Family-Friendly Gymkhanas

Thorsby Gymkhana Club riders show their ribbons at one of the eleven Gymkhana Winter Series events held at the Thorsby Haymaker Centre on February 2, 2013.

  Gymkhana is a fun and games-filled, precision equestrian event that is gaining popularity with the young and the young at heart. The Thorsby Gymkhana Club is one of only a few Alberta communities that offer Gymkhanas during the winter months. Each year, there are eight to ten winter events held at the Thorsby Haymaker Centre. On February 2, Barrel Racing tested the rider’s abilities and the horse’s agility.  
        The President of the Committee, Chris Hartfelder, says this is a very family oriented club with a wide range of skill levels.  
        “We have 400 members—that includes families even if they don’t ride.  Recently, we hit 88 members riding--our highest number, but we average around 60 riders. Skill levels range from beginners to competitors with the Alberta Barrel Racing Association.”
        If a member has never ridden, they may ride as a Pre-Pee Wee. Parents lead these young children in a down-sized pattern allowing inexperienced riders to get used to their horse, and to ride safely and with growing confidence.
        Hartfelder added Gymkhanas will do three things for riders. “First, riders will grow in tune with their horse—improving the relationship between self and the horse. Second, it strengthens the family through fun and their love for their horse. And last, riders get to meet new people, becoming good friends with those who share something in common.”
        While anyone is welcome to join at anytime, please be advised that it is now too late to begin riding for prizes. This is based on a point system and the last gymkhana is soon approaching in March.
        Thorsby Gymkhana Secretary-Treasurer Lori Gunsch kindly shared the Winter Series Points Standings. As of February 2, 2013, the top three contenders in each category are as follows:
PEE WEE: Ashley Gunsch-306, Kendayl Sieben-282, and Britt Scholten-141.
JUNIORS: Jessica Gunsch-189, Amy Thompson-162, Sarah Thompson-138.
INTERMEDIATE: Brittany Dommasch-228, Lindsey Hartfelder-128, Paula                           Hernandez-97.
NOVICE: Ingrid Ludwig-208, Dawn Sieben-191, Sharee Ekert-182.
LADIES: Teresa Pinyon-211, Michelle Giebelhaus-194, Abbey Halwa-137.
MENS: Jordan Corra-197, Ray Buryn-84, John Hummel-28.
SENIORS: Ernie Jeffery-180, Robin Sept-157, Lori going-76.

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