A BRANDON-area family is keeping alive the tradition of a horse-drawn sleigh ride through snowy trails along Canada’s pristine prairie landscape. Paul and Jenn Neufeld own “Our Lil’ Barnyard” located about 15 kilometers south of Brandon just off of Treesbank Road. Their land lines the south side of Brandon Hills.
For the past five years, the Neufelds – along with their four children – have offered half hour to 45-minute sleigh rides through bushlined trails that run through the area. The service was born out of their love of people, animals and the land their family inhabits. “It started as an extension of our petting zoo and our chuck wagon racing that we do in the summer months,” Jenn Neufeld said. “We love to help people enjoy animals in ways they don’t usually get to. We also love our land that God has blessed us with and truly enjoy sharing our winter wonderland.”
The service has been a popular one. Neufeld described her current schedule as “insanely busy.” Our Lil’ Barnyard has hosted various groups consisting of families, office and business staff, exchange students, senior and youth organizations, birthday parties and a wedding.
Many groups are return clients from previous years. Word-of-mouth advertising and individuals who have taken a ride and want to enjoy it again with other people they know have boosted traffic as well.
The Neufelds can serve any size group, fitting 15 to 20 people on the horse-drawn sleigh at a time. A two-brother team of Shire-cross, heavy horses named Buddy and Storm draw the vehicle, and everyone in the family is involved in the operation. “It is a family business that all six of us have a hand in; from doing chores daily and greeting people who come out for a ride, or showing people all the other animals while they wait for their sleigh ride,” Neufeld said. “All of us have a job.” Visitors can get an even fuller experience by renting a fire-pit located halfway along the trail through the bush.
Neufeld said some people bring hot chocolate, marshmallows, hotdogs, chili and other foods to enjoy by the warmth of the blaze. “It seems like everyone loves coming out,” she said. The Neufelds book rides on most evenings and weekends at a cost of $8 per person for groups of 10 or more people. Groups with less than 10 people are provided rides for a flat rate of $80. The firepit is available to rent for $20 per half hour.
For more information about the service Our Lil' Barnyard provides or to book a trip, the best way to contact Jenn or Paul is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can, however, also be reached by phone at (204) 728-3645.