On the first Saturday in February, the little town of Ste-Justine-de-Newton, Québec, population 850, organizes a sleigh ride. We went to check out the action this morning, and Eric made a new friend:
Eric fell in love with this lovely Belgian draft-horse...and he didn't even get his name!
I love this scene; there is something typically Québécois about the quilted horse-blanket and the lady in the fur coat and hat.
And they're off!
The majority of these sleighs were from the region; this is horse country, after all. This is one of a few local sleigh rides this group organizes every winter. The group follows a groomed trail made especially for them through the woods, and everyone packs a lunch that is eaten beside a bonfire. One team of horses stays in the village and offers free buggy rides to anyone who wants to ride up and down the main street.
The group then meets back in the same parking lot they departed from a few hours later, and a dinner and dance are held the same evening at the community centre. Anyone can attend; all you need to do is buy a ticket.
Here we've got a pair of Canadians. Horses, that is.
This looks like a fun ride. In the back ground, there is a little tent set up. Coffee with your choice of liqueur. Gotta love an event that sanctions hard liqueur before noon AND provides portable toilets, as well as ample free parking. Sign me up!
These Clydesdales were wonderful!
I loved this little Haflinger pair; they were lively and raring to go!
I am not sure if these were Gypsy Horses or Paints.
And a solo Cyldesdale. All told, there must have been about 20 or so sleighs, and about the same number of riders on horseback.
Everyone kept asking us which ride we were going with, but we didn't realize it was one of those events...we thought we had to be connected to someone to get a ride, but hospitality abounds here. Small-town Québec at its finest!
I am marking the date on my calendar for next year. Next time, we're going prepared with a nice picnic lunch and a flask of Bailey's-infused coffee. I told Eric I'd buy him an old mink coat at Value Village, and knit him a long toque à la bonhomme Carnaval especially for the occasion.
I better start knitting now...