Sookies celebrate nation’s birthday with equine rendezvous

Back Country Horsemen of B.C. hold Rendezvous in Merritt

Michelle James with her winnings from the Back Country Horsemen of B.C. Rendzvous, held in Merritt. (Contributed)

Michelle James with her winnings from the Back Country Horsemen of B.C. Rendzvous, held in Merritt. (Contributed)

A few members from Sooke belonging to South Vancouver Island Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of B.C. celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday recently at a rendezvous in Merritt.

BCHBC is a provincewide not-for-profit society established in 1991. There are more than 900 members and 23 regional chapters. The South Vancouver Island Chapter has 67 members.

The organization focuses on safety of horses and riders, environmental stewardship, trail building and maintenance.

Working with recreational groups, government agencies and the general public to promote awareness and understanding for a cooperative wilderness experience is also a priority of BCHBC.

This year at Rendezvous each chapter was asked to create a Chapter Basket promoting their area. These baskets were auctioned with proceeds going to the society.

Sooke was well represented with items donated by Sheringham Distillery Seaside Gin, Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery, Saltwest Naturals, Stick in the Mud Coffee House, and E-Fish-Ent Fish Company.

There were 150 horses and approximately 200 people attending this year’s Rendezvous. The weekend included trail riding, clinicians, horsemanship competitions, equine first aid courses, packing clinics, horse archery, and cowboy poetry.

The activity that highlighted Sooke products was the Dutch Oven Cooking competition. As a south Island BCHBC member and Sooke resident Michelle James entered the competition with a chocolate pecan coconut bar dessert.

Wanting to use products made in Sooke and promote local businesses, James used local ingredients including Tugwell Creek Honey and Saltwest Natural Salted Caramel Chocolate. She placed first in the competition.