For people interested in equine and equine events, the closest thing to heaven on earth has returned to the Moose Jaw Exhibition Company as the horse events are back on.
“I think we are going to have a very busy next six weeks. It is good for the community, good for the Exhibition and lots of economic activity,” George Fowler told MJ Independent following Tuesday evening’s board meeting.
With the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions, the Exhibition finds itself in the midst of an explosion of equine events.
Events already held
The events started on July 14th when the Saskatchewan Barrel Racing Association (SBRA) held the first jackpot since early in 2020 — and the COVID-19 shutdown — something Fowler said was exciting to hear happening after the lengthy restrictions.
In total there were 48 runs with all runs held in the cool of the evening.
The Rodeo School was held with veteran rodeo star Lee Bellows calling the event a success despite the fact that the COVID-19 restrictions almost once again cancelled the event, which is usually held in May.
The only concerns Bellows raised were that the school was held later than it should be, which helped contribute to the three injuries sustained by participants.
He stressed and wanted people to know that the Rodeo School had a nurse present and she was helpful to those injured.
“The horses were two months in better shape than they should have been…but overall it was a success and we’re happy.”
Bellows told the meeting that usually the rodeo school is held in May and with the mares in colt making them more docile. This year holding the event later meant they already had given birth to their foals making the mares more athletic and not the ideal for new rodeo participants to start out on.
He went on to give a description about how the Moose Jaw school is more new rodeo participant friendly than other schools.
“All the other rodeo schools were to train horses…they have a superstar rider come in and then they have horses that they (new rodeo participants) can’t ride,” he said adding Moose Jaw prefers to focus on the riders so that they learn properly.
There was a Lauren Bamford Clinic held July 17 and 18th which was geared towards proper horsemanship.
The clinic was well received by the participants with potential plans of holding another clinic in the future.
The Exhibition Company is looking forward to more events this summer.
The Saskatchewan Reined Cow Horse Association will be hosting a three day event this coming weekend. On July 23rd there will be a clinic followed by an actual competition and show on July 24th and 25th.
The Saskatchewan Cutting Horse Association is scheduled for July 29 to August 1st. The event will see 100 horses on the weekend with 1,000 cattle being part of the show.
“It is always a big event. They will push through about 1,000 head of cattle during the show,” Fowler said, adding the cattle come in by the semi load and then leave by the semi load as a new semi load of fresh cattle come in, so the cattle are always fresh and well rested.
A crowd favourite, based upon the cuteness factor alone, will be the Saskatchewan Mini Horse Club who invade the Exhibition Grounds on August 7th and August 8th.
“It is always an interesting event because they are miniature horses,” Fowler told the Exhibition’s July monthly meeting.
By far the largest event to take place is the SBRA Provincial Finals to be held August 15th to 19th when the grounds as well as numerous local businesses are packed with barrel racers in their Wrangler jeans and cowboy hats.
Although the final numbers of participants is unknown at the present time, the last time it was held over 700 participants showed up completely filling the grounds. The show went off without any major hitches except for the heavy rains and the effect on getting around the grounds and parking.
“We want it to rain now and good weather then,” Fowler said as the board meeting got into a lengthy discussion about the last time the event was held in 2019 and how they handled the wet conditions at the Exhibition Grounds.
The 2019 event — the last time it was held — was a major bonanza for local businesses as many of the riders ate out, shopped and even caused a major run at Staples as many of the participants, with school looming, bought their school supplies there cleaning out some shelves.
The final summer equine event planned is the Regina Dressage Provincial Finals which is scheduled for August 21st and 22nd.