A horse relay drill team will embark on 24 hours of riding in a fundraiser for the STARS air ambulance service.
It's the second annual "Saddle Up For STARS" event for the Canadian Northern Lights Drill Team, and it's set for the Keystone Centre this weekend.
Designed to raise awareness and money for Manitoba’s air ambulance service, the event will feature drill team members in the saddle of a moving horse (or sleeping in the stalls) for a full 24 hour period. It starts Friday, May 9, at the show ring in the Westoba Credit Union Agricultural Centre of Excellence.
"As members of the equestrian community, we’ve all been out on the trail and wondered how we would get help if something happened out there," said Judi Watt, the drill team's founder. "Having STARS available can make a big difference to someone who is critically ill or injured in a remote location."
A highlight of the event will be a team trail challenge on Saturday from 2–5 p.m., which will pit teams of riders against each other in a timed obstacle race that includes elements for reining, barrel racing and jumping.
To encourage participation, the obstacle course will be friendly to all levels of horse and rider. Guest riders will include Virden mayor Jeff McConnell, the STARS mascot ‘Starbear’, an equine veterinarian, a registered nurse, STARS staff and members of local 4H clubs.
"We’re looking forward to a fun event that challenges horses and riders, but overall is just a great way to get out and support a worthy cause," Watt said. "With horses you never know what can happen. They definitely have their way of providing entertainment just by being horses."
Riders who want to participate in the team trail challenge are encouraged to contact organizers ahead of time, but they can also register on-site at noon on Saturday. A minimum donation of $20 to STARS is required, and pledge forms are available.
The STARS Mobile Education Unit will also be on site for the public to visit from 12:30 p.m. on. The public is also welcome to attend, with admission being a donation to STARS.