The Waterford’s Residents Ride The Range

senior at the barn with a horse
senior group riding horses

As a young woman Wynn and her horse, Rusty competed and won regularly. They rode English, Western and Side Saddle and took home ribbons in all categories. “Rusty was just a mixture of nothing, but he could beat all the others,” Wynn remembers fondly. “He was good at showing, and we had a lot of fun.”

So when 98-year-old Wynn heard that Waterford residents were getting an opportunity to ride horses with Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities in Langley, she seized it. And she wasn’t alone. This is the second year Recreation Coordinator, Chanelle Gunderson has taken a group riding. And for some of the participants, it was only the second time riding!

PRDA offers assisted riding, with specially trained staff and volunteers, and customized equipment for helping riders mount and dismount. Of course, the real stars are the horses — Marvin, Alex and Bella are gentle, patient and kind with their riders, treating them as old friends.

Brenda was impressed with the experience. “It was easy!” she boasts as she came back from riding Bella through Campbell Valley Park, “I hadn’t been on a horse for years and years, but we got lots of help, the staff are so wonderful here—kind and caring!

The sunny day was full of delights beyond the stable as well. Residents enjoyed lunch in the field house with Freedom the dog rustling under the table for scraps, and then took turns cuddling a pair of three-week-old lambs who were more than happy to snuggle. After riding the Campbell Valley trails, they finished the day with a little show by three miniature ponies who cavorted like puppies around the paddock.

Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities is a not-for-profit therapeutic riding facility that has been helping people with physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities experience the joy of horseback riding for more than 40 years.