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Local teens behind reins of buckle series horse show

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Two local teens have organized a four-weekend buckle series horse show, which saw more than two dozen riders competing for points Saturday near Owen Sound.

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Emma Hassard, 15, and Maddy Wilson, 18, secured sponsorships, found vendors, signed up riders and staged seven competitions for the inaugural Boots & Spurs Classic Buckle Series, presented by Glendale Farms.

The duo is also competing in the event.

“There’s not a whole lot local to us that you can actually win a buckle at. There’s some club shows that are not too far away, but you can’t win a buckle – you just win a ribbon. So we wanted to do something bigger in the area,” Hassard said in an interview during a break in Saturday’s show.

The pair said Boots & Spurs is likely the smallest buckle series competition in the province, but they’re still happy with the turnout for a first-year event.

While most of the riders were local, spectators came from across Grey-Bruce, they said.

“We’d like some more competitors, like horses, but I think it’s gone really well so far,” Wilson said.

Before the start of the series, Hassard and Wilson said they spent a few weeks driving around the area to find sponsors. Hassard is still too young to get her driver’s licence, so Wilson did the driving.

Now, Hassard said sponsors are starting to approach them.

They said they’d like to hold another buckle series competition in 2022.

“That’s the goal, but it has to turn out well in the end this year,” Hassard said.

The first Boots & Spurs event took place July 30 and 31. There are also events Sept. 24 and 25 and Oct. 1 and 3, all at Glendale Farms in Benallen near Owen Sound.

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Saturday’s event featured an open ride at 7 a.m., followed by competitive events at 9 a.m.

Riders took part in peewee barrels, open barrels, youth barrels, flag, jump race, open poles and tarp race events.

Hassard said competitors ranged in age from about nine to 60.

Riders must attend at least three of the four shows to qualify for the series awards. The competitors with the highest points for open barrels, open poles and youth barrels win championship buckles.

The horse show also served as a fundraiser for Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce, which received the revenue from a dunk tank at the event.

Jackie Ralph, the local CMHA’s youth awareness and education supervisor, said the event also gave the organization a chance to hand out information about Kids Help Phone and CMHA programs and services before children head back to school.

“Events like this are a perfect opportunity to get resource information into the hands of residents of Grey-Bruce. It’s always ideal when all residents have equal access to information about a wide range of programs and services, before they need them. The Boots and Spurs event had it all – children, youth, parents, grandparents, business owners. And, if we get to also raise a little bit of money for our non-government-funded programs, that’s equally incredible,” Ralph said.

More information on the Boots & Spurs Classic Buckle Series is available on the event’s Facebook page.

Emma Hassard competes in the barrel event during Saturday’s Boots & Spurs Classic Buckle Series horse show near Owen Sound. DENIS LANGLOIS
Emma Hassard competes in the barrel event during Saturday’s Boots & Spurs Classic Buckle Series horse show near Owen Sound. DENIS LANGLOIS

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