It isn’t often that the Calnash Ag Event Centre comes by hosting an event it hasn’t seen before.
However, that occurred this past weekend when it opened its doors to a four-day horse jumping training and competitive session.
Pacific Equine Sport (PES), based in Calgary, brought course design, jump production plus development and training for horse and rider to the ag centre.
Working on developing and training was the main goal of the event held in Ponoka explained PES show manager, Peter Grant.
“These four days were all about providing top level showjumping access to a lot of our youth equestrian riders, who don’t get a lot of opportunities during the winter for development and training mostly due to the cost of travelling,” he said.
Grant, and PES course designer Joe Rycroft, quickly came to the conclusion that Ponoka would be an excellent site for this year and into the future.
“Within the five to 10 minutes it took for Joyce (Vold) and Dennis (Pugh) taking us past the grandstand and into the stables then back again, we were sold and were booking dates for our shows,” Rycroft said.
“Joyce and Dennis were great and you don’t often see the pride and quality that is put into this entire facility. We had a good feeling about this right away. As well, the calibre of support we received during the show from the local community was just amazing, way more than we could ever have thought.”
As for the event, it all began Nov. 23 with a number of teaching and training sessions throughout each day, culminating in some friendly, though competitive jumping on Nov. 26.
Grant added that while those involved in the sport know how expensive it can be, being able to make it more cost efficient as well as more accessible will help keep kids in the sport.
“The event, as well as the competition, was all about giving the riders some valuable quality experiences in an atmosphere that will assist the very sensitive horses stay calm and help everyone hit their goals,” Grant stated.
As for the future, Grant said they have already been looking ahead at hosting more events of a similar nature in Ponoka.