Family Fun on a sleigh ride together in Lake Placid

The Equine CenterWe sing Christmas carols all the way to the Lake Placid Club golf course. No, we are not there to enjoy a round of golf. We are hot off a visit to Santa where an elf whispered in our ears that a horse and sleigh ride was on the roster. Since my children have so far escaped the naughty list and this is a special occasion, why not try to make some of those wishes come true.

We do not have the space or wherewithal to get my daughter the requested pony. Instead Travis and Natalia DeValinger of The Equine Center are able to get her up close and personal with their team of horses. The co-owners of The Equine Center work seamlessly together readying the sleigh for our ride over the Lake Placid Club's snow-covered golf course. The husband and wife team showcase their individual strengths and love for their horses while making the rest of us warm and comfortable. It is a chilly afternoon and the moon is starting to rise over the Sentinel Range in the Adirondacks.

Travis lets the team of Clydesdales rest while Natalia runs quickly to the front of the sleigh to shoot pictures of guests. Travis explains the workings of the custom-made sleigh that will carry us over the golf course and back.

Owned by the Crowne Plaza Resort and Golf Club of Lake Placid, the historic Lake Placid Club's links are the perfect wide-open space to enjoy a panoramic view. 

The Lake Placid Club Golf CourseWe plod along at a leisurely pace while Travis and my husband start identifying the Sentinel Range, Cascade, and glimpses of the Adirondack High Peaks while telling trail stories. The rest of us are cuddled under the blankets peacefully being lulled by the rocking of the sleigh. My daughter "knows" Emily is the smaller horse on the right while Danny is on the left. She watches while Travis gently guides the team through a tree-covered path and into the clearing.

The team rests again while people in the sleigh start snapping photos like we are paparazzi and the horses are the celebrities. Well, like the stars they are, the horses start stomping their hooves and shaking heads to get moving once more.

Hot chocolate is available and certainly will ward off any chill. Hours are extended for the holidays. On Christmas Eve, The Equine Center will run sleigh rides from noon – 7:00 p.m. and close for Christmas Day. Travis says that he does extend hours for private rides and special occasions like "engagements" because he knows those moments need to have a special setting. A sleigh ride by lantern is another option.

The Equine Center 2Located on Route 86, the sleigh rides will reopen December 26th from noon – 9:00 p.m. Reservations are recommended (518-834-9933) but drop-ins are welcome. Sleigh rides are priced at $42/cash or $45/credit for adults (13 and up), Youth (6-12) $21/cash or $23/credit. Children five and under are free. Enjoy! 

Diane Chase's Adirondack Family Time Tip: Dress warmly. Even on the sunniest winter day, it can be cold. During the other seasons, The Equine Center does trail rides in Lake Placid and their home base in Lake Clear. 

all photos © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.

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