Many of you might have seen James Richard galloping around town on his horse, or taking people on tour around Revelstoke in a horse-drawn carriage.
As a child, he had a dream of becoming a cowboy and over the years, he made it happen.
“In the movies, since cowboys always get the girl,” James Richard says, “I figured I had better be a cowboy.”
After years competing on the rodeo circuit he packed his things and moved to his property in Galena, south of Revelstoke. This past winter, he started Revelstoke Horseback Adventures, offering everything from one hour rides around town to multi-day tours down south.
Now, he has a new attraction — the Revelstoke Petting Zoo.
Located just off the Trans-Canada Highway west of Revelstoke, Richard has an assortment of critters for local kids and adults alike to come and visit.
“Right now I have three piglets, a potbelly pig, two goats, a lamb, a super old mangy looking but healthy and sweet pony named Doug, an alpaca, 10 chickens and a male peacock,” he explains.
Richard goes to the property daily and permanent on site staff ensure the animals are cared for and safe.
“Another reason I started the petting zoo was because there wasn’t one in Revelstoke, but lots of people seemed interested in pony rides, riding lessons and animals in general,” Richard says. “Since I have the horses and ponies, it made sense.”
“Also, I hate to see animals go to waste,” Richard adds.
When near a rescue or auction, Richard has a hard time ignoring the animals that might otherwise go to slaughter or live a lifetime of neglect rather than grow into their potential. The petting zoo’s pigs, peacock, and several of Richard’s horses and ponies are some of the creatures that have found a better home thanks to him and are a testament to his belief.
As for Richard’s teenage dream of being a cool cowboy with lots of girlfriends, “That is not the reality,” he laughs. “It really isn’t a good way to get a girl. Instead you get no girl and have a really expensive passion.”
To Richard, the expense is worth it.