Spruce Meadows is the premiere equestrian sport venue in Canada and it is just 30 minutes from where I live. If you saw Ian Miller compete on Big Ben in the 80s and 90s on TV, it was probably at Spruce Meadows. When Amber told me I had the morning to myself during my first week off these summer holidays because she was taking the kids to Spruce Meadows, I offered to take the kids because I've wanted to visit there for a long time. She gladly took the time to herself.
I don't know who we are watching or what competitions are on, it is just really neat. The riders look super spiffy. From the vantage point of being just on the other side of the fence from the horse jumping, I can tell there is a great deal of athleticism involved in taking the horse around the course and jumping with them over the barriers. Of course the horse does most of the work...
The grounds at Spruce Meadows are beautiful. I do not feel like I belong since it looks like most of the people there probably own jumping horses (there are not a lot of people there, in fact the place is rather desolate) and likely have cars and vacation homes to reflect this kind of wealth. It is not my culture, but I like the well kept gardens and the elaborate jumping courses.
We visit three venues. My kids lose interest in the horse jumping pretty quickly as it doesn't really change from competitor to competitor except for the odd bar being knocked down. All of the announcers have British accents (like in soccer) and one of them butchers nearly every rider and horse name - so that is pretty fun. All the riders are from Canada, USA, and Mexico.
We grab an ice cream and walk around a little. My kids play on the playground while I snap pictures. Oh, and except for the ice cream, the whole thing is free of charge. I even ask where I am supposed to pay the advertised $5 and no one can tell me.
A lovely way to spend a quiet day.