While we might find trudging through the snow a bit tricky on a cold winter’s day, taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride makes the notion of a chilly afternoon outdoors much more fun. Grab your mitts, hats, long underwear and a hot beverage and climb onboard with the family or a group of friends. Explore farms, scenic acres and conservation areas. Of course, if there’s not enough snow to glide through, horse-drawn wagon rides may also be offered.
Riverbend Acres, Oxford County
You’ll be whisked along for either a sleigh or wagon ride by two Belgian horses that just happen to welcome some attention and treats. The ride lasts up to one hour and travels around the 100-acre farm, passing through field and bush, along the beautiful Nith River. Once the ride is over, you’re also welcome to explore the barn and see the working farm.
Fox Lair Stables, Canfield
Feeling brave enough to weather the cold on horseback? Trail rides are open to the public all year long, seven days a week. What could be more fun than spending a crisp, clear day on a guided trail through the bush on this 100-acre property south of Hamilton in Canfield? foxlairstables.com
Horse Drawn Tours, St. Jacobs
The area is famous for the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market, where it’s easy to spend hours browsing, buying and tasting everything there is to offer, but just five minutes away you can take a horse drawn tour at 1222 Apple Grove Road, Woolwich, Ontario. Take a scenic ride through open fields and the sugar bush while sleigh bells jingle in the background and add to the ambience. After a 45-minute sleigh ride, relax in the rustic sugar shack sipping on hot apple cider and warm up in front of the wood stove. stjacobshorsedrawntours.com
Winter Days in the Country, Mountsberg Conservation Area
Enjoy the thrill of a brisk winter sleigh ride followed by hot chocolate and marshmallows around the campfire in Mountsberg’s Sugar Bush. The hardworking team of Percheron horses complete the experience.
Evergreen Hill Farm, Port Dover
This farm’s beautiful Belgian draft horses will pull your group on a large bobsleigh or a smaller six-seat Victorian sleigh. The farm itself is situated on 600 acres on beautiful lakeside Port Dover. evergreenhillfarm.ca
Warner Ranch, Niagara Falls
Climb into an old English style sleigh and traverse over 100 hundred acres of picturesque landscape. Rides generally last 30 minutes. Go for a unique romantic adventure in the sleigh made for two or bring a group of friends and family for the group sleigh which seats up to 14 people. warnerranchandpumpkinfarm.com/winter-activities\
Tips For Your Outing
Day and evening rides can be chilly. Bring your own blankets to snuggle under, as well as hats, gloves and scarves.
Relish the View
Take in everything you see while on the ride: farmland, forests and any animals you might spot. Bring
Always ask the driver/owner if you can have a photo with and/or pet the horses. Ask before you go if you’d like to bring the horses a snack (sugar cubes or carrots, perhaps).
Arrivals & Departures
Some rides, such as Mountsberg, offer first-come first-served rides. Others must be booked in advance. Check each location’s website to find out if pre-booking is required.
Written by BECKY DUMAIS