new horses

Join Us in Welcoming Our Newest Tally-Ho Equine Residents

Get Closer to the Action: Book Your Behind-the-Scenes Tour Today

Tally-Ho Carriage Tours is excited to announce that our equine family is growing, and we can’t wait to introduce our new team members! In preparation for their arrival, we are busy designing customized plans for each four-legged friend to ensure they feel welcome and comfortable at their new home, Hidden Acres Farm.

Much thought and attention is put into caring for our horses and matching them with suitable drivers to provide the outstanding carriage tour experience our customers and community have grown to expect and love.

Join us as we share a few of the details and steps we’ll be taking to help orient the majestic draft horses joining us.

Where Will Our New Horses Be Coming From?

Most of our herd comes from northern British Columbia and Alberta. The perfect draft horse will occasionally become available in Saskatchewan or further east. A few team members have come from as far away as the United States. Our new friend’s safety becomes paramount from the moment they are purchased. Careful transportation ensures our horses arrive in Victoria happy and healthy.

What Character Traits Does Tally-Ho Look For?

At Tally-Ho, our iconic carriage horse team is comprised of ShireBelgianSuffolk PunchPercheron and Clydesdale horses. These rare breeds are the heart and soul of the company, and our unique tours allow the public to learn about these important animals and their preservation.

Our herd consists of different heavy draft horse breeds because, when selecting horses, the horse breed isn’t as crucial as the temperament. It’s essential for us and for the horses that they enjoy the work they are doing. Here are a few characteristics we check for in our horses:

  • Kind, soft eyes, as these are a great indicator of a horse’s comfort level
  • Alert but relaxed body language, as this shows the horse is keen to interact with and experience the ever-changing world around him
  • The ability to work well independently and trust that his people will keep him safe
  • A love for attention and interacting with people (our horses have adoring fans who visit them every day!)
  • Is physically healthy and sound and is fit for the work we will ask of him

Tally-Ho horses and handlers work near downtown Victoria, primarily in Beacon Hill Park and the residential neighbourhood of James Bay. They encounter traffic, cyclists, ducks, peacocks and other ‘weird and wonderful’ sights every day. Our horses must have the disposition, tools and confidence it takes to thrive in an environment where the unexpected is expected.

The Settling-In Period

The first few months at Hidden Acre Farm are spent settling in. Our new friends will become comfortable with their new herd-mates during this period. It can take up to a year before a newly introduced horse adjusts to a different home. At Tally-Ho, there is no pressure on our equine friends. Our Natural Horsemanship training program is introduced only when the horse is ready.

Meet Mav! He’s just finished his settling-in period and is eager to start training. 

Assessing Health

The Friedlander Family’s number one priority with new arrivals is the state of their physical and mental health. At Tally-Ho, we are committed to continuously monitoring our herd. We’re proud to collaborate with experts to ensure we employ the best practices for horse care.

Our herd is under regular veterinary care, and each animal requires a clean health record before they are cleared to work each season. Routine vaccinations, de-worming and dental work are components of our routine health plan. In addition to this, our veterinarian assesses the body index and adjusts the horse’s diet to optimize body condition. 

Tally-Ho staff work closely with veterinarians and farriers to prepare fresh feet for Victoria’s streets. Ensuring our new members’ hooves are sound is vital to their overall health.

Would you like to know more about horse care at Tally-Ho? Check out our Horse Care 101 blog.

Training In Stages

Though many of our recruits have prior work experience, they enter our industry-leading training as if they were entirely green. Assuming they know nothing from the start allows our trainers to assess gaps and build trust.

Training often begins before our horses reach their home with Tally-Ho, starting with our trainer and mentor, Ed, in Chetwynd, BC. After careful assessment, Ed works with our latest members and refines their harness skills to work as a single carriage horse. Once Ed gives the okay, they’re off to Victoria for the next stage of training.

At Tally-Ho, we strive to create teams by harmoniously pairing our horses with their ideal carriage drivers. The horse and the driver are assessed and assigned a rating based on skill level and experience and work as a team throughout the horse and driver’s development.

Horses are introduced to various noises to desensitize them long before they reach downtown Victoria; they learn to manoeuvre their bodies between the rigid shafts of our four-wheeled carriages; and they are taught how to properly use their bodies to prevent strains or injuries while working. Interestingly, the horses take to working alongside traffic with ease and comfort: it’s often the odd things they may walk by, such as the recycling box in a driveway that wasn’t there the day before, that they must learn to be at ease with. We know our horses are ready for their new career when they can confidently make a left-hand turn from a middle lane surrounded by loud industrial traffic on both sides.

When a horse consistently performs with confidence, completes their work safely and interacts positively with the public, they are deemed ready. This can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. 

Take a deeper look into Tally-Ho’s Horse Development Program, broken down here into three easy-to-understand parts: part 1part 2 and part 3

It’s Time To Work

A horse’s inaugural first day in Victoria is always a cause for celebration. The new horse and their driver will start by taking a leisurely stroll through Beacon Hill Park and the James Bay neighbourhood. We ensure this first experience is fun and enjoyable for the horse. On the next trip to Victoria we will introduce more to him, and, as he’s ready, he will learn his routes. 

To ensure a strong partnership, new horses are handled by the same driver. Initially, a ‘footer’ also comes along for the ride. Their job is to lead the horse if they have a sudden case of nerves and provide the tour to guests. Eventually, the driver will handle this on their own.

At this point in the training, the horse is considered a novice carriage horse and is carefully scheduled and restricted to specific routes. But the learning doesn’t stop there. At Tally-Ho, we’re continually working with our horses in town and on the farm to create carriage tours that exceed your wildest expectations.

Tally-Ho Carriage Tours–Welcomes Our New Arrivals

Some of our favourite moments happen when we get to introduce people to the magic of our draft horses in an up-close and personal way. This experience is provided both at the horses’ home, at the Hidden Acres Farm Tour, or in Victoria, where visitors can participate in our Grass Roots Horse Experience. These unique opportunities enable our guests to have hands-on time with our horses and learn how we ensure they are living their best lives. 

Rest assured, no matter which tour you choose, you’ll have ample opportunity to get to know the horses, learn their adorable quirks and discover their charm.

Celebrate your next special occasion with Tally-Ho Tours, a locally-owned company recognized for the ethical treatment of our magnificent draft horses. Contact us today to arrange your tour or special event.