Paint Horse Club competes at Ag Event Centre

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By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

In New York, owners show off their best in show dogs, in Alberta they show off their paint horses.

The Alberta Paint Horse Club held its annual Fall Classic Paint Horse Show in Ponoka last weekend and club members from all around Alberta came to display their training talents, and of course, their paint horses. Greg Gavelin, club president, said some members came all the way from British Columbia.

There are several reasons Gavelin said the club decided to come to the Ponoka Ag Event Centre. “Lighting, space and the rural setting make this an ideal indoor arena for us to.”

Ponoka makes for a great location because people entering agricultural events can avoid city driving with their livestock and trailers.

Randi McCook, who works at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury, said horsepeople love their horses and they love to show them off.

McCook, a world champion handler as well as two-time world reserve champion, grew up around horses, “I am thankful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this.”

Her horse, Ostentatious Me, is exactly what judges and trainers look for, McCook said. “She has great colours, can halter in the morning, ride in the afternoon and is well put together.”

If club members do well they can take their horses to the United States to attend events held by the parent club, the American Paint Horse Association.

Gavelin said owners treat their horses well, similar to how dog show owners would treat their dogs, pampered, trained and well groomed.

There are other benefits to presenting at these events. Owners can see how well trainers and handlers do and they could be hired to train other horses. Owners have the potential to breed high scoring horses and train the offspring for other competitions.

McCook said the main reason she enjoys the Paint Horse Club is for its family-orientated events. “There’s something for everybody and people are friendly.”

Ostentatious Me is competing against horses with professional trainers but McCook, who is an amateur trainer, is here to let people know it can be done with dedication, “If you believe it, you can achieve it. That’s my motto.”

Gavelin said wherever they go they like to make a donation to a local non-profit organization and the Ponoka Food Bank received food donations and a $100 cheque for their cause.