Horse show cut short by rain

Blame it on the rain. The Whitehorse Gold Rush Open Horse Show was shaping up to be one of the most successful in years last weekend when Mother Nature intervened.

Blame it on the rain.

The Whitehorse Gold Rush Open Horse Show was shaping up to be one of the most successful in years last weekend when Mother Nature intervened.

After high participation levels Friday evening and Saturday at the Yukon Horse and Rider Association’s show grounds just outside of Porter Creek, rain put the kibosh on the final day and all of Sunday’s events were cancelled because of safety concerns.

“We went down there early to check the conditions and unfortunately the ground in those arenas gets quite slippery when it’s wet,” said association president Jody Mackenzie-Grieve. “I don’t know if that’s ever happened. We were talking about that and wondering if that’s ever happened, where an entire day of classes had to be cancelled.”

Friday’s gymkhana event had a huge turnout. In addition to horse and rider teams from Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Watson Lake and Tagish, Juneau, Alaska, was represented for the first time since 2010.

“We had a huge number of competitors in our gymkhana event on Friday evening,” said Mackenzie-Grieve. “I can say with some degree of certainty that we broke participation records this year. We must have been running classes until almost 11 at night. Based on previous years, we hadn’t anticipated that much participation.”

The weekend’s annual horse show is said to be the last held at the association’s current show grounds. But, then again, that has been the story for years.

The last two shows were also supposed to be the final ones at the current location. “It’s becoming the running joke,” said Mackenzie-Grieve.

Expansion of the nearby Whistle Bend subdivision is the reason for the move.

The association had hoped to relocate the show grounds to the KMA Speedway by Cowley Creek subdivision earlier this year. However, some residents voiced concerns about the possibility of increased traffic through the subdivision. The idea of constructing of a new road to access the proposed show grounds was also met by disapproval from some Cowley Creek residents.

“We certainly don’t want to impact residents negatively and be seen in that light,” said Mackenzie-Grieve. “So we thought it responsible to look at other options and see what happens.”

The KMA Speedway proposition has since been put on hold as the equine association searches for other possible sites for the show grounds within Whitehorse.

The horse and rider association hosted an Equine Canada sanctioned dressage show July 13 and 14 at the current location. The association hosted its first nationally sanctioned event in June of last year.

The final event scheduled for the show grounds before the lease runs out in October will be the Pepsi Cola Dash for Cash on August 3.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com