On Saturday, March 16, a convoy of 10 trucks and horse trailers arrived at Saratoga Speedway in Black Creek for a most unusual event.
While this venue is best known as a racetrack for cars, it was the perfect place for a Trailer Rodeo organized by the North Vancouver Island Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of British Columbia (BCH). The rodeo allowed all attendees to practise their horse trailer hauling skills in a safe and controlled environment.
While the day proved to be plenty of fun (despite some rain) – with lots of laughter and kind-hearted jesting – the purpose of the Trailer Rodeo was to get serious about safety.
“We hosted the Trailer Rodeo because safety is a high priority for the Back Country Horsemen organization,” says North Vancouver Island (NVI) Chapter vice-chair, Sharon Pickthorne. “The majority of our members need to transport their horses in trailers to access local trails. Finding a safe place to practise backing up and maneuvering was fantastic. The racetrack has plenty of room and the danger of running over orange traffic cones isn’t too intimidating.”
Under the ever-watchful eye of BCH members Neil and Sharon Feely, who are professional drivers, participants practised maneuvering their trucks and horse trailers around traffic pylons set up for five driving challenges: a squeeze, backing up, backing up on a hilly curve, parallel parking, and turning around at a T-intersection.
The Feelys provided some great tips and instruction on driving and they both hopped into many vehicles to help co-pilot as people perfected their skills. NVI Chapter member, Ian Compton, also helped attendees with trailer inspections, looking at brake controllers, brake cables, and how to ensure that emergency brakes are working.
A Trailer Safety Clinic preceded the Trailer Rodeo in January. This event was held at the local commercial vehicle inspection business, Courtenay Spring and Welding. Owner Kevin Mackie and mechanic Rob York helped BCH members learn about horse trailer safety and discussed trailer maintenance, what to do for pre-trip inspections and had various brake mechanisms on display.
“We extend sincere thanks to Paul Hargrave at Saratoga Speedway and Kevin Mackie from Courtenay Spring and Welding for their generosity in donating their time and facilitates so that our members could learn more about the safe operation of their trucks and horse trailers,” concludes Pickthorne.
“We look forward to another great season of safely hauling our horses and getting out to enjoy the great wilderness on Vancouver Island and beyond.”
Back Country Horsemen Society of British Columbia has more than 650 members in 17chapters province-wide. The group was founded in Langley BC in 1988. The Vancouver Island Chapter, which currently has 50 members, was formed in 1996.
BCHBC works with recreational groups, government agencies, and the public to promote awareness and understanding for a cooperative wilderness experience. While the club focuses of safety for horses and riders, BCHBC members are also advocates for environmental stewardship, trail building and maintenance, and having fun. Both English and Western-style riders of all ages are welcome and they may ride any size or breed of horses, ponies or mules. The Vancouver Island Chapter meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month from September through June. They also host club sanctioned trail rides and other equine-related events.
For more information on the North Vancouver Island Chapter of BCHBC call Sharon Pickthorne at 250-337-181) or visit www.bchorsemen.org.
– North Vancouver Island Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of British Columbia