By Jill Hayward
Bringing horsemen and their horses together for three days of learning, camaraderie and entertainment was what the Back Country Horsemen of BC Rendezvous at the North Thompson Fall Fair facility in Barriere was all about last weekend. Horsemen came from all over the province to join together for a memorable weekend filled with people of like mind – horses, environmental stewardship, trail building, leaving no trace, … and fun.
The weekend event included numerous activities that included trail rides, clinics and workshops, entertainment and great food. Many new friendships were made, and folks attending said they are “ready to come back to Barriere anytime”.
The event was also open to the public who were welcomed with smiles and invitations to “come on in and enjoy the event”.
Clinicians presenting over the three days included: Dawn Ferster who gave mountain trail riding clinics for beginners and advanced riders; Mark Fletcher who taught riders the art of equine massage to help their equine athletes be all that they can be; and Miles Kingdon, who is in the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame as a working cowboy and horseman.
There were also early morning fitness classes, daily packing clinics and competitions, cowboy poetry, demonstrations by local teamster Mark Ralko and his team of heavy horses, guided and self-guided trail rides, vendors, and a potluck, a banquet, and a pancake breakfast.
The Saturday evening potluck featured entertainment by well-known North Thompson Valley musicians Gordie West, Matt Johnston and Butch Falk, as well as a special performance by BC Cowboy Festival Rising Star Award winners, Mack Station from Merritt.
A special offering this year was the Barriere Community Paramedic program who attended with BC Ambulance paramedics with a full day of drop-in 30 minute mini sessions for members of the public to learn CPR and AED skills. The sessions were offered free of charge with some 20 people taking advantage of learning how to save a life.
Members of the BCHBC organization say their annual Rendezvous is “a yearly highlight”, and they are already looking forward to where they will be hauling their equine friends to attend Rendezvous 2019.
The Back Country Horsemen Society of BC is a province wide society of over 900 members and 23 regional chapters Whether you are new to trail riding or are a seasoned pro, Back Country Horsemen of BC (BCHBC) offers a friendly atmosphere for all interested in trail riding and back country equestrian recreation. At least half of BCHBC members are women, and to encourage the next generation of trail riders, youth registration is free. The organization focuses on safety for horses and riders, environmental stewardship, trail building and maintenance, … and fun! Through collaboration with individuals, government, business and other recreational users of public land, BCHBC strives to preserve and enhance the use of public lands for all equestrians. Members participate in educational clinics, day and overnight rides, trail days, and the “Leave No Trace” Program. BCHBC members are involved with provincial and municipal governing agencies dealing with matters of concern to all trail riders. BCHBC also provides an environment for equestrians who are interested in trail riding and the back country; and a social, safe learning atmosphere where people of all ages and experience can enjoy trail riding.
Want to learn more? Visit a chapter in your area, or contact: secretary@ bchorsemen.org for more information.