Beban Park is going to the horses this weekend during the inaugural Island Equine Affair.
The event, organized by the Hope for Horses Society, takes place Saturday and Sunday (June 11-12) and is a weekend of horse-themed education, awareness and entertainment.
Lois Shaw, event coordinator, said the event is for anyone with an interest in horses.
Both days are packed with demonstrations, presentations and workshops on a wide variety of disciplines, training techniques and horse care, including horse behaviour and psychology, stretching exercises, designing a jumping course, safe trailer loading, driving tips, hoof care and herbs for horses.
Information about lessons and camps – and Nanaimo school district’s new horsemanship course – will also be available.
“It’s as much education as we can cram in,” said Shaw. “There’s a little bit for everybody. We’re very fortunate to have some very talented people in our area.”
Professionals will demonstrate a range of different disciplines, including show jumping, dressage and racing.
On Saturday starting at 5:30 p.m., people are treated to a showcase of B.C. equine talent during Extravaganza. On Sunday, children and families will have a chance to interact with ponies and take a spin on the Fun Swing.
A full schedule is available at www.islandequineaffair.ca.
Shaw said the society plans to make the Island Equine Affair an annual event.
“We’re trying to make this the horse fair of the Island,” she said.
And because it is a charity event – proceeds of the event will aid horses in distress – professionals have donated their time, added Shaw.
Hope for Horses, which was registered as a society in April, was formed by a group of mostly Island-based professional and amateur people in the industry who want to help look after horses in need or distress, said Shaw.
Money raised will go toward veterinarian and feed bills and other expenses for horses in need around B.C.
Shaw said horses are expensive to maintain and sometimes unexpected circumstances put people in desperate situations.
“We just all stepped in to help,” she said.
The horse fair will provide owners with a range of information to help them properly care for their animals, which will help ensure horses stay healthy, Shaw added.
“Nowadays people don’t grow up on a farm and have that basic knowledge of caring for animals,” she said.
Tickets are $15/day or $20/weekend pass. Kids 12 and under are free.
For more information, please go to www.islandequineaffair.ca.