(File photo)

(File photo)

Third annual Downtown Ponoka Ringsteken event to take place July 16

Ringsteken — ‘ring riding’ — traditionally uses Friesian horses

By Carlie Sanderson

For Ponoka News

The third annual downtown ringsteken event in Ponoka is fast approaching. “Ringsteken” or ring riding, originates from Holland.

The event will take place on Main Street July 16 at 3 p.m.

“The first time we did it, because it was COVID time, there was not much going on in town and we wanted to do something, but an outside event,” said one of the organizers Loekie Van Dobben. Her parents also help to organize the event.

Van Dobben, who is originally from Holland and now resides east of Ponoka, said she has participated in ringsteken while she lived back home and is happy to put it on here.

“We really wanted the downtown area because that’s how it’s always been done. It’s always been done on the street so you can hear the excitement of the horse’s feet.”

On the street there will be what they call four hands in a row made out of wood, with two open fingers on the hand. Inside those fingers will be a ring placed in them. Teams consist of two people on the cart if using a buggy. One will drive the cart while the other is the one sticking the rings.

Van Dobben said they will have what looks like a wooden stick with a long point to attach the rings with, which are small.

“You cannot walk; you have to have a fast trot,” she said about the speed the horse must move at.

There will be four rounds. Every ring picked in the first round is worth one point; every ring picked in the second will be two points and so on until the four rounds are up.

Once finished, all of the points are added up to determine the placing of each team.

Van Dobben and her parents own Friesian horses and will be some of the participants in the event.

A lot of people take part in the event, with many being from the Alberta Friesian Horse Association (AFHA), but also from around the area. Van Dobben said they are still accepting participants, which are free to join.

Entrants can participate by driving or by riding — it doesn’t have to be from a buggy.

Typically the breeds of horses used in the Ringsteken event are Friesians, which originally come from Holland, but other breeds can also be a part of the event.

Some streets will be blocked off for the event, as it will take place along Chipman Ave. (50 Ave.)

Those wishing to participate can call Van Dobben at 403-704-4456.

There is no entry fee and the event is free to attend, as it’s all run from sponsorship. There will be something for all who participate.

The AFHA will also be putting on another event in October at the Calnash Ag Event Centre called “From War Horse to Movie Star,” a show that will celebrate the association’s 25th anniversary.

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