Giddy-up for a sleigh ride around town

James Richard is offering horse-drawn sleigh rides around Revelstoke.

James Richard with his Percheron Sassy.

James Richard with his Percheron Sassy.

“That’s so cool!”

I’ve lost count on how many people have waved or rolled down their windows to comment as my son and I ride through town on a horse-drawn sleigh. A new sight for Revelstoke, James Richard owner of Revelstoke Horseback Adventures, says sleigh rides are something now offered in many ski towns.

“Revelstoke is the new hot thing and it’s one of those add-ons you can give people. It gives a unique aspect,” he told me.

Richard began offering the sleigh rides on New Year’s Eve. Sassy, the Percheron cross who is pulling the sleigh as we venture through downtown on the short and sweet tour, is currently one of three horses he has in Revelstoke (the other two are quarter horses Richard uses for personal riding).

The plan is to see how well the sleigh rides do over the next few months. If all goes well, Richard plans to bring additional horses to Revelstoke and will begin offering both short and long trail rides, although he says his preference is for the latter.

He’ll also be offering carriage rides instead of sleigh rides during the spring and summer.

“Personally I like the longer tours because it’s a holiday in itself,” said Richard, who says riders don’t need to have any previous experience.

“My horses don’t need [people] to have any experience, so it’s all really easy. It’s just a matter of what they want,” he continued. “I’ve taken people up for rides and gone for the weekend and they’ve never been up on the back of a horse and I find out half a year later they’ve bought horses.”

Surprisingly, I find out Richard didn’t grow up around horses. In fact, he tells me he and his three younger sisters were raised in Calgary. His father was a corporate lawyer and his mother a stay at home mother.

“My parents have no idea how they raised a cowboy,” Richard tells me.

Digging a little deeper, it turns out western movies were responsible for Richard’s interest in horses.

“I was 17 and didn’t have a girlfriend and I realized all the cowboys in the western movies, they had the hottest girlfriends. So I went out to a rescue and I got two horses and I started training them, didn’t know a thing,” he said. “Got bucked off and then I fell in love with that, so then I fell in love with rodeo and did that for a bit. I did saddle bronc and then after a couple of injuries I got into this and me and another couple of buddies started a trail riding business and it just sort of grew and then I came out here about a year ago.”

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