Yesterday evening, we enjoyed the first day of the year in a magical way—on a sleigh ride, through the woods, in the dark, through miles (and miles— two exactly) of twinkling Christmas lights.
The sleigh ride event was offered by the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association who partnered with Pigeon Lake Horse Drawn Rides as a fundraising event to support programs for a healthy lake and watershed. We were gifted with tickets by some good friends (Thank you!) and we made a donation to the Association to add to the fundraising pot. We were very excited! Although we had been on a handful of wagon rides (usually at the Village during Christmas or on visits to Fort Edmonton Park) we had never been on a sleigh ride through the snow.
The weather miraculously cooperated. After extreme cold warnings for over a week (-40*C with windchill) it suddenly warmed up to 8*C that evening! We dressed warm up for the 30-minute ride and when we arrived, we were greeted by Catherine (of the PLWA) with hot chocolate and a cozy fire.
The ride was truly magical. That really is the best word to describe it. Maybe because it was the first day of the New Year filled with promises of new adventures… Maybe because it was dark and the fire and Christmas lights glowed so brightly… Maybe because the ride was long enough that you felt immersed in the nocturnal world of the woods… Or maybe it was that hit of Baileys in the hot chocolate combined with the heady scent of horse and hay…
Regardless, Pete and Tug (two extremely large and handsome Belgian horses) pulled our heavy sleigh through the deep snow like we were feathers. Our teamster, Rus, made sure we all were comfortable and kept us laughing. He also gave Chayton (eight years old) a few impromptu lessons on how to be a teamster, letting him hold the reigns, steer, and even stopping and starting the horses. “Step up!” (That was an experience Chayton will always remember! Thank you, Rus!) A handful of small downhills on the trail made Chayton scream with delight (“We’re on a rollercoaster!!!”) and he enjoyed trying to touch the miles of strings of Christmas lights, which were always just out of reach.
Click here to see a video of the Christmas Light Night Ride on the Pigeon Lake Horse Drawn Rides website.
Pigeon Lake Horse Drawn Rides has been serving central Aberta for over 5 years. Owned and operated by Mike Patterson and Karen Sterling, they offer many services throughout the year, including:
- Christmas Light Night Ride
- Daytime Sleigh Ride
- Birthday Party Wagon Ride
- Romantic Ride
- Fireside Roast
- Photography (in partnership with Sterling Photography and Marketing)
They have a variety of wagons and sleighs, including a carriage, oak wagon, hitch wagon, bobsled, and sleigh (comfortable seating up to 3 passengers).
They also offer Horsemanship and Pony Exposure.
Located close to Pigeon Lake Provincial Park, include Pigeon Lake Horse Drawn Rides in your travel plans. Come out for the day and enjoy the horses and our beautiful Pigeon Lake Watershed!
Thank you to Michael for taking the picture of us last night (we forgot to bring our phone). Also, all photos on this page have been “borrowed” from the Pigeon Lake Horse Drawn Rides website (it was dark when we were there). Please visit their website for more excellent photos and video!
For more information, please contact Michael and Karen through the contact form on their website https://www.albertahorsedrawnrides.com or call 780-878-1054.
Pigeon Lake Watershed Association (PLWA) is a charitable, not-for-profit environmental advocacy group made up of people who live, work and play in Pigeon Lake and its watershed. Our mission is to enhance, preserve and protect Pigeon Lake and its watershed as a healthy and environmentally sustainable ecosystem for current and future generations.