‘This is part of our his­tory’

Cape Bre­ton Min­ers’ Mu­seum tests pit pony rides

Cape Breton Post - - News - BY CHRIS­TIAN ROACH chris­tian.roach@cb­post.com

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.”

CHRIS­TIAN ROACH/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

CHRIS­TIAN ROACH/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

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