After two months of a COVID-19 enforced shutdown, competition resumed at the Langley Riders Society (LRS) Brookswood outdoor riding facility at 4303 208th Street over the weekend.
LRS hosted a barrel race on Saturday, May 30, and the first Games Day of the season on Sunday, May 31.
Society vice president John Scotton told the Langley Advance Times the arena normally reopens early in April following a winter shutdown, but the pandemic prevented it.
“We’ve been shut down since COVID started,” Scotton related.
To reopen, LRS had to submit a detailed safety plan for approval by the Fraser Health authority and WorkSafe BC, Scotton described.
Some riders came from as far away as Merritt to take part in the barrel racing competition, believed to be the first held in B,.C, since the coronavirus crisis.
“They were so glad to be able to get out and ride,” Scotton observed.
There were limits on the number of participants and people in the stands, along with social distancing requirements that meant horse trailers to be parked well apart.
Restrictions have been imposed on the concession stand as well.
“We were very pleased the way people adapted to social distancing,” Scotton said.
On Saturday, the LRS arena will host the first jumping competition of 2020.
“It’s already sold out,” Scotton said.
Unfortunately, Scotton said, the LRS Little Britches Rodeo has had to be called off this year, for only the second time it has been cancelled in it’s 55 year history.
An open letter to past an present LRS members posted on the society website said the club is struggling financially as a result of the shutdown.
“The only income we have at present is from membership fees and we ask that you sign up not only for your chance to ride, but to keep the club afloat. We still have ongoing expenses of water, hydro, insurance as well as gas for mowers. Consider your membership as a donation as well as membership.”
In order to cut down on handling cash, members were being asked to use e-transfers instead.
“Remember the grass keeps growing, so we need your help in keeping the ground in reasonably good condition.”
Langley Riders Society launched in 1965 as a non-profit organization.
It relies on volunteers to provide an “opportunity for people of all ages to get together to share their mutual interest in horses,” the LRS mission statement says.
”We provide a fun, learning, practice environment in which both children and adults get together to participate in several multi-disciplinary riding events and shows.”