Windsor ranch celebrates reopening after pandemic restrictions lifted
Raeanne Laporte and co-workers at the Lazee G Ranch had to hold their horses when the pandemic started.
“It was all social distancing so you couldn’t really do much,” she said. “Masks on, six feet.”
The group was able to choreograph routines during the pandemic but they were forced off their high horse by lockdowns.
“My first shodeo [show and rodeo] was the one two to three years ago, the last one,” explained Nathalie Trachy.
It has been a long wait, but Trachy has been back in the saddle for a few months now, practicing for her first performance since 2019, and told CTV News Windsor, “I’ve been waiting for a while to perform.”
Ranch owner Brenda Gagnon is proud the group will be able to showcase their talents, including synchronized riding, dog shows, vaulting, and even some skits and plays.
“We work all year for this so it’s finally good to show what we’ve learned,” Laporte added.
During the years of pandemic shutdowns, the business was anything but in stable condition. Gagnon had to learn how to survive.
“It was tough financially,” she said.
Horses still needed to be fed and cleaned, and Gagnon said the ranch was able to manage with the help of family and dedicated staff.
“That’s what got us through,” she said.
With summer camp at full capacity for the first time in two years, things are feeling normal back at the ranch.
“Now I feel we are back and I hope we can continue doing what we love,” she said.
Part of which includes teaching kids how to ride. Camper Dorothea Flanagan explained that campers have to learn how to use lead ropes — which are ropes attached to the horse’s halter — in order to walk them properly.
Young instructors are also learning how to take a step forward in life with a summer job they enjoy.
“Feels good that I’m finally back, so I can work and now I ride more too here a little more often now since after the pandemic,” said Laporte.