By Monica Marcu

Riders of all ages were enjoying a glorious autumn day, meandering gently through rustic paths. Picture a blue sky, mountains on the background, crowned with the first snow, trees that bow dreamily overhead, and leaves – golden leaves falling as they’re falling in love with the horses. Poetry in motion. We watch them in awe as they enjoy the woods and care for each other, we feel the special bond between horse and human, and know that they wouldn’t be anywhere else right now.

The Robson Valley Back Country Horsemen of BC hosted their 5th annual poker ride last Saturday. The 7-8 km ride had a designated trail with entry and exit points and stations along the way where the participants secured the cards for the poker hand. Sixty six registered riders, some coming from as far as Clearwater, Prince George and Jasper, supported by joyful volunteers and organizers gathered in McBride for this annual social event. Even some organic carrots were present!

The Chair of the Robson Valley Chapter, Brian Wallace, says this is one of the 22 Chapters throughout the Province. The BC wide society includes about 900 members. Our local chapter includes the nearby communities of McBride, Dunster, Valemount, Tete Jaune, Crescent Spur and Dome Creek. Its main focus is safety for horses and riders, and above all, environmental stewardship. The Robson Valley Chapter was founded by a group of passionate riders and has grown to about 40 members. They not only have fun riding but also work to improve both the front and back country areas of the Robson Valley.

The funds from registration are used to improve trail access, mapping of existing trails, building new ones for riders, hikers and bikers, maintaining (clearing and brushing) and preserving existing trails. But half of the funds resulting from the 20$ fee (which includes a tasty meal prepared by kind volunteers) will be used for the next year awards. Yes, the poker ride has winners: all children win! And, of course, the rider with the best cards by the end wins, like in any poker game. First place went to Amber Whelpton she won a beautiful wool saddle pad. Second prize was a hand made Reg Marek breast collar won by Richard Christianson and 3rd prize was a headstall and reins won by Michelle Rejman. Worst hand was won by Claire Hendriks. Her prize was a box of toilet paper and plunger.