The Pleasant Valley Horse Club held a Poker Ride on Sunday, Sept. 27, at Robin Creek Dairy, at a farm owned by Lindsay and Janik Heer, near round lake.
The club has been trying to get back outdoors and enjoy the weather and the animals but with Covid, like most other places and businesses, their plans for the year have changed drastically. The club had to cancel several of its pre-planned events for the year however, the club restarted their gymkhanas on July 18. They also decided to host a poker run, albeit with lower numbers and almost no advertising in order to restrict the numbers.
Brittany Ewald, one of the members of the club as well as organizers of the poker ride explained that in a poker ride, riders ride their horses along a trail marked by ribbons and every so often they will come upon a check point. At these check points there is a volunteer waiting for the riders, from whom they have to draw a card. That card is then added to the rider’s poker hand that they have to carry with them the entire time. There is a small fee initially where riders pay at the beginning of the ride and when they return back after two to seven hours in the saddle depending on the trail, all the poker hands are tallied up to determine the top three hands.
“We had a great attendance of about 35 horses and riders for the rainy Sunday that we held this event. We had three very lucky riders who received a full payout percentage of what we raised on this day: First place winner was Tori Long who received 50 per cent of proceeds, second place winner was Vanessa Fraser who received 30 per cent of the proceeds and finally Melissa Vandenbaaren won third place and received the remaining 20 per cent of the money we raised at this event,” said Brittany Ewald in an email to Houston Today.
For all of those who did not win, their poker hands were then thrown into a bucket to be drawn for door prizes, which are donated by local businesses in the community.
This year however looked different due to the Covid restrictions and measures. The club decided that any participant showing symptoms of Covid-19 would be asked to leave. Riders had to pre-sign up, saying they will be attending to book their spot. There were hand sanitizers and masks available and everyone was urged to stay six feet apart. This year the club also didn’t host a pot luck but instead, they had a BBQ with a dedicated cook and cook’s helper who were the only ones allowed to handle the food.
“The highest change we had this year was the saddest — we had to limit our event to 50 people as per COVID-19 rules. These poker rides are usually very large, social, laid back occasions. It is sad to have to turn people away, but at least we are still allowed to have a small poker ride,” said Ewald adding that all the riders and volunteers were extremely respectful of the new Covid-19 rules making the event possible.