Peace Country Pet & Equine Expo!

I should have written this a week (or so) ago, *blush* but better late than never.

Kudos to Rebecca Hayes-Copeland of Partners Naturally and Nicky Hemingson of Nicky Rae Photography, the two women who organized this event. From what I’ve gathered, this is something new for the Grande Prairie region. Three cheers for these entrepreneurs!

It was a lovely weekend and we enjoyed seeing all the dogs and their demos and classes as well as the horses.

Just before the Extreme Horsemanship Challenge on Saturday, we took to the arena with three folks from Peavey Mart in Grande Prairie. They presented us with that giant cheque for $57,277.44! We were overwhelmed. The presentation was short and we thanked Peavey and all the people from the Peace Country profusely.

Then, the highlight of the weekend — the Extreme Horsemanship Challenge — began. What a cool concept! It is set up and run by master horseman, Glenn Stewart, from Fort St John, BC. It’s a challenge wherein the horse and rider must navigate a course as quickly as possible. They are given a certain number of seconds to accomplish each of the challenges. If they do it within the time limit, they get a certain number of points. If they do it within the time limit and they do it only partially correctly, they get some more points. If they do it within the time limit and they do it perfectly, they get top marks. Throughout, Glenn Stewart keeps a running commentary. (He’s both witty and warm.)

The challenges are … interesting.
Challenge #1: horse and rider go around the perimeter of the arena at top speed. (That gets the horse’s adrenalin up.)
Challenge #2: horse stands perfectly still while rider gets up and stands on the horse’s back to reach up and retrieve a long pole from its perch 5 or 6 feet above the horse’s back.
Challenge #3: use that pole to spear two rings and carry them to the end of the arena where they and the pole are to be deposited in a 45 gallon drum.
Challenge #4: circle the drum twice as quickly as possible.
Challenge #5: charge over to an alleyway made between square hay bales and navigate it backwards. It has two 90 degree turns in it.
Challenge #6: ride to the centre of the arena where there is a particularly dense “cowboy curtain”. Get horse to go through the curtain.
Challenge #7: ride to a corner of the arena, back the horse into a small “stall” between two sets of evergreen trees, get off, “ground tie” the horse and run off to pick up a rope tied to a calf sled with a square bale in it for weight.
Challenge #8: get back on the horse and drag the calf sled over to a teepee and park it off to one side.
Challenge #9: get off horse and drag “moose” (a gigantic stuffed toy) out of the teepee and throw it across horse’s saddle. Walk horse (balancing the moose on the saddle) to other end of arena and drop moose on ground.
Challenge #10: walk horse onto a big plastic tarp and remove saddle.
Challenge #11: (this one was a real toughie for everybody) take horse to where a long, low wooden box is followed by a teeter-totter box followed by about 20 feet of board lined up end to end. Get horse to step up onto the first box, walk to the end, get off, get on the teeter-totter box and walk it and then turn 90 degrees so the horse sidesteps the length of all the lined up boards with front hooves in front of the board and hind hooves back of the board … all the while the rider stands on the far side of a small white picket fence and can only move the horse with reins and hand signals!!!!
Challenge #12: run horse over to and clockwise twice around a three-step mounting box. Walk up the steps and get on the bareback horse.
Challenge #13: ride the horse as quickly as possible to the far side of the arena, go over a series of low jumps (bareback) and then race to the finish line.

Phew!

They ran this as a calcutta with proceeds to Wild Pink Yonder! (We hadn’t known about this ’til just before the weekend, so it was a delightful surprise.) Horses and riders sold for anywhere from $75 to $1,500 each! At the end of the challenge, the person who bought the winner got $2,400 and Wild Pink Yonder got the other $2,400. Then, in a wonderful show of generosity and goodwill, the winner donated his winnings back and Wild Pink Yonder got $4,800! To say that we were over the moon would be an understatement! (Turns out that the winner was Glenn Stewart’s father, who apparently owns a tack shop in the area, so we’re thinking he had insider information. *grin*)

When we were tearing down on Sunday I had the opportunity to speak at length with Glenn and his wife, Dixie. I am hoping that we can put something together with them for next year. Cross your fingers because it’s certainly entertaining — for both the participants and those of us who were watching.

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