Riders mount up for 30th annual Horse Show

About 150 rider and horse teams will compete this weekend in the 30th annual Summer Horse Show at the Yukon Horse & Rider Showgrounds. It is expected 50 more teams than last year will strut their stuff, say organizers.

About 150 rider and horse teams will compete this weekend in the 30th annual Summer Horse Show at the Yukon Horse & Rider Showgrounds.

It is expected 50 more teams than last year will strut their stuff, say organizers.

“More people came from Juneau and I think there’s more participation because it’s the 30th anniversary,” said Mary-Jane Warshawski, an event co-ordinator with the show. “The whole horse culture is growing. We’re so lucky here in Yukon to have space and it’s relatively inexpensive to keep a horse (here).

“If anyone has a horse-crazy child in the family, this is a very lovely event—and it’s free, you just show up.”

The three-day show features different riding events each day. On Friday afternoon, riders will be jumping followed by gymkhana in the evening.

“The British developed these (gymkhana) exercises for fun and to keep their ponies and riders in shape 100 years ago in India between their gin and tonics,” said Warshawski. “Pole-bending, barrel racing and another event called the keyhole.

“(In the keyhole event) they make a keyhole shape (on the ground) out of flower or white powder and you have to take your horse in there, spin him around without touching the edges. It’s all about control and the speed and agility of your horse.”

Saturday will showcase various hunting-equestrian techniques derived from fox hunting in England, with a hunter-jump in the afternoon.

“It’s about how the horse behaves and how the rider controls the horse,” said Warshawski. “So much of the horse show is derived from when the horse was the principle means of transportation.”

To celebrate the event’s 30th anniversary, Saturday evening will feature a special show that organizers hope will be educational as well as entertaining.

“It’s a good event for people who don’t know horses very well because there will be demonstrations and explanations (of events),” said Warshawski. “It will be fun for the whole family—they can really see and learn about riding.

“There will be a parade of breeds, a musical ride and a barbecue.”

The event will wrap up Sunday with what would surely be John Wayne’s favourite event, western riding.

“Western riding is derived from the cowboy culture, working with cattle, etcetera,” said Warshawski. “So a lot of the classes and demonstrations have to do with working horses.

“They have reining, which is unbelievably exciting. They have a set pattern that they have to do and they have such moves as spinning on their hind legs or going from a full gallop to a sliding stop on hind legs.”

Events start at 8:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit www.yhra.ca.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com