Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Horse Jumping and Road Trip to Alberta

Thunderbird Show Park - North Langley, BC
Jeanette and I have always enjoyed horses and the horse community. We are ex pats from the neighbouring province of Alberta.....and for well over 30 years now.  Jeanette grew up on a farm. We heard about the show jumping competitions being held at Thunderbird Show Park so we headed there this past weekend.
The grounds crew was busy getting ready for the late afternoon competitions.
 Meanwhile, there were many equestrians busy with warming up for the main jumping competition in the other four or five practice areas.
If I was to guess, I would say there were easily over 200 horses at this event.
Combine that with the horse handlers, owners, riders, little kids and big kids, the lookie loo fans like us, and the area was bustling with activities.
These pre-competitions were just as interesting to watch.
Fine looking riders and horses.
This is not a sport for the budget conscious.  Just for fun, Jeanette and I priced out the show jumping outfits found in many of the on site kiosks.  Custom made riding boots (made from kid leather) were going for $1,500/ pair.  Most riders have two or more pairs of riding boots.  Show jumping outfits range in price from $400 on up to the $1,000's+.  Add helmets, socks, sports riding jackets and one is easily into several thousands of dollars.....and all of that is before you even buy a horse, stable it, saddle it, groom it, feed it, train it, purchase or rent the training facilities, haul it to numerous events (purchase a truck and trailer), and also haul your trailer, 5th wheel, Class C or Class A motorhome. We counted well over 100 RV's at this event too.
This team was washing down and grooming their ride prior to the big event.
I was surprised that we were allowed to walk everywhere on the grounds. And what a treat that is.  I think it encourages fans like us to get a better feel for the demands of this sport. There are many barns and all with horses and attendants. We could walk into all barns without reservations.  It's a great place to see the horses at rest and it is a bee hive of activity too.  We witnessed a lot of grooming, polishing of boots, and careful attention to detail.
Waiting their turn in the practice areas.
We had great seats and settled in for the main event.  This is the only turf field. 
 The top 12 leaders in the first event would compete in the second and final event for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes of money and ribbons.Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park | One of North America's Premier Equestrian Facilities

For the uninitiated,  anyone who is familiar with the Canadian brand KEG Restaurants will be surprised to know that the founder of that restaurant chain is the owner of the Thunderbird Show Park.  This park is really well maintained and it does host first class competitions.
We were led to believe that this facility was only recently granted a liquor license.  If true, what a treat it was to enjoy a cold beer in the shade on a hot day.  What a fun event to attend.  We really enjoyed it.
Preparing for our departure tomorrow (Thursday) for Edmonton, Alberta.
Readying the trailer for my horse - the iron horse, that is.
Although I prefer to get up early, load my motorcycle and ride the 12 hours to Edmonton, Alberta, we have so many events to attend to in the coming days and my co-rider needs more clothing than we can possibly take with the bike.  So.....the next best thing is to load it up...and drag it along too.
Solidly tethered.....and ready to roll.
 While Jeanette attends to some important family stuff, I too will attend to important family stuff and ride off to St. Paul, Alberta, to visit with my brother and sister (and their spouses) who live there too. 

Our two children and their partners live in Edmonton so we'll take advantage and crash in at their respective houses while there.  We will also be attending an 88th birthday party for Jeanette's dad. 
Well strapped down and locked into the wheel chalk.  It will stay nice and clean through the mountains.
So, the next blog will be coming to you from the Province of Alberta where John & Brenda's Incredible Journey blog from.  We'll be in central Alberta - in and around the Edmonton city  area - and they reside in southern Alberta - south  of the city of Calgary.  Speaking of John, I got an email from him today with some good information on the Tracfone cell phone available to us Canadian snowbirds who venture to the US south in the winter months. Thanks for that John.

That's about if for here.  Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Have a safe journey to Alberta!..and be sure to say hello to fellow bloggers, JB and Brenda!!!
    Good for least she can bring more than one pair of shoes!!!

  2. Thanks Rene'. Actually we are just a little northwest of Calgary here at Dogpound North.

  3. Have a wonderful trip to Alberta and give JB a wave for me as you pass by!

    Nice story about the horse jumping and that venue. Sounds a bit rich for my blood even if I could actually ride a horse!

  4. Hey JB, as to where you live, I cleary knew better cause in your blog, you so often refer to trips taken to Red Deer, Nordegg, Rocky Mountain House and Sylvan Lake country. I must have been in a hurry and failed to spot it before I posted.

    FYI: Jeanette and I have traveled through your foothills country side by car, RV and motorcycle...and our kids love top go camping and quading in the Nordegg area.

  5. Hello, I just wanted to thank you for posting such fantastic pictures of TBird, I am so glad that you enjoyed the show and we hope you visit again soon!

    Chris Pack,

    Thunderbird Show Park