The Sentineals were feeling the love.
Saturday was International Horse and Carriage Support Day, and locals were celebrating the day at the corner of King and Queen Streets, where the carriages park.
Laura Sentineal said she and Fred and family were downtown to enjoy the day, which was a wonderful opportunity to experience the full support of the community, she said.
They were offering free carriage rides to locals throughout the day, and were booked solid.
“We met so many lovely people, and saw a lot of
old friends. It was really a good day.”
They had hoped for a protest-free day, said Sentineal, but that was not
Members of At War for Animals Niagara were out in force, on the street corner and circling in vehicles, which was frustrating, said Sentineal.
This is the second summer the group has protested speciesism, targeting the
use of horses to pull carriages, and Saturday was no
Sentineal said she had asked for police presence during the show of local support, and was told it wouldn’t be necessary.
She did call the police at one point, believing the actions of protesters’ vehicles circling around the carriages were dangerous to the horses, but no charges were laid, she said.
Although it was a day of support for the business, it became an opportunity for those who took carriage rides to see first-hand the actions of the protesters, she said.
They gave about 50 free Old Town tours during the busy day, making sure there were breaks for horses and drivers, said Sentineal.
“Apart from the antics of the protesters, it was a good day. We try to mitigate the impact as much as we can. People had a wonderful time.”
Sentineal said she and Fred decided early in their marriage they wanted a business that allowed them to be at home with their family, and they wanted their children to grow up on a farm surrounded by horses.
They are working to protect their business for the family, “but it’s going to take some time and money. Fortunately we have a lot of support from some great people.”
As frustrating as it is to have to deal with the protesters, the Sentineals are not about to let them spoil a great life and business, she said.
“We’re doing something we love, and we’re making people happy. We get to be a part of people’s lives and celebrations, during their good times. Those were our goals — not to get rich. We’ve met so many amazing people who have enriched our lives. We have three great children and 20 amazing horses. The protesters are aggravating, but we have a great life, a very happy life. That’s what counts,” said Sentineal.
“It’s lovely that people came out for this. So many people have been so wonderful and so supportive. That far outweighs any negatives of dealing with the protesters. We feel so very fortunate.”