BCHBC Rendezvous Back After Pandemic Pause

 

By Leslie Battersby — BCHBC Prince George-Omineca chapter

 

Our annual Rendezvous (RV) and in-person AGM is by far, the largest gathering of our province-wide organization. Up to 300 members and guests (with or without their horses) typically congregate to socialize, attend training sessions, demos, trail ride and share ideas to improve their backcountry skills and horsemanship.

 

Yippee ki-yay! It finally happened!

It was third time lucky for the Prince George-Omineca (PG-O) Chapter after the BCHBC Rendezvous had been postponed for two consecutive years due to COVID.  They were finally able to host the event  June 24-26, 2022 at the Prince George rodeo grounds, CN Centre and Agriplex.

Leading up to the weekend it was stormy skies with on and off periods of thunder showers, but when the weekend arrived, even the weather cooperated with clear blue skies, hot sunny days and beautiful sunsets.

There was considerable long-term planning to ensure that this three-day event was successful. Much of the work being done by RV Committee chair, Sandra Erickson, and her supportive team of volunteers and generous sponsors. Without all of their dedication, RV would not have happened! So huge ‘kudos’ and a tip of our cowboy hats must go out to them!

Overall it was a very successful event with a total of 120 attendees, from the various 21 BC chapters, the furthest away coming from Vancouver Island. Many of the clinics were sold out and attendees were happy to hang out at the end of the day telling stories in the campground and making new friends.

The PGO Chapter was founded in 2016 and currently consists of 60 members. Prince George is located in the heart of the central interior and is considered “the gateway to the North”, as Highway 97 (North/South) and Highway 16 (East/West) intersect here.  The Omineca (meaning “slow-moving water”) district covers the north-central interior section of BC.

Some of the clinics and activities included:

Courtney Gledstone helping with bandaging.

Courtney Gledstone, Equusoul Equine First Aid demonstrated a three-hour, hands-on first aid session covering scenarios you might find on the trail. Learning how to take vital signs, pain-source identification, signs & symptoms of colic, bandaging etc. Sarah Close La Fortune attended this event and she said: “It was well attended, we got to work on actual horses … which was nice and for the price of $25 you can’t go wrong”.

Kyla Strange Horsemanship Clinics: There was a one-hour ‘Horse-man-ship’ clinic that focused on horse-first philosophies and catered to participating students’ and horses’ learning needs. There was also a two-hour ‘Brave Horse’ clinic which focused on obstacles and tests that challenged the horse and rider to be confident, independent and brave.

Sarah Smith thought the Brave Horse Clinic was wonderful. She said: “Kyla was keen to get an understanding of individual goals to help move forward with success for both rider and horse. Each obstacle was explained and there were no demands to complete. Everything was set up for success on a personal level and a lot of emphasis was on promoting teamwork and feedback.”

Pernell Fleck  hosted the Horsemanship 101 Trail Control Clinics.  Pernell is excellent at reading the communication between horse and rider. He

Pernell’s Youngest Participant on her pony Taco.

explained to participants why their horse may be reactive in certain situations then explained the tools and exercises to help get through various difficult situations using natural obstacles that could be encountered on the trail. He concluded with a trailer-loading demonstration. The youngest participant was four years of age on her ” million-dollar pony”, Taco!  She had no problem maneuvering through the obstacles.

Russell Floyd, Back Country Blacksmiths, presented an informative session on guide and pack training. This clinic also included a fun packing competition. Winners of the packing competition were last-minute entries, Perry and Katja Beamish.

 

Trail Rides and more!

RV Drill Team

Friday night featured a burger and smokie BBQ complete with salads and dessert, compliments of PG-O Chapter and hosted by the Northern Interior Drill Team.  Sarah Close La Fortune also reported that “the barbecue was delicious and everyone was very nice and welcoming”. The evening was topped off with live music by cowboy singer/songwriter Bernadette Ducharme and a drill team performance.

Saturday morning was our AGM and the evening highlight was a dinner, dance and highly successful silent auction. The entertainment was terrific with Prince Geroge-based country music singer/songwriter Rick Staveley. A lot of fun was had near the end of the evening with many folks scurrying to raise their bids.

Sunday featured a wonderful pancake breakfast and cowboy church.

There were also planned trail rides each day that many took advantage of. Trails wandered through the shaded trees and some groomed sections for multi-use shared with joggers, dog walkers and mountain bikers. This trail system is a huge area with many trails and maps posted to find your route. On the trail ride that I attended on Sunday, there were 13 riders of various ages.  Jake was the oldest horse at 29. The horses loved the Shane Lake destination to cool off in.

29-year-old ‘Jake’ enjoys a drink at Shane Lake.

Other weekend activities included a tack ID info table, a trailer-safety demo by Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement (CVSE) officer Andrea Garhammer, a Dutch Oven demo and cook-off, massage demo by Althea Equine Massage, and the Escape Room activity, won by a team from Mackenzie.

Shelby did an outstanding job sharing her Dutch Oven skills and the baked beans topped with cornbread was delicious. Always a fun event.

The winners of the Rendezvous draw prizes were:

  • 1st Prize: 2 horse trailer – Art Pritchard
  • 2nd Prize: Saddle from Colete Saddles — Beatrix Dallaire
  • 3rd Prize: Pack rigging — Kandace Krause.

More details on the winner of the Ernie Buckles Cowboy Poetry Contest and our Volunteers of the Year will be published in the December issue of Saddle Up Magazine.

Congratulations to these winners, but really, it can be said that we are all winners when we get to enjoy riding our horses at these types of events. I am confident to say that all of the BCHBC members are looking forward to the next Rendezvous event in 2023. Hope you and your horse can make it!

 

Happy Trails!

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