Tuesday 27 May 2014

Hangin' At The Horse Show

This past Sunday, I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon at the Edmonton Classic Horse Show. I see all the listings for shows and can feel a little reluctant to go check them out - not being a local it's hard to know whether it's a smaller sort of thing or whether there will be other spectators. The standard of riding around here is quite high, so higher level dressage or jumper classes might not always mean the show is a big deal - it might actually just be a warm up for the 'big' away show elsewhere.

The show this past weekend was at the Whitemud Equine Centre near downtown in the river valley and easily accessible by public transit. The girls at the barn assured me it would be a good one to watch, so off I went. I actually rode at Whitemud "back in the day" when I was attending the nearby University of Alberta, so it was nice to stop in and see it all again, especially in it's improved state. If I'm not mistaken, it's now owned by the city and run more as an 'equine learning centre' introducing people to horses, than a regular lesson barn. Neat idea!

You'd never guess it's in the centre of the city, although some sneaky cropping of the photo hides the freeway on the left:) You can just see the show grounds in the background. From: www.welca.ca
I made it in time to watch the 1.00m jumpers and the 1.15 jumpers. I like the jumpers because you see such a wide variety of horses and riders competing.. Anything over 1.00m seems VERY big to me, so it's inspiring to see so many good horses and riders out there making it look easy. I ventured over to the hunter ring as well and spent some time wishing for a pony of my own with such excellent lead changes. I only stayed for the 2' open hunters, but I did see a Welsh D competing! For those interested, I did catch her name: Goldhills Toffee. She looked like a lot of fun and had a nice jump. With  her and CobJockey's Connor out there showing us how it's done I still hold out hope for Ginger!
1.00m jumper class. Also the only somewhat timely photo I got - I have many containing parts of horses jumping, or whole horses awkwardly landing :)

I took a quick walk through the vendor tents and was seriously envious of some of the beautiful gear. I fell in love with some super flattering Gersemi breeches I may have to make a trip to the tack store for. As your average working rider, it's a little disheartening to think about the amount of money on display - luckily though, for every really high end set of jumping boots, there was a horse with a more basic set of fronts or even just polos. The rider wear also varied from the super pricey to the more average - evidence, I hope, that there are a few riders like me out there with a not-so-big paycheque and other financial priorities.

At one point I was sitting near where the trainers were hanging out, which was interesting - lots of really great, encouraging people out there, but sadly a few who I now know I'd never do business with. There were a few riders and trainers who weren't having fun at all, and were being rude to the other competitors. I don't think I could ever take myself so seriously, but hey, that's probably partly why they are jumping the big stuff and I'm still falling off over the little stuff :) Still, no need to be ignorant. Overall, though, the vast majority were friendly and interesting company and it was nice to spend part of the day with other horse lovers.

Crazy thunderstorms came through mid afternoon so I packed up and ran for the bus stop as the tent I was sitting under just didn't feel like it would be lightning proof :) I was sad to miss the bigger jumper classes, but it was a fun day nonetheless. If you're new to the area, it's a show I'd recommend as worth checking out - quality competition, but a more laid back vibe than the bigger venues. While there is seating, and a mini trade show/concession, most people just picnic on the grassy banks ringside. The parking/spectating is FREE too so it's not like you've got to invest anything if you don't want to - just bring a lunch and stay away from the vendor tents :) Also, if your day is busy or you're just not into committing a big block of time to watch it's really convenient and in the centre of the city, so you can stop in for a bit on your way elsewhere.


  1. I visited Whitemud Equine last summer during a visit to see family because I was having horsey withdrawal :-) I have never ridden there, but I love how central it is. I actually didn't realize it had its own show grounds!

    1. It's like a poor person's Southlands. (In a good way, though!)