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Intermountain Horse Association

IHA Poker RideThe new year is underway and if you are not a member yet, the Intermountain Horse Association (IHA) is a vital group for local equine folks that you should consider becoming a part of.

With a solid history and strong base of local horse people, the IHA traces its origin to the Rocky Mountain Riders (RMR), which was an active trail riding group of the 1980’s.  At a point in time when no one could be found to fill a vacant presidency, the RMR died out and some of the members joined the Jefferson County Horse Council (JCHC) based in Golden.  Recognizing the need to have a group in our immediate area, those members formed a branch of the JCHC, called the Intermountain Horse Council (IHC).  IHC was successful for many years with a similar format as today’s IHA.  IHA was formed officially in January of 2009 when the group had to become separate from JCHC when they began contributing to charitable causes.

Today’s IHA serves the Evergreen-Conifer corridor and has the 501 (c)(7) classification of a Social and Recreational Club.  The group meets every third Tuesday in the meeting room at Beau Jo’s Restaurant in Evergreen at 6:30pm for social and educational purposes.  The business of the IHA is conducted separately by an open membership steering committee.  In addition to the monthly meetings, the group puts together interactive horse events like the Poker Ride and various horse clinics as well as social events for their human counterparts such as the Summer Picnic and Winter Party.

Examples of meeting topics include speakers on government and legal issues, horsemanship, medical information, and fire preparedness.  The schedule for the first part of 2013 is as follows:

January 15th:  Jennifer Benda- 2013 Tax Increases: Are you one of the (un)lucky ones?

March 19th:  Holly Ulyate – Competitive Trail Riding Experiences

April 16th:  Eryn Wolfwalker – Problem Feet

May 21st:  Bruce McReynolds – Horse Packing

The IHA Poker Ride is an annual fundraiser in September benefitting local charities such as the Special Needs Therapeutic Riding Program of the Evergreen Recreation District as well as other horse organizations like HEAT (Horse Evacuation and Assistance Team) and Harmony Horse Works (local horse rescue).  One of the most important goals of the Poker Ride though is to promote riding in our community.

Of the 45-55 riders that attend the annual Poker Ride, most of them are not a part of IHA, have not been to Alderfer Three Sisters and some even travel for 2-3 hours to participate.  Participants also help to act as horse and rider ambassadors to other park users.  Hikers and bikers enjoy seeing the horses, riders, costumes and rigs that come to the ride.

Poker Ride participants find a self-paced, social and low-key environment with a diverse skill sampling of riders and horses.  Last year, my 9 year old rode his mare and I walked with our yearling filly.

Members of IHA come from a variety of backgrounds including endurance riding, Dressage, trail riding, ranch sorting, Arapahoe Hunt Club members, reining, horse training and breeding, HEAT members, horse rescue facilitator, veterinarians and ropers.  All are welcome to join.  Membership is from January 1 to December 31.  A family membership is $25 or individuals for $20.  The first portion of your entry fee for the Poker Ride this year will pay your membership fee.  As mentioned above, IHA meets at Beau Jo’s in Evergreen at 6:30pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.  For more information go to intermountainhorse.com.

Copyright © 2013 Heather McWilliams MtnHomes4Horses.com.

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