Sun Peaks Stables’ owners are asking for community support to take care of their horses while recovering from a lack of visitors due to the pandemic and extreme weather.
Co-owners Rebecca Spray and Robert Taylor have run Sun Peaks Stables since 2013. In the winter they arrange sleigh rides, while in the summer they take visitors on trail rides and teach lessons.
Due to their reliance on travelers, Spray said the past couple of years have been especially financially difficult for the couple. The co-owners first began a GoFundMe to help raise money around the start of the pandemic, but are still looking for support.
“It’s not just COVID anymore,” Spray said. “The climate crisis is actually something pretty serious, especially for businesses that are outdoor and rely on tourism.”
Spray said their visitation numbers have gotten worse since heat waves and wildfires last summer warded off tourists. Cold snaps this winter and flooding that resulted in road closures to the Lower Mainland didn’t help, either.
In addition, Spray said they haven’t been eligible for any government supports for their business.
“[Sun Peaks Stables] is not something that ever made us a lot of money,” Spray said. “Robert and myself have both had part-time and full-time jobs on the side, but it definitely was enough to keep the horses well looked after. That is not the case for the last few years.”
So far, they have made around $11,500 in donations. Spray said the money goes towards feed, vet bills, hoof care and stable maintenance. She added they also need upgrades such as new upholstery on their sleigh, but making sure the horses are taken care of is the first priority.
Spray said she loves being able to run this business in Sun Peaks and doesn’t see closing an option when she still has 11 horses to take care of.
“I guess I could sell all [the horses], but then I can’t guarantee where they go … Those horses are my family,” Spray said. “Hopefully we’ll have a calm summer of people that want to go horseback riding without the fires and the bad weather.”
To read more about Sun Peaks Stables or to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/9xq3ra-support-sun-peaks-horses.