Horse Trekkin Alaska, a Summer and Winter horseback riding and driving outfit based right here in Anchorage, gave us a little taste of old-time Alaska mingled with some European flavor.
Steve Steenmeyer, owner and operator of the business, says that his clientele is split between locals looking for something special to do with the family and that of visitors to Alaska that want to experience the rugged landscape that beckons right outside the door. He’s had couples become engaged on sleigh rides, hunters seeking that elusive moose, and kids looking for a unique birthday party.
I have a history with horses dating back to my love affair with the Black Stallion, and had been looking for an opportunity to expose our little boy to some horsiness. Steenmeyer offers Wintertime excursions through Ruth Arcand Park in South Anchorage on a half-hour or hour-long sleigh ride. For an extra $10 a person, he even cooks up a little appetizer snack of soup and cheese fondue, done the European way.
The sleigh ride was a journey into quiet spruce forests readying themselves for Spring’s advance. The horses, a nicely paired team of black Percheron draft horses, were well-behaved and friendly to my neophyte child and husband. Our driver, Nathan, was warm and cordial and regailed us with tales of the Anchorage park system and past rides he has led through the Chugach range.
After a brisk trot through the woods, we stopped at the “halfway” point to allow for photos and some snack time for the horses. Our little boy was able to feed two carrots to “Mac” and “Sid”, and they were most gentle with the small hands offering such a treat.
Steenmeyer provides faux fur robes to snuggle in, along with a bit of wit to every sleigh ride’s departure, quoting poetry and a rollicking cowboy lore to get customers in the mood for the adventure they are embarking upon. The sleigh is the “vis-a-vis” type, meaning we sat facing each other, historically because chaperones were to ride with the loving young couple to keep an eye on things. Right.
We found the half-hour ride to be perfect with a four-year old; enough time to experience the jolt and slip of the sleigh and then be ready to warm up in Steenmeyer’s little log cabin at the edge of the Equestrian Center in Ruth Arcand Park.
Warm and full of hot chocolate, cider, fondue and moose chili, we sat around the cozy pub table and talked with Steve about past clients and the upcoming summer season. He says he is already booking excursions into the Chugach and is sure more are on the way.
The afternoon finally turned into evening, and we somewhat reluctantly shuffled out of the cabin and to our cars, basking in the glow of a special experience that we will certainly repeat. It was a winner, for sure.
Visit Horse Trekkin Alaska’s Web site for contact info, scheduling, cost and some great photos of past trips. Don’t miss out, this is a great way to see Alaska without going too far with kids.