With the introduction of a $5 membership fee this year, Equine Canada has launched a new series of recreational programs. Working with Horse Council British Columbia (HCBC), the first new program was to invite British Columbia recreational groups to apply for grants for projects that would benefit recreational and trail riders in the province. The response was outstanding and applications were received for over $100,000 in projects.

“It is fantastic that Equine Canada is finally in a position to support recreational programs,” said Equine Canada President, Mike Gallagher. “I want to thank Horse Council British Columbia for their commitment to getting this first major project off the ground.”

The following projects received a total of $26,000 in funding:

• The Sooke Saddle Club will create a Trail Riders’ Rest Area created in William Simmons Memorial Park, which forms the hub of a proposed network of multi-use trails for the Otter Point area of southern Vancouver Island.  The rest area will feature a hitching rail, a mounting block, a manure bin, picnic table, and signs to allow safe crossing of Otter Point Road.

• The Yarrow Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of British Columbia has undertaken the creation of a horse camp adjacent to the Manning Park Resort.  The grant will allow them to prepare the location for five horse camp sites in a fenced enclosure with access to the popular recreational trails in Manning Park. (This is a major project that will take several years to complete fully, but the ultimate goal is to have hitching rails, picnic tables, fire pits and corrals at the site.)

• The Okanagan Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of British Columbia has been given a grant to partially fund the purchase of corral panels that will triple the capacity for overnight camping at the site. 

• The Bouchie Lake Gymkhana Club will receive a grant that will supply a portion of the funds required to create a new warm up and dressage arena for the facility.

• The Endurance Riders Association of British Columbia has a ride camp on the Coutlee Plateau near Merritt and their grant will help with restoration and to bring a much-needed water line into the camp.  

• The Powell River Trail Riders Club applied for funding towards improving their indoor arena footing.

• North Vancouver Island Horse Association received a grant to help fund the installation of livestock pens at the Comox Valley Fairgrounds. 

• HCBC Industry Committee applied for funding to host a Jennifer Woods Horse Hauling course at the 2011 Equine Industry Conference in Kelowna.

• Slocan Valley Outriders Association applied for funding to replace wooden stalls at their facility with metal panel stalls.

• The Sointula Riding Club will purchase round pen panels and erect bleachers for their riding arena, the only community riding ring in the area.

“British Columbia is the first of our partnering provinces to launch this new national initiative.  We are delighted that we will soon be rolling out similar grants in the Yukon, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick, nourishing grassroots equestrianism from coast to coast to coast,” said Equine Canada CEO, Akaash Maharaj.