Horse show builds towards the future

The Whitehorse 2010 Horse Show was a learning experience for the 98 horse and rider combinations from the Yukon and Alaska, and for the organizers, volunteers and even the spectators.

The Whitehorse 2010 Horse Show was a learning experience for the 98 horse and rider combinations from the Yukon and Alaska, and for the organizers, volunteers and even the spectators.

The show was hosted by the Yukon Horse and Rider Association over the weekend at its showgrounds.

Hoping the event will become sanctioned under Equine Canada, the national equestrian governing body, organizers operated under specific guidelines, offering riders the conditions and the judging they would receive at a sanctioned event.

“There’s been a big desire to move our show to the next level,” said manager Anne Lewis. “This is the 31st year of the show, and over the last 10 or 15 years we’ve seen a lot of our riders actually progress to competing in the rest of Canada. It’s really important for us as an organization to provide our riders with the best resources and opportunities in their performance and competition here, so they feel ready and prepared when they do go south.”

Over the last three decades, the show has always been unaffiliated with Equine Canada, making it more of a “regional variety show,” said Lewis. If the event can progress to an Equine Canada “bronze-level show,” it will be the first of its kind in the territory. This year’s show was basically a test run for that.

“This year we’ve decided to do what we call a ‘learning show,’ so it’s basically a practice run of what an Equine Canada sanctioned show down south would be like, if we brought it here,” said Lewis. “So hopefully this gave (the riders), their groomers, the spectators and the sponsors an idea of what they can expect to see from the Yukon Horse and Rider Association in the future.”

Besides the obvious benefits for riders and their horses – becoming accustomed to more regulated competition – if the show becomes sanctioned, participants could earn points towards a national ranking and could use the local event to qualify for Outside shows. Sanctioning could happen as soon as next year.

While junior age divisions were tightened to accommodate Equine Canada standards, organizers did leave in some of the games, such as the “lead line” and the “egg and spoon,” simply for entertainment value. However, such games would not lead to national ranking points under sanctioned status.

“Because we’re making this huge transition to Equine Canada, we did decide to let go a lot of the things from the past – both good and bad – and start completely fresh,” said Lewis. “So we wanted to give it a new face and see what everyone thought of this new direction.

“Absolutely, it was a positive response,” she added. “Everyone performed beautifully this year.”

Check Friday’s Yukon News for show results.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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