Hey…. Horses and Heaven

Woah Bessy! Sure has been awhile since we last strolled in here and worked on things round these parts….

Well truth be told, we have been writing, just struggling with that publish button to the right there.  That draft folder is a wee bit full, overflowing in fact, as I sit here and start this piece while I am in the “zone.”

Perhaps we have been transitioning, rediscovering ourselves, taking on a few new inspiring projects….
Perhaps we have simply just been living in the now and spending more time revelling in the moments, mapping them into our memories, keeping them for us instead of sharing with the world. Perhaps we have been exploring new ground, exciting ventures or attempting other passions. And I am here to set the record straight. Yes – we have been all of the above. And I say we, because both Jen and I have been dipping our toes into many running waters. We simply cannot stay still!

For myself, I have been neck deep into sorting out my other businesses as they seem to have exploded overnight. While it has actually been about 5 years, it has finally gained a momentum that has me spinning in a whirlwind of gratitude mixed with a little bit of crazy. I have come to a place where I have let go of many burdens, including toxic creative thieves and now all my passions, talents and experiences have managed to hit the mosh pit together!

Part of my journey has included my camera, watercolours, some clay and lots of wood. I have reached a new level of creativity and  it is like fire with 3 gallons of gasoline. Dare I even use the word artist? In any case, it has been amazing and it has led me to explore new dirt roads.

Lo and behold, at the end of one of those dirt roads was my never never land and the reason I am compelled to write tonight off the cuff at 11:00 pm. {when I say off the cuff I really mean lots of grammatical errors are highly likely}.

I have a minor addiction to hugging and snuggling and hence photographing horses. I don’t have horses of my own {gosh – I wish I had horses – it is time to move to place with land} so instead  I love other people’s horses. These other people don’t know I love their horses – at least I don’t think they do! Or maybe I am known in the local ranch circle as that crazy woman that stops every few kilometres to meet and greet horses. Who knows? All I know is that I plan my road trips to work around stopping to visit my fur friends who now all know the sound of my car and voice. {A normal person would drive to Banff on the main highway and take 1 hour to get there. I take all the dirt roads and it can take me up to 2 hours to get to work}

I haven’t been confronted.  I hope I am not either as it has sort of become a bit of a therapy for me. I don’t feed them, but I do admit to giving them suiting names and all I do it pet them, brush and braid  their manes and tickle their chins, scratch their ears. Some come in for the horse hug resting their big, heavy heads on my shoulder. This is my heaven.  I have been obsessed with horses, sunsets, sunrises, mountains and lakes since I could draw them all on paper, over and over again.

I am fortunate to live in Cowboy Country in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, just west of Calgary, Alberta. Since moving here from Banff – Canada’s  jewel of the mountains – I fell easily in love with the lifestyle and the landscape. I have met some incredible people who have lightly fed my thirst for this world to some capacity. I occasionally pull the Labrador Cowgirl card as I learn the “ropes” and I swear, starting a flooded skidoo in the middle of the woods seems like an easier task than getting on a horse and learning to ride. It is on the top of the bucket list by the way, to ride a horse well and to do so often.  It is time I saddle on up and take the reins and go learn to gallop…… as soon as funds allow it. Learning to ride a horse is still out of reach for me as I simply cannot justify the cost for lessons for myself.  Both kids however are privy to this luxury. Some day it will my my turn. 

Basically, tonight I want to introduce you to one of the latest most, relaxing, inspiring, beautiful  places I have been. Saddle Peak Ranch just east of Banff National Park or just west of Cochrane up highway 40 is just another slice of heaven, with hay and horses!

I was invited out as part of a local group of photographers organized by Tim Hall {professional photographer based out of Cochrane) to explore the ranch and snap snap snap until my hearts content. It was a gorgeous day, and I brought my daughter along as I thought she’d be keen to see some horses with me too. I don’t consider myself a photographer, so I am super grateful to be among this crowd. It was a loose, free kind of day, then ended with a big pot luck scoff and enough I could feed my belly and fill my soul.

The place itself is your classic Alberta Guest Ranch, eclectic, rustic, beautiful as it stands and traditionally welcoming. The owners, Dave and Jacquie along with Cody are the salt of the earth types, filled with history and proud heritage, amazing stories, knowledge beyond their years that only can be gained working hard in a venture such as theirs. They offer rustic camping, a dance barn | donut tent for parties, weddings and retreats as well. In talking with Jacquie, I discovered it to be an event designers / planner’s paradise with her “just about anything goes” flexibility.

In short, both my daughter and I had an incredible day exploring the ranch, loving some horses, getting kitten cuddles, dog kisses and making new friends. It is a photographer’s paradise. Tons of terrain and landscape to fill a card easily in 15 minutes.

Weathered fences and buildings lend a historic charm along with a variety of props to use, otherwise known as normal ranch stuff that is kicking around! Old saddles, barbed wire, tools, boots, horseshoes, antlers and skulls, all their for use.

Saddle Peak is now expanding outside the “normal trail ride” operation and is opening up their land to others for exploration and offering Photography Packages. It is so worth it to head on out there and scoop up some good photos. I guarantee you will leave feeling more fulilled and inspired than when you arrive. And arriving there is really high up on the fulfillment and inspiration scale. So go! Hey…. Horses and Heaven…….anything better?

All photos here taken by myself, Alannah Gamblin-Jensen as I road trip to work or visit ranches to take photos! If you are interested in prints or my art – let me know! 


  1. Thank you! So glad you enjoyed our brief tour here.. next time plan on staying overnight in a ccabin going for a ride, you saw just a sample of what we have to show you! Looking forward to seeing you again!

Stoke the Fire

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