In one way or another, life’s nearly always been about horses for Langley’s Darcy Campbell.
“I think it’s everybody’s dream,” says Campbell of horseback riding.
“I’ve met lots of lawyers who dreamed they wanted to be cowboys, but never met [any] cowboys who dreamed they wanted to be a lawyer.”
Once a farmer and rodeo circuit roper in Alberta, these days Campbell and his white coloured eight-horse trailer can be found at the reins of Langley’s Back in the Saddle Again.
The company offers guided trail riding through the Township’s Campbell Valley Regional Park, which features 14 kilometres of even horse trails, views of Mount Baker and diverse wildlife and scenery.
It’s a great opportunity for riders of all ages and skill levels who are unable to afford the high costs and time commitment of horse ownership. Anyone six and over can ride their own horse – who is groomed, saddled and waiting at the park’s entrance – and there are also special parent-led rides for toddlers.
Back in the Saddle Again, a nod to the classic song by Gene Autry, offers one hour rides for $50 per person and two hours for $90, with discounts for purchasing more than one ride in advance. The rides can accommodate up to 15 people at a time.
But Campbell says savvy riders take advantage of their unique yearly membership packages, which he compares to a gym membership.
“They’re probably riding for five bucks a day,” he said.
Members have access to up to two hours of riding per day, priority reservations and horse choices, first notice for rides at special locations and access to winter riding facilities at indoor arenas.
Campbell has been making a living offering rides for around 20 years, starting with just 40 acres and 6 horses. He now cares for more than 40 head of horses on his own, most of which are retired farm animals.
“I like old ranch horses,” says Campbell, who is also known to attend various auctions to buy and sell the animals. “I find horses with a little age on them are better because they’ve got all the silliness out of them.”
Back in the Saddle Again operates every day of the year by reservation, with the exception of Christmas Day. Although Campbell says 90 per cent of the company’s business takes place over the months of July and August, he stresses that Langley residents don’t have to miss out on the fresh air and animal companionship year round.
He says his favourite time to ride is actually in the fall and spring, amid changing colours and cooler temperatures for the horses.
More information and booking details can be found online at www.backinthesaddle.ca.