Sunday, February 26, 2012

Training begins!

By Nancy Gourlay

Four riders showed up at the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery for a nice, easyride out to Horne Lake and back. We started out and finished up together although we took turns at trotting for a while, (at individual comfortable paces). We took a break at the lake side and shared some bran muffins withthe horses (brrr - cool wind) then came back along the beautiful banks off the river. We met another rider near the end who's keen to join our activities - bonus! It's a great horse-friendly place to have a work-out. We covered about 13 miles in under 3 hours.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Call for spring newsletter submissions - March 31 deadline

It is time to think about our spring newsletter. The deadline for submissions is March 31st - to Nicole Vaugeois at nicoleathome(at)shaw(dot)ca

Not sure what to submit? How about some of these ideas?

1. A photo of your horse(s) - in their winter woolies, out on your property, doing something new, sporting some new tack, or introduce your new horse to the members with a brief description of them!

2. A profile of you as a rider - tell us about yourself, when you started to ride, who you ride, where you ride, how you ride and what you love about CTR.

3. A description of your favorite trail - describe it, where is it, why do you like it, how far can someone go on the trails, are there access points, maps or issues with access?

4. An article - help educate the membership about anything related to CTR - horse health, how you train and condition your horse, tips on how to prepare for CTR, travel or camping tips, or the latest gear.

5. Gear and Gadgets - take a photo or give us a link on a new gadget that would benefit a CTR rider - why is it helpful and for what?

6. An advertisement - BCCTRA has a strong and loyal readership - consider submitting an advertisement to help raise money for the club while gaining exposure to the trail riding community on the website, blog and newsletter. Kay will send the updated rates to members soon.

7. Ride managers - submit an update on your ride to raise interest in where it will be, what will be new, updates on ride forms, etc.

8. Directors and officers - submit any news on BCCTRA for your region or area of work.
Make sure all submissions are sent ready to go. Send in a word file or in email with photos as JPEG files.

Thanks everyone,
Nicole Vaugeois
PR Director, BCCTRA

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CTR trails of the past

Today I headed out with a couple of members of BCCTRA to explore some of the old trails in Spruston, just south of Nanaimo. Marci Leighton used to manage a CTR on these trails in the 1990's and Carolyn Grace, a newbie to the island - is keen to locate new trails to ride. It was a typical spring day - a bit cool in the shade - but it was great to get out. I thought bringing Marci would be an added bonus (besides the fact she is a hoot) because she'd have great knowledge of the trails. So, I didn't even turn on my GPS (not like me!). Turns out, we explored a bit and hit a few dead ends - and luckily Carolyn's phone directed us back to the trailers!

The Spruston Trails have lots of potential for equestrian use. Lynn de Vries, another BCCTRA member has spent hours in the past, according to Marci, clearing the trails in the area. I know Lynn is a big advocate of using or losing our trail systems - so get out and use these ones!

If folks want to get out to Spruston sometime - take Spruston Road off the main island highway south of Nanaimo. Stay left when it branches out and stop when you come to an old log sort, where you can turn around and park your trailer. There is lots of debris around from party crowds - so watch for glass. You can then head back a bit and start exploring from there. Here is a pdf map of the area if this helps - and our GPS was working fine too.

Ride managers workshop a success

On February 18 from 5 to 9, nine dedicated BCCTRA members met at Shelley Balme's place in Cobble Hill to discuss ride management. The group included some of the club's most experienced and new ride managers and a number of individuals that have helped out at past rides in various forms. We enjoyed the club's first great potluck of the year while we chatted about all sorts of topics.

The core of BCCTRA's activities is in the organization and hosting of competitive trail rides. Each year, a series of events is announced taking place all over the province. The willingness of ride managers to devote countless hours to host a ride is something we all need to continuously recognize. As Nancy Gourlay said at the meeting "it can be consuming"! But, as Barbara Smith pointed out very clearly at the event "there are numerous benefits to organizing a ride - it helps create and promote trails, it puts our club in the spotlight to land managers, and you get to meet and interact with so many BCCTRA members". Or as I found out when I first hosted a ride - I learned so much more about the sport as I had to study it from the inside out. It definately made me a stronger competitor. But the best part for me - was the fun of working together with people to mark trails, set up camp, put together ride packages over wine, and mingle at the site with a campfire and Dan Gogo singing to the riders.

The group at the meeting talked about lots of things like how we can promote the rides, build benefits for members, mark and map trails, take care of risk management issues, gain access to trails from property owners, secure sponsorship and come in on budget. There were plenty of great ideas shared and I am sure we will see many of these ideas put into practice this year.

This year the ride series is shaping up to look very strong - with four rides already announced for the island and two on the mainland. There are also a series of training rides to get folks out and about and to allow new members to learn more about the sport while riding. Check out the BCCTRA events calendar for more. If you ever want to learn more about what it takes to put on a ride - check out the ride manager manual on the BCCTRA site as well. And, think about getting together some of your buddies to host a new event!

And, when you are at the next ride - make sure to thank the ride managers and their volunteers for the time they put in to creating a great experience just for you. If we don't have these folks on board working hard behind the scenes - we won't have a sport and we'd lose access to the great trails they provide for equestrian users.

Thanks those who came last night and to Shelley Balme for hosting us at your place.