13 November 2010
Canadian Winter Horse Racing Festival
British Columbia, after pulling off the Winter Olympics in grand style, is in need of an annual Winter Festival. In 2010 we screamed, "Look at us!" People looked and they liked. Now the world needs a reason to come visit our province every winter.
I propose a winter horse race meeting to be held over three weekends, just as our Winter Olympics were. Thoroughbreds and standardbreds would both race on a flat frozen lake. Perhaps some quarter horses and Arabians would join in too. It would be good if there was a little ski-joring racing as well.
There would be entertainment of all kinds and as many other Winter Festival activities as possible but the horse racing would be the centrepiece of the event. There is nothing more beautiful or exciting than horses racing on ice.
The province would have to back the Festival initially. The bigger the purses, the better quality of horses would be attracted. Television would broadcast the races, which would look splendid on the box. In time the event might just compete with St. Moritz's winter race meeting, held for over 100 years, in terms of both prestige and spectatorship.
All we need to do is talk to our local horsemen, and perhaps some from further afield, about their willingness to race their horses in mid-winter, choose a location and start organizing the thing. The Olympics were fine but we need some first class follow up, something that would attract people from all over the world and give us some good winter fun in the process.