By Jaime Polmateer
It’s looking like a busy season for the Smokin True Ranch.
In the last couple weeks the venue has introduced its new Extreme Mountain Trail course and began hosting horse riding clinics, with a few more on the way in the coming weeks.
Co-owner Dawn Beech-Spencer said the ranch will be hosting a beginner driving clinic with instructor Ellen Hockley starting July 1 and the Westwin Kids Buckle Run sponsored by Melissa Hole of Royal LePage on Aug. 25.
“We’re trying to get people aware that were here, we’re pretty much right in town,” said Beech-Spencer.
“If there are other things people want to see, just tell us and we’ll try to organize it.”
Most recently the Smokin True Ranch finished a Bosal Clinic where instructor Carol Hamel taught participants how to use a hackamore, a type of headgear for hoses, that uses a special type of noseband instead of a traditional bit.
Beach-Spencer said she feels this is more humane because there’s nothing intrusive in the horse’s mouth and wanted to give the opportunity for local riders to learn what it’s about.
“You put something in a horses mouth and they’re doing things out of pain and fear, rather than a working partnership with you,” she said, adding her husband Ted Schultz is a horse trainer and also wanted to bring the hackamore clinic to Clearwater.
“My husband said we need something more and that’s why we decided we’re going to bring this here, so that the local people might want to embrace this, like there is a better way, and this lady will teach you to do it in a better way.”
The pair of equine enthusiasts came across the hackamore after doing research and discovering the skill, which dates back to 1800s California.
Six riders showed up to the ranch to learn the skill of using a hackamore, with roughly 20 people coming through to see what it was all about.
The upcoming driving clinic with Ellen Hockley will have the instructor showing how to put horses to a cart, something beech-spencer said will also be interesting.
“Because with the cart, you don’t just hook a horse up and go, same as with what we were learning here, with the hackamore,” she said.
“You can’t just put it on and start riding; you have to learn all these mechanics of how your hand lifts them up, and your seat and your leg is what actually turns the horse, and your weight and your balance, it’s quite an art and a skill to it.”
Then at the Aug. 25 event, the Westwin Kids Buckle Run will offer a long list of different events for various age divisions.
The age divisions range from lead line, which is for kids five and younger, buckaroos aged eight and under, Peewee for kids nine to 13, junior from 13 to 16 and a novice class for youth nine to 16 who are inexperienced riders.
Some of the events include Barrels, poles, chug-a-lug, ribbon barrel, water race, apple bob, donut race, sock race, banana race, bareback command loonie race and most decorated horse.
Riders will get two tries at the barrels and poles, taking their two best combined times forward.
“It’s all about Clearwater youth, we’re trying to get the youth out here and it’s all speed timed events and for barrel racing,” said Beech-Spencer.
Prizes and trophies will be handed out to participants at the end of the day.
The deadline for registration is Aug. 19 and for more information text or call Michelle Baker at 250-587-6161.