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Longest running gymkhana in British Columbia returns despite heat

The Watch Lake/Green Lake Gymkhana drew in between 75-80 entries on July 8

The dust and heat did not stop participants from having fun at the Watch Lake/Green Lake Gymkhana on Saturday.

Past organizer, Dimps Horn estimated there were around 75-80 entries at the longest-running gymkhana in British Columbia, down slightly from 2022.

“Only about ten below. Very close to last year’s number,” she said. “Last year’s numbers were a bit overwhelming. We’d never had that many before.” The July 2022 gymkhana is the biggest they have held to date.

The afternoon events included four major events: barrel racing, pole bending, stake race, and the keyhole race. Two novelty events, the boot race and the three-person team baton relay, rounded out the afternoon.

Horn said the main events were divided by age into seniors, intermediate, juniors and peewees. The novelty events are open to any age except the lead line and peewees as the competitors need to get on and off their horses.

In the boot race, the competitors all take off their boots and pile them at one end of the arena. When they get the signal to go they ride down the arena in their socks, jump off their horse and put their boots back on after finding them in the pile. The first person to make it back and cross the finish line is the winner.

The lead lines class is designed to let the younger children feel like they are part of the event and to keep them interested in participating in horse sports like gymkhanas while they are still young. Typically, an adult or older brother or sister will lead the youngsters through the same course the older competitors run. “They’re there with their family. They pay their entry fee and they get little prizes.”

“It’s all fun,” she said. “Every one of them is fun.”

Horn said the day went very well and they were very happy with the outcome. It was well attended and a great day for the community. There was a lot of old and young talent on hand plus good horses.

The Watch Lake/Green Lake Gymkhana is a good place for young children to learn. The entry fees aren’t high and there is a wide variety of events they can try out. It is also a good learning venue for young horses who may never have been away from the barn before, she said.

Horn said she has stepped back as the organizer of the gymkhana and has handed the reins over to Jolene Fremlin.

The next gymkhana will be on August 12. Registration is at 10 a.m. with the events getting started at noon. “Same time, same place,” said Horn. “We’ll see you there.”

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Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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