If you have never been to a Warrior Horse Relay, you don’t know what you are missing. And for those in Lethbridge, you will get your chance to get up close to them September 23 to 25.
A warrior horse relay is an exciting horse and rider team event that takes place on a racetrack. Competitors race against each other on horseback to determine which team can complete the required number of laps on the track the fastest. After the completion of a lap, the players have to run and jump onto a different horse’s back prior to starting the next lap. This weekend’s tournament is expected to be the largest Relay Race in Alberta. Calvin Plain Eagle is the owner of the Blackfoot team Anatapsii, which translated into english means cute. He says tradition plays an important role in what is one of North America’s oldest sports.
Horse racing is an agriculturally based industry, touching communities in Alberta through a diverse range of businesses. In 2019, the economic benefit of horse racing in Alberta was $312 million, representing an increase of seven percent since 2015. This is according to an economic impact study conducted by Serecon Inc., the Economic Impacts of Horse Breeding, Raising, and Racing in Alberta (2019). CEO of the Rocky Mountain Turf Club Max Gibb, says that hosting horse racing events like the one this weekend, is vital to keeping the sport alive in Alberta.
According to the trainers, many of the athletes competing this weekend started off as troubled youth with a history of crime and mischief. Since they started training, they have not only turned their lives around, but stayed clean and sober for the past two years.