|Iron Bits Drillers ride|
|Local Content - Local Sports|
|Written by Stan Ashbee|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2013 18:49|
Old Western movies from the past depict fictional cowboys mounted on valiant steeds while in formation side-by-side awaiting an ambush or preparing to ride off in to the sunset. One is reminded of a young John Wayne or Clint Eastwood on horseback or better yet an authentic Wild West Calamity Jane or Annie Oakley. When Canadians think of a mounted horseback drill team, more often than not, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police come to mind dressed in historical regalia reds. In Taber, it’s the newly formed Iron Bits Drillers equestrian drill team, about to leave their hoof prints on the dusty trails of southern Alberta and across the not-so-Wild West. The drill team provides youth in Taber a unique opportunity to have fun while working as a team in co-ordinating and performing routines on horseback, as well as building confidence and improving individual riding skills.
“We have a team of 10 girls and we’ll be doing a Grand Entry for the Taber Pro Rodeo in July,” said Jen Christensen, one of the leaders of the drill team. Christensen added the drill team consists of local girls aged 12-18 and the team was chosen from try outs this past November with the team utilizing the Agri-Plex facilities for practices.
“The girls all love horses and they love to ride and learn patterns. We try to meet twice a month and play games and do some practising,” she added, as practices include horse warm-ups, learning patterns and games.
According to Christensen, six out of the 10 girls are 4-H kids and two of the girls are her daughters. “I have two girls in it. I like that the kids get to hang out with girls they wouldn’t normally hang out with on a regular basis. It’s a nice time relaxing. Overall, I think in the long run, it’s great for the girls,” said Christensen.
Most of the girls in the group are from local acreages or farms and Christensen said her family lives in town but they board horses at the Agri-Plex and her parents have an acreage so the family have horses out there, as well.
The group runs off of donations and new girls are always welcome to check out practices held in town at the Taber Agri-Plex.
“We’re our own group, our own club. We are just in the process of ordering matching gear for all the kids and we’re going to start advertising and try to get out there this summer and tour a few rodeos and parades,” said Christensen. Other leaders of the Iron Bits Drillers include Megan Torrie, Corey Hoskins, Brenda Langkopf and Trisha Coutts. Next practices are Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.