Even the best of horses has issues with certain sounds or objects and a local horse group has the perfect solution. The Treasure Valley Whips Carriage Driving Club (TVWCDC) is hosting a playday Saturday, March 23 at Birt Arena in Nampa, Idaho.

“This event is not only a learning experience for horse and rider, it’s a lot of fun as well. We have a potluck and everyone is welcome to attend,” TVWCDC event organizer Jan McEnroe said.

The event started seven or eight years ago and was eventually opened up to the public. McEnroe has the background to help make the event a success. She is a student of natural horsemanship and has been a horsewoman all of her life. The playday is a coordinated effort that would not be possible without the help of club members.

This isn’t just any playday. The course is extensive and offers a major array of sounds and obstacles to test both horse and rider. Water courses, a construction site, an outdoor trail course with ravines, log jams and rock crossings will be just some of the challenges.

Some people may be hesitant to take a young or spooky horse through the course, but there are experienced volunteers on hand to help and so far, there has not been a bad incident.

A “camp” also will be set up with people and a llama to create a real life event for someone riding in the backcountry who might come to a camp setup. Horses are notoriously afraid of llamas, so this mock situation will be help desensitize the horse. A backpacker will also be there with a very tall backpack and hand a crumpled map to the horse and rider going through the course. In addition, the backpacker will have a horse treat to help create a rewarding experience for the horse.

Sounds can make anyone cringe, but horses can be especially sensitive. The course will include sounds used in mounted police horse testing. Sounds include: sirens, traffic, gunfire, dogs, whistles and trains.

How does it work?

First riders are encouraged to walk the course by themselves to see what their horse or horses will experience. Next, horses are usually walked through the course by halter. The horse is then put away for an hour or so to give them time to think about things. The next step is to ride through the course. The downtime is usually when the rider eats lunch and gets the opportunity to visit with others.

For more information

Registration is day of the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 23. People are encouraged to arrive a little early to register. Cost is $20 per horse for non-members and $10 for two horses for TVWCDC members. Please remember to bring a potluck item. NO dogs are allowed. Spectators, including children, are welcome. Call Jan at 466-0133 for more information. Address: Birt Arena, 7801 E Lewis Ln., Nampa, ID

**IGNORE THE PRIVATE ROAD/NO TRESSPASSING SIGN, it is not intended for people going to the arena**