big on her love for horses, her
good sense of humor and strong sense of self-worth. With temperatures ranging from coldest to unspeakable,
raising a family in Chisana is as brave and vigorous as her mountain horses.
She says, “I stay because of the beauty of the land, the family I have made
here and the wonder of the fact that I can sit back and say this is what I do.”
Tiny, Amber-Lee and the entire herd of mountain horses in the deep Alaskan
tundra. Offerings include Summer
Horseback Adventures, Fall Photo Safaris, Winter and Springtime Excursions and
more, all on horseback; an equestrians dream adventure.