By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Independent
The Donalda Light Horse Association and the Donalda Ag. Society are gearing up to host the third edition of their annual Open Horse Show on Aug. 22nd and 23rd.
In an already challenging year, with the COVID-19 pandemic still rampant, the event is going to look a little different this year.
“We’ve taken a lot of precautions to keep everyone as safe as possible,” said Tara Muhlbach, one of the organizers of the event.
Precautions taken to keep the event as safe as possible included transitioning event registration to online in lieu of paper copies, and e-transfer is the preferred method of registration payment over cash or cheque.
On the days of the show there is going to be significant amounts of signage around the venue, directing the flow of traffic.
Some doors will be designated entrance only, and others will be designated as an exit.
In the arena, volunteers will be opening and closing the gates, and will have assigned stations for the duration of the event. A regular, and frequent, cleaning of the washroom facilities will occur as well.
Unfortunately, one of the fan favorite events will not be taking place during this year’s event.
The ‘egg and spoon’ race is a casualty of the pandemic, with organizers choosing to cancel the event to cut down the intermingling of competitors and the sharing of equipment.
Still, the event, which has grown over the last couple of years, looks to have its biggest showing to date, with around 100 riders registered for the event.
The first year for the show had around 32 riders, and last year there were around 45 riders.
“We’ve got people from as far north as Edmonton and from as far south as south of Calgary,” said Muhlbach.
“Most people will be from within 50-miles of town.”
With the growth of the first two years, organizers had already planned to make 2020 a two-day show, with the first day dedicated to English riding, and the second dedicated to Western riding.
A costumed event will be taking place on the evening of Aug. 22nd.
With a dozen-plus events going on each day, organizers are expecting the event to be two long days.
“We’re probably going to do the show for 12 hours each day.”
As long as the weather cooperates, the plan is to run the event at the outdoor riding arena in Donalda, allowing for everyone to have a bit more space around them, and also allowing for increased social distancing.
Arrangements have been made to bring a food truck on site for the duration on both days, which will be set up outside the indoor riding arena.