“Alright team, step up. Together now!” Jenny croons as she takes hold of the leather reins. Right on cue Diesel and Indigo set off together through the centre of Silver Star Mountain Village. With hooves the size of dinner plates, ears as longer than my hands and withers over 17 hands high, these gentle giants exude royalty. Their fluffy black coats gleam in the setting sunlight, a stark contrast to the candy cane hues of the sleigh in the snow.
Gliding over the snow in a red sleigh, I’m living a real-life Christmas movie. Each and every one of us is smiling with childish delight despite the sub-zero temperature. The sleigh is complete with jingle bells, padded seats, fuzzy blankets and fairy lights. And of course two strapping driving horses with huge gold-trimmed tail bows to complete the fairy-tale aesthetic.
Along the Bridle Path we go, cruising through the trees and across the slope under the Silver Woods Express chairlift. My senses are overtaken by the smell of fresh pine, the sound of birds chattering in the late sun, the way the sky melts from pristine blue to golden hues as the sun sinks below the distant mountains. The rhythmic clip-clopping of the horses’ hooves as they pull us along the trail fills the air. Suddenly I’m 4 years old again, riding a horse for the very first time at the ranch near our house. The sleigh bells jingle as Diesel and Indigo pick up the pace for the next hill and Jenny’s sing-song voice breaks my daydream.
It’s been about 10 minutes and I’m beginning to feel like Princess Anna stuck in the freezing cold, looking for somewhere to warm up (I’m a sucker for Disney movies okay). And sure enough up ahead is the Wild Horseman’s Cabin where the hot chocolate and apple cider are set to be free-flowing for the next half an hour. The smell of freshly baked cookies hits me right as the door opens. This place is really living up to my Frozen expectations, and I’m almost expecting Elsa to appear at any moment (again with the Disney, my bad). Inside, the cedar cabin is just as rustic as I imagined, complete with a glowing fireplace and decorated with antique ice tools.
This hidden gem is the perfect afternoon getaway. My inner child is unleashed as we devour the freshly baked cookies and the hot apple cider warms my hands. Back outside, the horses nibble the snowballs from our hands, tickling our palms with their spindly whiskers. These charming creatures are melting my heart faster than the snow on this bluebird Sunday afternoon. As the shadows lengthen, we head back to town, our stomachs and hearts full. This season is set to be the last for Diesel and Indigo’s sleigh runs, but the fun is sure to continue with the rest of the mountain’s four-legged crew. Nothing compares to whooshing down the slopes on top of a board at 50 kilometres an hour, but right now inside this sleigh, my boyfriend and family by my side, I’m completely enchanted.