British Columbia

Sisters dip horses' hooves in Pacific Ocean to conclude coast-to-coast ride

Katie and Jewel Keca spent 250 days over two summers riding from Mahone Bay, N.S., to B.C.'s South Coast.

Katie and Jewel Keca spent 250 days over 2 summers riding from Nova Scotia to B.C.'s South Coast

Jewel and Katie Keca embrace while standing in the Pacific with their horses Aurora, left, and Phoenix, which they rode across Canada. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Two sisters from Ontario dipped their horses' hooves into the Pacific Ocean on Saturday to conclude a 250-day ride of a lifetime across Canada.

Katie and Jewel Keca set out in the summer of 2017 from Mahone Bay, N.S., and spent 116 days riding on horseback to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

This summer they set out again from Ontario and rode for 134 days to arrive at the Pacific Ocean.

"We're here, we're here," the two sisters from Grimsby, Ont., said as they led their horses, Ora and Phoenix, to the waters at Crescent Beach in Surrey, B.C.

"We are very tired, we are so tired," said Katie.

Since they were children, Katie, now 25, and Jewel, 20, said they had been dreaming of doing the ride because of their love of horses. But their family, at first, was skeptical about it.

"When [Jewel] said she wanted to ride her horse across Canada, it was like, 'OK how are you going to do it?'" said their brother Joseph Keca.

The Keca sisters worked multiple jobs to raise money to buy their horses and prepare.

Once they set out, mostly following the Trans Canada Trail, they rode around 12 hours each day. They said they endured tough weather like hail and lightning, as well as busy highways at times, with transport trucks zooming by.

Along the way they raised more than $12,000 for guide dog organizations.

"I lived out that childhood dream," said Jewel.

Katie Keca strokes her horse Phoenix after arriving at Crescent Beach in Surrey, B.C., at the conclusion of her cross-Canada horseback ride on Sept 14. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Even though their journey is over, Katie says she hopes people who learn about their ride will be inspired to chase their own dreams.

"Even if you don't know what you're getting into, you don't feel like you're capable, just start — that's the most important thing, just take the first few steps," Katie said.

With files from Deborah Goble

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