Equestrians hot to trot at Summer Horse Show

Featuring almost 100 horse and rider combinations participating in 108 classes of horse events, the 29th annual Summer Horse Show took place Thursday…

Featuring almost 100 horse and rider combinations participating in 108 classes of horse events, the 29th annual Summer Horse Show took place Thursday through Sunday at the Yukon Horse & Rider Showgrounds.

“It seems to be getting larger every year, with both the participants and, for sure, the public participation,” said Yukon Horse & Rider Association president Paul Choquette. 

“We had a great turnout Friday despite the weather; it was cold and rainy.”

This year’s show may mark the end of an era. The city is currently considering developing the Yukon Horse and Rider Showgrounds, where the competition has taken place the last 29 years.

“If it’s not the last, it’s the second last,” said Choquette.

The Horse & Rider Association is considering moving to a new site about a kilometre from the present showgrounds.

Thursday and Sunday, the show featured western events, which differ from traditional English riding.

“There’s the western discipline and the English discipline. A lot of the characteristics are the same but the English ones are more traditional, equitational,” said Choquette. “They’re sort of modeled after traditional English riding habits. The western ones are more North American, having to do with ranch — using a working horse basically.

“The rider, in both cases, has to learn to communicate with the beast.”

Friday, riders participated in dressage tests, occasionally called “horse ballet,” and gymkhana in the evening.

However, one of the biggest hits of the show was the musical freestyle event Saturday evening at the end of English day.

 “It was a creative opportunity for horse and rider to demonstrate some of their skills to music,” said Choquette.

“The competitor’s creativity is challenged and their horsemanship is challenged as they try to make their horse dance to the music.”

The only mishap the show suffered was when a young rider had a nasty encounter with a hoof, getting kicked while standing behind a horse.

“She’s at home now, and she’s fine,” said Choquette. “She’s going to have bruises for a few days … She walked a little too close to the wrong side of the horse.”

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