The Selkirk Saddle Club celebrated the opening of it’s new indoor riding arena under bright blue skies, t on Saturday.
“It was a big project. It was four years in the making,” said secretary Tanya Secord, who spearheaded the project for the club.. “It’s a huge, huge deal for the club.”
The area took four years to build from conception to finish. The club raised $70,000 through fundraising, received another $43,000 in grants from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Columbia Basin Trust, and took out a $40,000 loan to get it built.
The design was based on an arena in the Turtle Valley, near Chase, B.C., and the structure was engineered by Vanessa Morrow. It was built by Elevation Construction and Brackonstruction did the finishing. Other local businesses were also thanked for their help in the construction: Revelstoke Credit Union, K&W Trucking, H&J Ready Mix, Score Construction, Rona, Vic Van Isle, Kozek Saw Mill and Downie Timber.
So, what does this new arena mean for the saddle club?
“Continued year-round riding, programs for the kids, the therapy program, the horsemanship program,” said Secord. “Kids that want to compete in jumping and rodeos — they can train all winter and be ready for competition in the spring because they’re not behind.”
It also means club members have a safe space to keep their horses fit in the winter, and takes away the risk of walking their horses on ice. “It gets us off of the ice so the horses don’t fall,” said Secord. “It gets us out of the snow. It just makes it safe.”
The arena will help the club expand its children’s programs, and provides a year-round space for kids who want to enter into competitions – be it in jumping, rodeo, or dressage – a place to train in winter so they don’t fall behind. Secord said a few youth have shown an interest in competition.
“We’d like to see a Little Britches rodeo here,” she said. “If we can do that, we can get into some dressage shows or some small jumping events for the kids.”
The Selkirk Saddle Club currently has 35 adult members and 45 youth; youth membership has seen a 10-fold increase in numbers this year, said Secord.