Eva Zanger rides Moonshine over a jump during the gymkhana jig as part of the Spirit Riders 4-H Club’s gymkhana fundraiser on Sept. 14 north of Whitehorse. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Spirit Riders 4-H Club holds gymkhana fundraiser

“I was happy to see lots of new faces and the support that’s out there for our club”

The Spirit Riders 4-H Club held a fundraising gymkhana on Sept. 14 north of Whitehorse at the Yukon Agricultural Community Fairgrounds.

Angelique Bjork, a leader with the club, said the event went really well.

“We had about 50 riders there … and different levels for sure,” said Bjork. “Obviously we had some little kids that are just starting up getting involved with horses to some that are quite experienced with riding horses.”

Bjork has run similar gymkhanas in the past, but said the club wanted to get involved this year as a fundraiser.

“They wanted to have a hand in organizing it and learning about what it took to organize such an event,” said Bjork. “We like to try to bring the community as much as we can into everything that we do, which is why we wanted to do the gymkhana and involve the community as best we could.”

The gymkhana — a series of fun games on horseback, in simplest terms — included 10 different events.

In addition to common events like barrel racing, pole bending and keyhole, the gymkhana also included more quirky events like stepping stones, potato spearing and the scurry race.

“Those are just all added fun games just to try to use different skills and see how good you can be with your horse doing different things,” said Bjork. “It takes quite a bit of coordination.”

The day ran later than expected, as the turnout was high for what is likely to be the last opportunity for horses and riders alike this season.

“I was expecting about 35 to 40, which is usually the turnout of the gymkhanas I’ve organized in the past,” said Bjork. “I wasn’t totally expecting 50 — that was definitely a big number, but that’s good. I was happy to see lots of new faces and the support that’s out there for our club.”

While Bjork doesn’t have final numbers for the fundraising aspect of the day, she said it’s somewhere in the ballpark of $1,500 for the club.

With so many events and such a big turnout, Bjork said watching everyone have fun was a highlight.

“Just seeing so many kids being happy and smiling and truly enjoying themselves with their companions, their horses,” said Bjork. “Just seeing the camaraderie between everybody was amazing.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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