© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Blair Norris, 18, of Hanley, Sask. competes in pole bending at the Saskatchewan Riding Clubs Association (SRCA) provincial finals on Sept, 29, 2013 at the Golden Mile Arena at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds.
For 18-year-old Blair Norris of Hanley, Sask., the Saskatchewan Riding Clubs Association (SRCA) provincial finals is about more than winning a title.
“I haven’t placed, but that’s OK with me. I just like competing,” she said on Sunday morning. “I love being with my horse and riding. Barrel racing is my favourite and I like … meeting new people.”
From Friday through Sunday, the 47th annual SRCA finals took place at the Golden Mile Arena at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds.
Norris, who has been with the SRCA for five years, likes how much preparation and training goes into barrel racing to get the “perfect pattern.”
In the Junior A age group, Norris competed in barrel racing, pole bending and quad on Sunday with her 14-year-old quarter horse Cheyenne. On Saturday she competed in all three western division classes and reigning categories with her other horse, Buster.
“We’ve been trying to get to as much as we can,” said Norris. “This is the first time I’ve been able to ride (Cheyenne) in about two months so I’m excited. We had some teeth issues before, but now we’re all good to go.”
When horses don’t “wear their teeth down properly,” she said the teeth can get sharp edges. On the left side of Cheyenne’s mouth all of her teeth had sharp edges and cut her cheeks open.
“I didn’t want to ride her until I got it fixed,” said Norris. “She’s my pride and joy.”
She has been riding horses for six years and has had Cheyenne since June 26, 2011. For the last four years, Norris has competed in finals. She tries to ride her horse all year round as much as possible.
Norris added she’s going to keep competing “for as long as I can.”
SRCA president Brian Bates said the finals this year were “really good.”
“We’ve been running very smoothly,” he said. “We’ve been staying on time. We’ve got lots of competitors that have had lots of success.”
With 167 horses and 140 competitors, the SRCA has its “biggest membership in years,” he said. Including riding members and non-riding members, the SRCA has 500 members.
This year there are three new clubs. One is from Humboldt, another is from the Martensville, Dalmeny and Warman area and the other is a club from Alameda.
The SRCA has a total of 11 clubs. He added there are three “potential new clubs” that have expressed interest from Medicine Hat, North Battleford and Moose Jaw.
Out of the seven age categories, the rider with the highest points from each category could win a trophy saddle in a draw. There was also $15,000 in prizes.
“As far as I understand it we are the longest running family-focused equine association in the province,” said Bates. “Our logo is ‘Making horseback riding fun.’”
Eleven-year-old Dawson Griffith of Stockholm, Sask. said he had fun at the competition. He competed in events such as barrel racing in the Junior C category. He is from the Twin Valley Riding Club.
“I like the speed (of barrel racing),” he said. “(I’ve been doing) pretty good.”
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.