Peak to Peak Equestrian 2018 Buckle Series

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First of two Gymkhana competitions

By Jaclyn Schrock

Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the Gilpin County Arena, Rick Newman announced the events for this year’s first Gymkhana event from Peak to Peak Equestrian, with the major sponsor being United Power. This year, there are only two competitions thrilling spectators with horse and rider cooperation. Last year’s third and final round in the series was during the 2017 Gilpin County Fair where the winners were awarded their Silver Buckles in the 4 age classes. This year’s final event will be the end of July.

Well over a dozen horse and rider teams demonstrated their skills under some blue skies with some sun, and some clouds that brought spotty rain later in the day, last weekend. These riders keep their horses in training all year, some individually and others practicing in a private arena in our area. The Gymkhana is a public event, and was held at the Gilpin County Arena.

To win the coveted Silver Buckle, the horse and rider team must earn the top number of points from the series. June and July equitation participation is also influential to overall results. Equitation is a class which evaluates and comments are made by judges regarding horse and rider cooperation. There are four scored main events: Barrel Race, Flag Race, Pole Bending and Key Hole. First place in each of the three age divisions earns five points, second place earns four points, third place wins three points, 4th place earns two points, and 5th place one point. The final Gymkhana in the2018 series will be Saturday, July 21st.

The age divisions for the Gymkhana were: 1-9 years old, 10-17 years old, and 18 and up was the adult age group. There could have been a professional category, but there were no entries. Two riders in the 9 year old and under category made their maneuvers while their horse was led by a tether. These lead line teams are scored the same, however ranked a bit lower than the horses guided by the rider. These two riders were ages 3 and 1 year old, getting a great start in the saddle.

Riders 9 under and horse

Kaylee Haaga, age 9 on Valentine – First Place

River Lemaster, age 9 on Kenai – Second Place

Eva Wrobel, age 9 on Deno – Third Place

Maja Giecold, age 9 on Topper – Fourth Place

Ages 10-17 and horse

Abby Norman, age 13 on Deno – First Place

The Peak to Peak Equestrian Club also holds clinics to train in a wider range of skills. Sunday, they met to hone skills with trainer Melanie Breidt from Colorado Springs. Cowboy Dressage was the June clinic. These skills use the western saddle for ease and comfort of the rider while refining skills used in original English riding competitions.

Sunday, June 24, nine horse and rider teams shared (so also reducing the expense to have) quality technical training. Working in the 20 by 40 meter court, many refinements were gained to develop showmanship skills for the horses and riders. The horses saw the storm moving in late in the morning, and had a hard time concentrating, as did the riders. Two very dark clouds came together soon after noon over Gilpin County Arena postponing part of the event. Horses were put back into trailers, people got into vehicles and arrangements were secured to move the event into the Exhibit Barn where the training was completed. The outdoor arena was soon covered with a half inch of hail, so was no longer safe for horses or riders.

There is another clinic scheduled after the final Gymkhana in the series. Sunday, July 22 a Vaulting Clinic will be open to encourage younger riders to learn vaulting skills. A well-trained horse on a lead rope circles the arena with the trainer in the center. Students will learn to get on and off the horse without a saddle, but the rider does have a harness-like strap to hold onto near the horses shoulders. Skills also include riding bareback. Eventually, vaulting skills work up to kneeling and eventually standing on the moving horse. Vaulting is not trick riding, but can lead into such an adventure. Contact Stephanie Weber; or Sheila Ranegar; with Peak to Peak Equestrians for more information, or to suggest another skills clinic other riders would want to have training on.

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