Valley Riders gallop forward

Sparwood’s Valley Riders riding club hosted a membership drive meeting on May 26 to discuss their upcoming plans and official grand opening.

Sparwood’s Valley Riders riding club hosted a membership drive meeting on Tuesday, May 26 to discuss their upcoming plans and official grand opening.

“We’ve been trying to get the Valley Riders off the ground for the last two years and build more awareness, so it’s great for things to finally be happening,” said President Christine Tougas.

Following relocation negotiations with Sparwood council in September 2014 regarding the flooding of their previous riding area, construction and dirt work is expected to be complete at their 100 Second Ave. residence by mid-June.

“It all depends on the weather, obviously, but we’re hopeful to get everything done over the next month in time for some events that we’re going to be hosting,” said Tougas.

Among those events will be GymKhana — a Western-style games event that will include activities like barrel racing, pole bending, keyhole racing and more.

“It’s a fun day of play with horses and it’s available for all ages to participate in. I’ve come across 20-30 different games so far that we can introduce so it should be a lot of fun,” Tougas said.

GymKhana is slated for the first weekend of July, which may run concurrent with the Valley Riders’ official opening ceremony.

Also on the Valley Rider’s schedule is an appearance in this year’s Coal Miners Day parade.

“This will be the first time in probably over 10 years that we’ll have horses in the Coal Miners Day parade so we’re very excited to hopefully get a more visible presence out and let people know we’re actually here,” said Tougas.

She added, “We’re just trying to build awareness. I didn’t realize how many horse people were in this area who just don’t know about us.”

Tougas said the ultimate message on the Valley Riders behalf was building more awareness and a presence in the community.

“It doesn’t matter if you have lots of experience or no experience, everyone is welcome to join,” she said.

Vice-President Krissy Bursey concurred, adding, “It’s a great place to learn, especially for little kids.”

Future Valley Riders programming was also discussed at the meeting included a trail ride/barbeque fundraiser, an English riding clinic and additional events for young riders.