Don Coggins spent his boyhood summers in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia working on his uncle’s beef and apple farm where he also learned to ride and tend horses. As an adult, he owned and operated a small hobby farm in New Brunswick using his spare time to train and ride his pleasure horses. Don followed his tour in the Canadian military with a long career in corporate Canada. In 1992 he moved to Whistler to establish Chidaq Consulting Ltd., a sales and marketing business that he continues to operate.
Don operates CCO along with his partner, Dudley Kennett, and an amazing group of cowgirls who can wrangle, ride, guide, first aid, set up camp, break camp, drive big trucks, cook campfire meals and make conversation with just about anyone.
How do the experiences you offer at Copper Cayuse Outfitters give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
CCO has received the above designation from Destination Canada and Destination BC for the Li-li-hel Mine Ride. This three day ride offers significant historical insights into mining, first nations and current back country practices in the area, all while you are getting to know and love your horse.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
We originally started as hourly ride outfit with a small trail tenure, as we explored, we found more old horse trails and eventually found where they lead and realized their significance.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
Most riders develop a real affection for their horse and wrangler, not necessarily in that order, just how close is not realized until they get ready to leave. This is not a surprise to us, since we take our time gentling our horses to make sure that actual like people, our chosen wranglers already come with this trait.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
It is more about the horse than the rider. A complete novice on the right horse (as long as they can relax) or an advanced rider on a different horse can both have an experience of a life time on the same trail. That is why we collect a little information about each rider to make sure they will be on the right horse.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
More younger folks traveling and experiencing.
What sets Copper Cayuse Outfitters apart from other horseback adventure companies?
The ability to connect our guests with the backcountry while they disconnect from the world.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Take a tip from the animals, “live in the moment.”
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
We focus on making sure we exceed our client’s expectations. Or go the extra mile, whatever you want to call it, it brings them back with their friends.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
One instance is difficult to pick out, but one comment that has stuck with me occurred on the ride back from the mine late on a warm summer day with a group from West Virginia who kept horses at home. He said “Don I have ridden many trails, but I will ride a long time before I experience a ride like that again, yep, you sure have one hell of an office with great chairs”
Don’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copper Cayuse on Trip advisor: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g183736-d4706256-Reviews-Copper_Cayuse_Outfitters-Pemberton_British_Columbia.html