If you are looking for something competitive and fun to do with your horse or pony in the company of other horse/pony owners, then Gymkhana is for you! Gymkhana consists of timed games and racing patterns completed on horseback. Each event is designed to showcase the rider-horse connection. All levels are represented from a lead-line class for younger children to an exciting pro-level class looking to shave mere seconds off the best times.
The California Gymkhana Association (District 6 in Livermore) is well into its 2013 season with shows remaining on April 6th, May 4th, July 13th, August 10th, September 14th, October 12th, November 2nd, and December 7th. Signups can be done the day of the race beginning at 8:00 a.m. with riding starting at 9 a.m.
There are rotating A and B shows including events such as speed barrels, keyhole, hurry scurry, and speed ball. Riders can participate in selected events or all the events. Overall the competition is relaxed and friendly with enthusiastic members willing to offer help whenever needed. In fact, it is an all-day picnic-like experience outdoors next to the covered arena with an open parking area for horse trailer “camps.”
Directly across the street is a public park with a play area and a grassy field, and on the day I attended, several families wandered over to see the horses/ponies, whose riders were more than happy to show them off.
The events are over around 3 or 4 p.m. at which time riders are given a print-out summarizing their times for that day. They are also awarded a ribbon on which to put their placement pins if they place 1st through 4th in events.