Donna Friedlander had a few moments of emotion and reflection the night before her family-run business announced a new scholarship in the name of her late husband, Larry.
Larry Friedlander was part of the business — Tally-Ho Carriage Tours — in Victoria for nearly 30 years, until his sudden death from a heart attack in 2015. Donna found herself a single mom and now had to become the public face of the longtime horse-and-carriage company.
At Tally-Ho’s Central Saanich property on Tuesday, April 17, she spoke about her late husband and the new scholarship program — amid a busy day of farrier activity: it was new horseshoe day and farrier Will Clinging and his crew were busy getting the draft horses ready for the season.
“The scholarship is to honour and memorialize Larry,” she said. “He was involved in the business since he was 15 years old. He was really quite passionate about the business, about the horses. Anybody who’s been around Tally-Ho will remember Larry. He was quite charismatic.”
Larry became the sole owner of the business in 2009, after holding an ownership role since 1990. Donna started as a carriage driver in 1992 and the pair were married for 23 years.
Donna said the family took his passing very hard, but knew they had to find a way to keep the family business going. She stepped out from her own career and a behind-the-scenes role at Tally-Ho, to become more active in the business, and her two young daughters have kept working as well.
It’s her daughters’ own experience, and the fact that Larry enjoyed working with youth, that led Donna to consider the scholarship.
“Larry did a lot of work with youth,” she said. “He loved to see youth meet horses for the first time.”
The Larry Friedlander Memorial Scholarship is an annual award of $1,000 for a young adult, age 12 to 17, who wishes to participate in clinics or non-post-secondary equine studies. Donna said, with a large horse community on the Saanich Peninsula, there are plenty of clinics — and young people who might be interested.
“We have a huge horse population base. The Saanich Peninsula is, I believe, one of the most populated horse areas in B.C. I think there will be quite a bit of interest.”
Tally-Ho itself works with students who are wanting to gain experience with horses. Donna said three young women have gone from carriage drivers with the company to veterinary schools this year. Others become vet technicians or explore other fields in animal care.
“They are going to be the people in the future who are working with horses.”
Tally-Ho this year marks its 115th year of horse-drawn carriage service in downtown Victoria. Founded in 1903, the company started with six-horse stagecoach transportation, eventually transitioning to two-horse carriages and today, one-horse carriage tours that are known as an iconic part of downtown Victoria.
The Larry Friedlander Memorial Scholarship is open for applications. For more details and to apply, visit www.tallyhotours.com.