‘This is part of our history’
Cape Breton Miners’ Museum tests pit pony rides
The Cape Breton Miners’ Museum tested a new attraction above the surface this week — pit pony rides.
Mary Pat Mombourquette, the museum’s executive director, said she initially wanted to have pony rides when she first became executive director, but because the horse barn was used for storage, the idea was put on hold until this year after the museum worked with consultants to visitors’ experience.
“We’ve been working with consultants about how we can make the inside of the museum as exciting as a mine tour for people who can’t go underground for the mine tour, and one of the ideas that came up was pit pony rides,” said Mombourquette.
The pony rides were being offered Monday to Wednesday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at a cost of $6 per ride. The museum is using this time to see if there is interest in the rides before they move forward.
The ponies belong to Valerie Bert of Reserve Mines, who had her granddaughter, Colby Lynk, 9, helping with the ponies, Goldie and Storm, on Tuesday.
“I’ve been on horses a really long time and here I get to talk to the other kids and lead the ponies around,” said Lynk.
Mombourquette said the pit pony rides are a great addition to the museum because pit ponies were an important part of mining history.
“This is part of our history. For the longest time, before we had mechanical mines, we used ponies to do most of the labour that the men underground couldn’t do,” said Mombourquette. “It’s a huge part of our history, so we really wanted to have something that emphasized that part.”
Since Monday, dozens of people have been riding the ponies and Mombourquette said because of the interest there’s a very good chance the pony rides will become a permanent part of the museum’s attractions.
“Valerie and I are going to talk about continuing on and how we’re going to do that. I think it’s very popular and I
“This is part of our history. For the longest time, before we had mechanical mines, we used ponies to do most of the labour that the men underground couldn’t do.” Mary Pat Mombourquette, museum’s executive director
think we’re both enjoying it so we probably will be continuing on,” said Mombourquette.
Bert also is happy with the way things have went so far this week with pit pony rides and agrees with Mombourquette that going forward is a good idea.
“If it keeps continuing the
way it has, they’re going to build a fence so all of the horses can stay overnight,” said Bert. “I think it’s great, I love it. I’m doing something I love to do, I’m outside with my ponies and my granddaughter stays with me, it’s great.”
Jillian MacKeigan feeds Goldie the pony an apple while Colby Lynk sits in the saddle at the Cape Breton Miners’ Museum on Tuesday. The museum is testing pit pony rides as it looks for other attractions that can be enjoyed above ground.
Colby Lynk rides the pony Goldie at the Cape Breton Miners’ Museum on Tuesday. This is the first week the ponies are available to ride. The museum is trying to find other attractions that can be enjoyed above ground.