We’ve had a busy weekend doing Canadian ranch stuff! Kelly organised a PlayDay on Saturday and an Open Trail Ride on Sunday. We were her support team or ‘Winning Ways Crew’ as she referred to us when yelling across the Meadow Lake Stampede Arena for assistance. It seemed to take all morning to do the chores and gather all the required equipment and prepared horses together to be ready to leave at 11am. We left the yard at 11.30 so that wasn’t too bad. As we arrived at the grounds there were already some trailers parking up. We disgorged the entire contents of the truck and trailer onto the grass and milled around whilst others arrived. It was really nice to chat to some familiar faces we have already met since becoming part of Marilyn’s and Kelly’s households.
I had opted to enter the rookies section, walk and trot only. I was riding Shadow who isn’t inclined to break in to a sweat, but Kelly told me I might have difficulties keeping her that slow as she knows all the games. A little reluctantly I agreed to be promoted to novices, where Roger was anyway. Jeanette, from Marilyn’s, had already been persuaded to upgrade, leaving me the only adult with the children if I didn’t change as well so I conceded. In the event, there weren’t enough people for some of the rookie events so Jeanette, who prefers cows to horses, got roped in to that class too to make up numbers.
We were able to sit in the sunshine and watch the early events to obtain a feel for whatever we had let ourselves in for. It seemed to be a cross between a pony club gymkhana and a small scale rodeo. I was impressed with the standard and guts of the junior class, most of whom I’d met at the lessons Kelly had given earlier in the week. Then the time came for the novices and open classes to warm up. We trotted and cantered around the arena, much as I’d seen them do at the Langley Riders, wooo! I became a little disconcerted when it appeared that both groups would be amalgamated. I’d have to put my trust in Shadow to drag me through. In the event we had 2 teams of mixed ability and a great but relatively uncompetitive time.
The games included ‘gather the stuffy’ and drop it in the bucket, ‘collect the water (without spilling)’ and ‘cupid’s arrow’ where we had to go around a barrel inside some poles without touching them. There then followed a series of individual timed events, which included a little jumping route, where only the first 3 times were announced, fortunately. One event involved riding with a partner and trying not to break it whilst circumventing a barrel at the opposite end of the arena. We managed to not break the rope but didn’t even get to start the egg and spoon race before breaking the plastic egg!
4pm came around quickly but no-one seemed to want to leave so some impromptu events were devised starting with the very popular barrel racing. It was a great day for all involved from a very impressive little 7 year old to a very sprightly Marilyn, showing the youngsters how its done, at 69. The atmosphere was lovely, everyone mucking in with good-natured competitiveness. Kelly treated us to ice-creams on the way home at which point Roger and I saddled up again to go and change the gates for the evening watering.