The BCHBC East Kootenay Chapter was formed in 2015 with members encompassing all directions beyond the initial core location of Cranbrook. Annual memberships have averaged about 30 people, the majority being adult members.
We have been a relatively active club. Materials and labour have been volunteered for sections of The Great Trail (formerly Trans Canada Trail), namely the Chief Isadore Trail east of Cranbrook. We have been working in coordination with BC Forests and Recreation in advertising and maintaining equine trails in various locations. Environmental clean-up seems ongoing. A group undertook the construction of paddocks at the trailhead of Dewar Creek and the natural hot springs. The club purchased and installed signs along the Community Forest Trails near Cranbrook.
The EK Chapter has hosted several information evenings and clinics, namely equine first aid, a Parelli Horsemanship clinic and a backcountry packing clinic. Annually, the Chapter has hosted a Christmas supper and dance that has been open to the public. They have been fun-filled evenings to wind down the year, in addition to creating more community awareness. These events have proven to be a great club fundraiser as well – what a bonus! The semi-annual poker rides hosted by the Chapter have always been great fun and another means of advertising the club. It is a perfect way to enjoy a day with friends and your horse, and financially support the club. An ambitious group entered a local parade under the banner of the Back Country Horsemen of BC and received several inquiries about the club as a result. We have reached out to others in the community; for example by cutting and delivering a load of firewood to a family whose generosity towards the club was exemplary. One good deed deserves another!
2020 was a challenging year for all, but events that had to be postponed because of the pandemic are on the list for better days ahead. The chapter has been planning an Inter-Chapter weekend campout with a variety of optional day rides in the area. It is hoped that this would be an ongoing adventure in following years.
Last, but not the very least, have been our monthly trail rides and occasional sleigh rides in the winter. What a spectacular area to ride in! Whether it be following bubbling streams or rivers winding through the valleys of the Rocky Mountains or climbing to the natural hot springs in the Purcell Range, the vistas are majestic. The alpine lakes offer their crystal blue waters as a haven to various species of fish. Why not pack a rod in your saddlebag and try your hand at catching a fish for supper? Riders are enveloped in picturesque scenery before even mounting their horses, as the East Kootenay Region is in the midst of stunning mountainous scenery. Rides can vary to accommodate the beginning rider or meet the adventurous spirits of the experienced explorers. It is not uncommon to ride all day and not encounter other backcountry participants, whether they be hikers, ATV’ers, bikers or other horsemen. Thus far it has been our experience that the outdoor enthusiasts who are encountered have been very respectful of our equine friends. There is some big country out here that just beckons backcountry riders to come experience some great riding!