Equestrian program gives students the chance to ride, train and compete

By Jessie Weisner
June 14, 2019 - 4:25pm Updated: June 14, 2019 - 7:30pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB -- More than 40 students met up at the Irvine Rodeo Grounds Friday, for the wrap up event for the second year of equestrian programming at the Prairie Rose School Division.

“Last year we started the Prairie Rose Equestrian Club, it actually was just Irvine School but this year we’ve opened it to all of Prairie Rose Schools,” says Linda Kraft, Prairie Rose equestrian program coordinator. “So we have kids from Schuler, Seven Persons and Irvine.”

Kids from Grades 3-9 across the division participate in the equestrian program, either as an option during class time, or in a club after school.

The program trains the kids on barrel racing, pole bending, different obstacles, and horsemanship.

“How to go like be with your horses, make contact with them, a lot of stuff like calming them down,” says Cord Haig, grade four student at Irvine School.

“I learned how to do like obstacles and I learned how to become one with my horse,” says Blair Reeser, grade five student at Irvine School.

During the event, guests performed skills like trick riding and mounted shooting. Irvine students also demonstrated skills they’ve learned throughout the year.

While the younger ones took it a bit slow, galloping along the track, some of those in Junior High showed off their skills.

“We’ve just been practising on like different skills and riding techniques and just different activities throughout the riding industry,” says Rayna Gold, participant in Irvine School riding academy.

Most of the kids own their own horses, while some lease them for the opportunity to ride.

“I enjoy roping on them, doing a lot of stuff and this is the first time on him here,” says Haig.

“It’s just a great opportunity for kids who have horses and also an awesome opportunity for kids who are able to lease horses now and participate in this program,” says Kraft.

While this may seem like just a hobby, some of the riders plan on going pro, or already have, providing opportunities for rural kids from areas like Schuler, Seven Persons and Irvine.

“I do have some athletes here who do compete outside of school and yeah there’s a couple that it’s sparked their interest in some of their future endeavours I think,” says Kraft.

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