BCHBC Chapter Profile: South Vancouver Island
The SVI Chapter serves the southern part of Vancouver Island, with members from Victoria, Sooke, Metchosin, Saltspring Island, Shawnigan Lake, Cowichan Valley, Duncan, and Chemanius.
The Chapter meets on the third Friday of each month, with a 6 p.m. Potluck and 7 p.m. meeting, locations across the region.
Originally there was only the North Vancouver Island chapter, serving all of Vancouver Island. The South VI Chapter was created in 2007 and is now one of four chapters on the Island. While a separate chapter, the SVI group maintains close connections with others and many SVI members started off with the original “Vancouver Island Chapter”, now North VI.
SVI is fortunate to have many local parks and trails throughout the area, which provide day riding: the Galloping Goose, Matheson Lake, Horth Hill, Gowlland Tod, Cobble Hill Recreation Area, Hemer Park. The rebuilding of the historic Kinsol Trestle now allows equestrians to travel from south Shawnigan Lake, up through to Lake Cowichan. While Crown land is limited in our region, the new Spruston trailhead provides access to multi-user trails and members share in the opportunities provided by the new Memekay Horse Camp, the first Horse Camp on Crown Land on Vancouver Island.
SVI Chapter hosts a monthly ride, giving members an opportunity to participate in group rides. This past year started with fourteen riders on the Glenora trails to celebrate spring and a Trail Obstacle Clinic with Fonda Munro. Over a dozen members attended the Rendezvous in Aldergrove and met with BCHBC members from across the province. SVI members love to camp with their horses and multi-day camping trips throughout the summer included camping at Boulder Creek Ranch, Mt. Sicker, Campbell River and Gabriola Island.
In addition to group rides, SVI members are encouraged to connect for smaller rides, particularly when transitioning horses from ring to trail riding. A contact list is distributed, so all can connect with fellow members to ride, carpool to events or to get information on trails. SVI events are posted on the BCHBC Provincial website at www.bchorsemen.org and you can go there to learn more about upcoming activities. In addition to the Provincial BCHBC Facebook Page, SVI hosts its own page, private to the SVI members.
SVI works with other trail user groups to encourage sharing trails for recreation on the South Island. The Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Capital Regional District work with us to address issues for equestrians, including improvements to trailheads. New signage at Cobble Hill Recreational area and the Quarry Park have identified priority parking for horse trailers. The SVI Chapter was instrumental in working with the CVRD to develop parking, rest area, and holding pens for horses at the Cowichan River Park. SVI assisted VISTA (Vancouver Island Spine Trail Assoc.) and Trails BC to include equestrians in events to promote shared trails.
This past year, the Chapter used BCHBC funds to build mounting blocks at both ends of the Kinsol Trestle. Members act as on-the-ground stewards for the Cobble Hill Recreational area, the Trans Canada Trail, and CRD trails in the Sooke hills. Chapter rides are often held in conjunction with other groups and many of our members are also members of other riding clubs including the BC Competitive Trail Rider Association, the Garden City Horsemen, Cedar Horse Club, Metchosin Equestrian Society, and VIMY Riding Club. The SVI Chapter is proud to be a part of the vibrant horse community of Southern Vancouver Island and promotes connections between the equine population and other recreational trail users to enjoy the natural and cultural history of our area.
South Vancouver Island Chapter Executive:
Vice Chair: Diana Von Ratenberg
Secretaries: Heather Sykes & Julia Brooke
Treasurer/Membership Coord.: Christine Heffernan
Directors: Michelle James, Justine Saunders, and Ybo Plante