Bryan Semeschuk with two of his colleagues Bonnie (left) and Wyatt.

Bryan Semeschuk with two of his colleagues Bonnie (left) and Wyatt.

Our Town: A sleigh ride in the valley

The Semeschuk's have been offering sleigh rides for 12 years.

The sun had already set, leaving a soft blue light cast over the hills just beyond the boundary of the Village of Telkwa.

With bells on, a couple takes a stroll down a snowy path, their eight-month-old in tow.

Perhaps now we should mention that this picture-perfect family is actually a family of horses.

Now in the midst of the holiday season, the people behind B&T Sleigh Rides are busy giving locals and visitors the old-time experience of horse-drawn sleigh rides.

For Bryan Semeschuk, the driver of this evening’s sleigh, Christmas is one of the best times of year.

“I prefer the winter,” he said as he leads his team of two horses. “No bugs, and the horses seem to prefer to work in the winter time.”

Bryan and his wife Tanis have been operating their sleigh ride operation for 12 years, after Bryan took a 30 year break from having horses.

“I grew up with horses,” he said. “I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. My dad had a team of horses. As a kid I learned how to run a team of horses.”

By trade he’s a carpenter and he hand made the sleighs that his customers ride on.

Usually their rides are an hour and a half, one hour being the actual sleigh ride, and another half hour dedicated to enjoying a campfire out near a cabin on their route.

In all it’s about a five kilometre trip.

The Semeschuks don’t just bring their horses out for the winter. They’re used all year round for shows around the Northwest — they go to Prince Rupert, Houston, Hazelton, and all places in between — and are used for farming and hauling wood in the spring and summer.

Right now they have a total of nine horses.

On the Dec. 17 ride described at the start of this article, Bryan was taking out Wyatt, a black stallion, and Bonnie, the mare, with their eight-month-old offspring trotting along beside.

“You can’t leave him behind because he won’t stay behind,” said Bryan.

At Christmas, with so many people coming into the area to visit family, he said he gets a lot of people from cities or from Europe who really enjoy the ride out in the woods.

Over the course of their riding season they’ll do about 50 trips. Snow fall this year has been very good, starting off with six inches right at the start and he said in the bush there is about three feet.