For the fourth annual charity ride by Aldergrove-based Fraser Valley Hunt Society in support of Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities, about 20 horses and riders made a two-hour journey through Campbell Valley Regional Park on Sunday, Sept. 24.
Usually, participants in one of the club’s simulated fox hunts will follow hounds in pursuit of a “scent drag,” a bag that lays an artificial smell on the ground for the dogs to follow in cross-country pursuit.
However, rules about dogs in the park restricted the hounds to a short visit before the ride got underway.
Fourth annual charity trail ride— Langley Advance Times (@LangleyTimes) September 24, 2023
Fraser Valley Hunt is riding 'to the hounds' to raise funds for Langley's Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities pic.twitter.com/3yfmBkWhkc
William Donnellan, master of the hunt, arrived at the starting point, Histeds Farm in the 21400-block of 8th Avenue, with his three-year-old son Tiernan, who was eager to get on a horse with dad before the actual ride got underway.
“He loves the horses, and he loves the hounds, and this is his favourite day of the year,” Donnellan, a Vancouver resident, reported.
Donnellan emphasized the sport doesn’t involve pursuing actual foxes any more.
“It’s totally humane,” Donnellan explained.
“It’s for sport and it’s just kind of to bring people together.”
Aldergrove resident Kelly Coughlin, who was in charge of the dogs, as the huntsman for Fraser Valley, arrived with six English Foxhounds, who enthusiastically greeted the riders before they had to return to their trailer.
“Through a friend of mine, about eight years ago, I went on one hunt and it was sort of addicting. And, I haven’t looked back since,” Coughlin said.
“I’ve been riding for about 40 years, but just doing this sport for about eight years, now.”
About $8,000 was raised for Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities.
Fraser Valley Hunt is riding 'to the hounds' to raise funds for Langley's Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities pic.twitter.com/ThwrRcR6L7— Langley Advance Times (@LangleyTimes) September 24, 2023
PRDA director of operations Erin Julihn was present for the start of the ride.
“We’re so excited to be the beneficiary of their charity ride again this year,”Julihn commented.
“The hunt has been great supporters of Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities through a number of years now, and this introduces our equestrian therapy programs to able-bodied equestrian riders, which is super valuable for the community of diverse ability individuals.”
PRDA – a not-for-profit, therapeutic equestrian riding centre – houses a stable of therapy horses and providing therapy for up to 150 riders a week at their 15-acre facility located near Campbell Valley Regional Park.
This year, the organization is celebrating 50 years of service.
More information can be found online at www.prda.ca.
More details about the Fraser Valley Hunt Society can found at www.fraservalleyhunt.com.