Lucie Lavergne takes to the puddle on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving at Montane Barn attracts hundreds

The event, sponsored by Parastone Developments, was overflowing with happy families.

Celebrating Thanksgiving at the Fernie Therapeutic Horse and Pony Club family day at Montane Barn was close to heaven on earth. Pork, children playing with animals, beer, snowcapped mountains, great music, firepits, sunshine, laughter and crafts. The event, sponsored by Parastone Developments, was overflowing with happy families. Activities included meet the ponies, Mountain Market, chicken poop bingo, horseshoe comp, s’more station, face painting and more. Proceeds went to support the Fernie Therapeutic Horse and Pony Club, “whose mission is to enhance the quality of life of individuals with cognitive, physical, emotional, or behavioural difficulties by providing them with affordable equine therapy in a safe environment.”

Patty Seeley, President of the Fernie Therapeutic Horse and Pony Club was happy for another year of the event.

“Parastone is our gold sponsor that helps us, and they let us keep the horses on their property and they let us use the barn,” she said. “Today was a Thanksgiving gathering and a fundraiser but also to give awareness to the Fernie Therapeutic Horse and Pony Club, and to everyone who has been supporting us. It’s all by donation and we had the food tent and s’mores and people could go pet the miniatures or go for pony rides and get involved in the chicken poop lottery.”

Seeley said that “equine therapy is one of the most recognized and successful forms of therapy for children and adults, from post traumatic stress disorder to autism, even for confidence building. Children learn to have social IQ by interacting with the horses.”

Simon Howse, General Manager of Parastone Developments, was eager to share the good news of his Montane residential development, which was launched on a Thanksgiving long weekend.

“Every year since, we’ve done an event on Thanksgiving, and it’s a way of giving back to the community and the local therapeutic horse society,” he explained. “We have lots of people here, it’s a free event that takes donations, which go to the therapeutic horse society.”

Howse said the event is all about the children.

“The community we built was about attracting local families,” he said. “I’ve got four kids myself. So we wanted families living and playing here. This is just an extension of that. The kids are having a ball.”

Howse said the farm will continue being used for educational purposes.

“This is just laying the groundwork for that,” he said. “Plus we have another [development] phase coming on. We are sold out to date. We have another 26 lots coming on.”

Montane is a massive land development said Howse.

“We’ve rolled it out over the last four years,” he explained. “Each phase has sold out very quickly. We’ve built equity into every sale, so the homeowner immediately realizes a rise in the value of their home or piece of land.”

Christine Grimble loved being a part of the community event.

“Thanksgiving for me is about being with all your friends, and I consider this community to be my family,” she said. “This is the perfect day they conjured up. I love the sun, and how they’ve got all the firepits out here. All you want to do is cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate and hang out with a nice pulled pork and stand by the fire and chat.”

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Bob Josephison, Campfire Tools, enjoys the sunshine. Photos by James Snell/The Free Press

Several firepits warmed participants.

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