Playday entry forms & diagrams are live an ready!
~PLEASE~ email any forms from 7/17/23 on to email@example.com
The ground shakes as hooves thunder past, wind on your face as you and your horse race towards the last turn, then the race is on for the timing line! Finally, you breathe as you cross the line, clocking in with a time of 17.18! With a smile as big as Alaska you tell ole’ Dobbin they did great and give them some pats, heading out of the arena. Not much can beat a great day spent with your horse and friends enjoying a playday!
So what is horse Gymkhana? Gymkhana literally means “Games on Horseback.” Horse and riders compete individually and are timed to see how fast they can run through a set pattern of poles, barrels or other obstacles, the fastest time is the winner. There are many different events included at a Gymkhana playday. Some competitors specialize in just a few races, while others compete in every race that they can. Usually riders compete on the same horse for each event, but some will have specialized horses for different events. Gymkhana actually started a long, long, loooong time ago. It is centuries older than the invention of cars and started as a way to show off ones skills in horsemanship. Even Genghis Khan was said to compete in such events that riders would race to pick up small flags from the ground as he rode his horse a full gallop. Native Americans would host races and games on horseback to show off their skills and bravery. One event they would dare to ride close enough to a charging buffalo to slap them on their side leaving a painted handprint!
Gymkhana playdays are open to every breed and size of horse along with divisions for lots of ages and all levels of ability. There are lead-line classes, walk and trot events, and even
professional barrel racing competitions. Something for everyone who would like to participate. It has long been proven that if a young rider is having fun, he or she will want to learn more. Gymkhana playdays have been able to provide a reason for the rider to improve on their skills and horsemanship and have tons of fun while doing it. There is a great feeling of comradeship at playdays, everyone is willing to help others and cheer for each one’s best efforts. All are encouraged to be good sports, play by the rules and play hard
and have fun!
Most of these competitions were usually held in the summer months where the events are held outside. In the lower 48 with more indoor arenas many organizations hold yearlong events where points are earned over the season and high point awards are awarded at the end of the year. Along with trophies, many year-ending championship saddles are awarded and even a horse trailer or two!
Fun and excitement is never found in short supply at a Gymkhana playday, whether competing in it or watching it. We are looking forward to our Louis Stockewell Memoria Playday this July 23, 2023, hope to see you there!