Little Riders invited for sleigh rides with Cariboo Carriage

Karen Sepkowski of Cariboo Carriage leads her draft horses on a sleigh ride with members from the Little Riders horse group Sunday at her property on Anderson Road. (Greg Sabatino photos)Karen Sepkowski of Cariboo Carriage leads her draft horses on a sleigh ride with members from the Little Riders horse group Sunday at her property on Anderson Road. (Greg Sabatino photos)
Karen Sepkowski of Cariboo Carriage leads her draft horses on a sleigh ride with members from the Little Riders horse group Sunday at her property on Anderson Road. (Greg Sabatino photos)Karen Sepkowski of Cariboo Carriage leads her draft horses on a sleigh ride with members from the Little Riders horse group Sunday at her property on Anderson Road. (Greg Sabatino photos)
Emma Porter (front from left), 6, Grace Porter, 8, and Izabella Telford, 5, meet the draft horses with Cariboo Carriage’s Deena Rhodes.Emma Porter (front from left), 6, Grace Porter, 8, and Izabella Telford, 5, meet the draft horses with Cariboo Carriage’s Deena Rhodes.
Karen Sepkowski readies the horses and sled for a day of rides at the Cariboo Carriage property on Anderson Road.Karen Sepkowski readies the horses and sled for a day of rides at the Cariboo Carriage property on Anderson Road.

The Little Riders Riding Club was treated to a day of sleigh rides Sunday thanks to the kind hospitality of Kim and Karen Sepkowski of Cariboo Carriage.

The invite was initially offered for the club to visit for wagon rides this summer by Karen after she saw all the work young club members put in to dressing up their horses for this year’s Williams Lake Stampede Parade.

“They’d spent all this time decorating their horses and then they find out there wasn’t any judging [for equine entires] in the parade for one reason or another,” Karen said. “I just thought I would invite them up here for a wagon ride and then, of course, the fires hit.”

The summer’s rides were forced to be cancelled due to the wildfires but Karen, who’s been involved in the Stampede Parade in one fashion or another for the past 22 years, thought winter wagon rides would be just as special for the kids.

Sunday’s festivities involved sleigh rides with Cariboo Carriage’s draft horses through the forest on the family’s trails at Anderson Road, followed by a hot dog roast around a fire.

Johanna Oosthuizen, the Little Riders Riding Club instructor, said she couldn’t have been happier with the invite.

She started the group three years ago doing favours for friends who had young children intersted in learning about horses and, it’s since grown into a full-fledged endeavour.

“It kind of became a hobby after that,” Oosthuizen said. “Then it became work because I found there were more and more kids who wanted to ride and, because there aren’t many people around that teach little kids, I started taking them at the age of three.”

Oosthuizen and the Little Riders Riding Club practice at her riding arena on Woodland Drive in Williams Lake.

“I do foundation riding with them,” she said.

“I teach them everything about horses. We teach them how to clean them, how to brush them, how to make the kids warm up with them, get them comfortable, play games … and things like that.”


@geesabby
sports@wltribune.com

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