Parents left Rainy Creek Ranch’s annual Family Spring Junior Rodeo Clinic with an enhanced understanding of rodeo safety Saturday.
And with rodeo season looming, Rainy Creek Ranch owner Sandra McLeod hopes the clinic will have a positive effect.
“We’re finding a lot of kids are going into some of the local rodeos and they’re not prepared, and some are getting hurt,” she said. “We thought we best educate parents and kids before they all head out this year.”
With Rainy Creek’s young riders acting as demonstrators, safety tips and techniques were showcased during the three-hour event held at Rainy Creek Ranch on the north side of Sylvan Lake.
But it was much more than just a rodeo clinic.
Proceeds from food sales went to ‘Hugs for Kee in support of a Rainy Creek rider’s sibling currently battling cancer.
There was also a petting zoo, and an ad-hoc pet adoption centre that saw a number of Sylvan Lake Serenity Pet Shelter Society’s animals adopted throughout the course of the day.
All of these activities form just a small section of what makes the ranch such a busy place.
It also hosts children’s rodeo training, Western riding lessons and a special needs therapeutic riding program.
Occasionally, guest instructors are brought in to share their expertise.
Most lessons, however, are led by McLeod — a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Level 2 coach who owns and runs the ranch with husband Bill.
Upwards of 40 children are registered in its programs, and attend from Sylvan Lake, Eckville, Rocky Mountain House, Blackfalds, Ponoka and Stettler.
McLeod said the rodeo clinic will be held again next year.
“Our basic goal for this is to keep the kids safe,” she said. “(Some parents) are not very well educated on the equipment that the kids need, and some kids are getting hurt, and so it’s a really inexpensive way to get that education.”
The ranch offers programs for children as young as three years old.
More information is available online at www.rainycreekranch.com.