Rusty Spurs carry on inspiration of award-winning founder Woods

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As the distinctive club jacket indicates

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Big Valley Rusty Spurs 4-H Horse Club

The sure signs of fall have arrived — school buses are on the roads again, the harvest is near completion and a new 4-H year is about to start.

The Big Valley Rusty Spurs 4-H Horse Club celebrated eight years as a club with an awards night Sept. 9. The evening began with gymkhana games and finished with a wiener roast and presentations. The summer-like weather co-operated beautifully for both events.

The Rusty Spurs 4-H Club was founded by the late Shirley Woods of Big Valley. Woods was recognized this past January with the East Central Region 4-H Award of Distinction. The award recognized, among other things, Woods’ 21 years of volunteer service in 4-H and her outstanding efforts with the 4-H members she mentored over the years.

Woods’ instinctive ability with both kids and horses were big factors leading to the success of the Rusty Spurs club.

The club has been able to offer its members a variety of horse-related projects over the years. One of the most popular projects has been the horsemanship project, which instructs the members in general horsemanship skills, progressing from beginner to advanced.

The club has also been able to instruct or facilitate the completion of additional projects, such as jumping, dressage, driving and young horse projects.

We are looking forward this coming year to having instruction available for those members wishing to complete a rodeo project, as well.

Rusty Spur’s members have also enjoyed many different clinics and workshops over the years. These have ranged from barrel racing to polo cross, and from horsemanship to veterinary information.

The members have participated in trail rides, polo cross games, Calgary 4-H Stampede Rodeo, provincial 4-H horse shows, 4-H rodeos, the Mane Event, winter and summer camps and the provincial Horse Classic competition.

There is something to do all year round. A Halloween dress-up party (horse costumes included) is on the agenda for this year, with plans being made for a four-day horse camp.

And we can’t forget every 4-H member’s favourite activities of the year — public speaking and highway clean-up.

Club members from the Rusty Spurs have accomplished many things over the past eight years. Aside from winning events at the district and regional horse shows, rodeos and public speaking competitions, here are some of the members’ achievements:

Two of the club members completed the Young Horse Incentive Program. This is a two-year program requiring the member to train a weanling or yearling for two years, with set goals to achieve during training. It requires a financial investment from the member at the beginning of the program, but the member receives money back if they complete the two years with points gained for each goal accomplished with their young horse.

The Rusty Spurs also had a member selected as an Alberta delegate to the Western National 4-H Horse Classic in Denver, Col., in January 2011 — quite an achievement.

This year, one of the Rusty Spurs members was selected to be the 4-H Key Member for the East Central Region.

As those achievements indicate, 4-H holds lots of opportunities for the members in general and the Rusty Spurs are looking forward to a new year with fresh ideas for fun and growth — both personally and with their horse projects.

The club’s first regular meeting for the year was scheduled for Monday night at the Erskine School. New 4-H members are always welcome.

For more information, phone 403-876-2080.

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