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32/ JULY 2019 THE RIDER Horse Day Erin was a resounding success


By Karen Dalimore From unicorns to cowboys


and everything in between, Horse Day Erin was a great success. Blue skies and a beautiful sunny day quickly helped to swell the crowd to an estimated one thou- sand, attracting visitors as far away as Windsor to the west, Williamstown to the east and Trout Creek to the north. What began as a local celebration of Erin’s equine sector clearly res- onated right across the province. “We couldn’t be happier


with the turnout and the event it- self,” said Bridget Ryan, organ- izer of the event. “Our intention was to celebrate the horse in our community but it reached far be- yond our expectations.” Visitors were greeted at the


road by ‘Grandy’, the seven-foot tall Grand River Racing mascot, who was busy waving in passing motorists to the inaugural Horse Day Erin event held at the Erin Fairgrounds on June 8, 2019. The day started with a sold- out Cowboy Breakfast in support


WORPC members demonstrated the Prince Philip Games at Horse Day Erin. (Photo supplied)


of the Erin Agricultural Society, served up by Erin’s mayor, the honourable Allan Alls, and coun- cillors John Brennan and Mike Robins. They were all good sports, wearing cowboy hats and flipping pancakes. A wide variety of trade ven-


dors, food booths and exhibitors enjoyed a steady flow of traffic as young families, grandparents with children, and horse lovers of all ages created a fun family at- mosphere. The Erin Fairgrounds show


Claire McClelland (L) and Trinity Sachau educated visitors to Horse Day Erin about Pony Club sports at the Western Ontario Regional Pony Club display booth. (Photo supplied)


barn Demo Ring featured a far- rier demonstration by Paul Fis- chbach, a roping demonstration by Austin McVeigh, a rodeo bronc simulation, equine mas- sage by Kathy Reid, mini horses by Journey on Equine, mini don- keys by Taylor Valentine repre- senting the Donkey and Mule Association of Canada and the award-winning ‘Equimania’ pre- sented by Gayle Ecker, manager of Equine Guelph. Deb Hewson’s ‘Magic, the Unicorn’ was another


The Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit (OMSSU) provided mounted patrol for Horse Day Erin, keeping a watchful eye on the crowd and performing search and rescue duty to retrieve a lost Teddy Bear. (Photo by Clair Sutherland with permission)


crowd pleaser, counting out chil- dren’s ages with her hoof. The Ontario Mounted Spe-


cial Service Unit (OMSSU) pro- vided mounted patrol for Horse Day Erin, keeping a watchful eye on the crowd and performing search and rescue duty to retrieve a lost Teddy Bear. A popular feature of the day


was the beloved horseman David Cowley from Alberta demon- strating horsemanship and part- nership with his


sidekick


Palomino, Tucker. Cowley wel- comed members of the crowd to join Tucker in the North Ring while he was lying down having his afternoon nap, showing the bond of trust a person can have with a horse. Cowley also led sold-out Two-Way Trust Horse- manship and Extreme Cowboy Obstacle clinics for groups of rid- ers throughout the day. Tom Bishop’s Trick Riding


wowed the audience with a thrilling feat of athleticism and entertainment


that included


Roman Riding, roping and jump- ing four horses at one time. Bishop is the horse trainer for tel- evision shows such as Murdoch Mysteries, the fourth generation of his family to be involved in the equine show business. The K-9 Dog Agility team


presented a fun interlude, wrap- ping up their show with the stately Petunia the Pot-bellied Pig.


While the day was full of


western fun, the South Ring fea- tured Myrddin Equestrian and the Western Ontario Region Pony Club representing English disci- plines. Seven riders participated in the Prince Phillip Games demonstration, a team sport played by Pony Club members around the world. As Theresa Rondeau Vuk, a member of the Regional Committee the Western Ontario Region Pony Club ex- plained, each team is made up of five members and five ponies; a typical day of competition in- volves up to 16 individual relay


races, all requiring a different set of riding skills. “These are true races,” said Vuk, “where the fastest team wins. Accuracy, speed, cooperation, and trust in both your pony and your friends makes for a very exciting sport.” Vuk was pleased with the day. “Overall it was a great day and great opportunity to showcase some of the opportunities pony club provides kids of all ages.” On the other end of the


weight scale, a one-year old Bel- gian colt, handled by Steve Arse- nault of Dominion Farms of Erin showing, was joined by Kelly Walraven’s with her gentle giant - a seven-year old, 19.3 hand Bel- gian gelding, raised by Manuel Tavares of Erin. One of the final perform-


ances of the day was an amazing dressage demonstration by Michelle Whitehead and her Friesian stallion, TV movie star ‘Handsome Nick’, orchestrating a first-class performance to the music of Cavalia.


Horse Day Erin Kids’ Colouring Contest Winners


winner of the Horse Day Erin 9-12 yrs. category. The contest was open to children


art teacher, and Erin resident, Geraldine Walsh. All winning entries were reviewed


from Erin and beyond (advertised throughout south west Ontario region)— and resulted in a large number of entries from as far as Toronto and North Bay. The winners were selected by former


Shown below is Maggie Edwards,


Fairgrounds on June 8, 2019, and wel- comed over 1,000 visitors including families, grandparents, children, horse people and dog lovers.


businesses. Horse Day Erin was held at the Erin


artist-friendly community…as well as a horse-friendly community! Contest Prizes were donated by local


carefully, and anonymously selected—and all winners were…from Erin! Apparently The Town of Erin is an


support and partnership included Central Counties Tourism, Grand River Agricul- tural Society, The County of Wellington, Erin Radio 91.7 CHES FM, Budson’s—


showcase our local equine community and to celebrate Erin’s horse and country lifestyle. This event acknowledges the funding


Horse Day Erin was established to


Provisions for Country Living, Stewart’s Equipment (Kubota), The Town of Erin, Erin Agricultural Society, McKinnon Tim- ber Mart, Ontario Extreme Cowboy and Equine Erin as well as many other local and regional businesses and individuals who donated prizes, or volunteered their time.


Group Shot—(left to right) Horse Day Erin organizer: Bridget Ryan, Equine Erin Contest Winners: 3-6 yrs: Connor Normore, Jordan Gingrich; 9-12 yrs: Miylee Reay; 6-9 yrs: Maggie Edwards; Contest judge, former art teacher: Geraldine Walsh


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