Many local horse and rider teams will be a little more at ease when it comes to the Whitehorse Gold Rush Open Horse Show in a week’s time.
They will be more prepared having competed in the Yukon Horse and Rider Association’s Silver Trail Hunter Show/Jumper Schooling Show at the association’s show grounds near Porter Creek on Sunday.
“It’s giving people the opportunity to go out and show and learn what’s involved with showing without a whole lot of pressure, so it’s a little more casual,” said association president Heidi Neufeld.
“In the majority of the years previous to this, there was the one horse show – our finale show.”
Being a more casual event, riders could receive feedback from judges, unlike in stricter sanctioned events. Having the opportunity to ride under similar pressures as the Gold Rush Open, the season’s main event, is great preparation, said rider Meagan McCaw.
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“I really appreciate having another chance to show, because it does give you an opportunity for your horse to learn more and for you to learn more,” said McCaw.
It’s better than “having just one show in the summer,” she said.
McCaw and her horse Absolute Perfection – or “Abby” for short – won four classes and placed in the top three in three others.
“I thought we did really well this year,” said McCaw. “She’s usually really skittish and she’s finally figured out what her job is, so I’m happy with that.”
Sunday’s event was the rider association’s third schooling show of the season. This summer is the second in a row that the Yukon Horse and Rider Association (YHRA) has expanded its calendar with shows leading up to the Gold Rush Open.
“Two years ago we put in place three additional schooling shows in preparation for the finale show,” said Neufeld. “People had more opportunity to get out and put their horses into that showing format.
“It’s a different environment and you need those opportunities to get your horse in there – as well as yourself. When you’re being judged, the stress level goes up and when your stress level goes up, that can affect your horse.”
The YHRA increased its ties with the sport’s national body, Equine Canada, by hosting the first-ever nationally sanctioned event in the territory in June. The YHRA Bronze Bridle Dressage Show was not only the first Equine Canada sanctioned event in the Yukon, it was likely the first North of 60 in Canada.
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