Rain or shine, Langley’s tbird is ready for all types of show jumping action

Thunderbird Show Park keeps upgrading to prepare for unpredictable West Coast weather.

by Ronda Payne/Langley Advance

Show jumping horses can adapt to a lot of situations.

They travel the world to compete, so these animals are accustomed to stepping into a travel crate in one type of climate and stepping out into another.

Being adaptable is one thing, but being able to compete at the highest levels in dramatically varying weather is another.

With the unpredictable weather of the Lower Mainland, the team at Thunderbird Show Park (tbird) is conscious of helping riders and horses have the tools they need to perform at their best.

One of the first things that contributes to horse and rider success in any weather is the variety of rings available at tbird, according to Jane Tidball, the show park’s president and tournament director.

“There’s all kinds of drainage in there,” she said of the grass rings that are used for large-scale events like the upcoming Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping of Canada on June 3.

Even in a downpour, the drainage under tbird’s grass rings is able to keep up.

That being said, Langley’s weather can be wet for days and that’s when other tools come into play.

“When it’s a rider jumping a metre-six, we want them to have a safe footing,” she noted. Safe footings is where the new German Geo Textile (GGT footing) surface rings excel. GGT rings are silica-based that creates a soft, springy footing that both horses and riders love.

“There’s never a drop of mud on a horse when they’re riding on silica,” said Tidball. “We have such beautiful, big silica rings we can move to.”

This soft footing is placed on top of a drainage system, so water drains out the bottom and keeps the footing in its light, fluffy state, she explained.

Dealing with weather is also part of a rider and competing team’s game plan, according to Chris Pack, tbird’s chief operating officer and tournament manager of the show park.

“They will make decisions based on weather conditions and course design.”

Of course, spring on the West Coast can also include heat, and horse-and-rider teams are prepared for that, as well.

“A lot of times, riders will walk up to the ring with a blanket on,” noted Tidball. “So, they wouldn’t do that in the heat. They’d use a sheet that allows for shade and comfort.”

She added that on really hot days, riders may be permitted to not wear their jackets during a round. Plus, there is a shade tent beside every riding ring and plenty of water for both horses and riders.

Weather is often a challenge during the spring in Langley. But at tbird, the team does its best to minimize weather in the equation to ensure horses and riders can perform at their best regardless of what Mother Nature delivers.

RELATED STORIES:

• tbird: 45 years of everything equestrian in Langley

• Langley’s tbird: A centre for equestrian riders of all ages and calibres

• Equestrian pursuits more affordable than expected – Langley expert

• Langley’s tbird is all about family

• Always something new at tbird in Langley

• Keeping horses safe and sound at tbird

• PHOTOS: Langley show jumping competition backdrop for food fundraiser

Just Posted

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Man sentenced for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

Langley’s Hong takes silver in Winter Games vault

The Langley athlete completed a tricky move in competition to clinch the podium.

Injured nurse back in the saddle after horse riding accident

Keya Milaire has been recovering from an accident that occurred on May 24.

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Most Read