Inside plastic and cardboard boxes are some of the ephemera the Valemount Saddle and Wagon Club has collected over the years.

Among the papers are newspaper clippings, old bills, membership lists and insurance papers since the cub formed in 1991.

Club members laid out all the papers at the Valemount Anglican-United Church recently to organize them and discard what is no longer useful.

Jean Osadchuk brought snapshots from home to organize in albums. The photos show Valemountain Days parades of days gone by, and one photo of her on a rearing horse named Lady, from 1948.
Osadchuk recalls what horses meant to her and other children growing up.

“They were our school, our work and our recreation,” she says. “We lived on those horses.”

From the age of 8 or 9, kids would be responsible for checking the cattle. Osadchuk recalls the freedom of movement children had because of horses.

But with the freedom came some dangerous situations. One time she was nearly swept away by a river when she tried to cross the Canoe River on her horse when she was about 10 years old. She held onto the horse by its ears. They were almost submerged – she could only see the horse’s snout protruding from the water like a periscope.

“That was so stupid,” she said. She says she doesn’t ride horses much anymore, but still loves to be around them.

The Saddle and Wagon Club is trying to attract new members to its ranks – whether or not they own a horse. They are putting on several workshops this spring to revitalize the club and keep it going

They have a natural horsemanship clinic on March 9th. There are no horses in this clinic, but participants will learn how to build a better relationship with their horse through understanding and communication.

Club board member Liz Norwell says they invite new members to join at any time or find out what it’s all about.

Laura Keil