The Eagle Rock Chapter of Idaho’s Back Country Horsemen will host the annual state convention at the Shilo Inn and Convention Center in Idaho Falls next week.

The event will take place March 22 and 23.

The Back Country Horsemen of Idaho is a group dedicated to perpetuating the common-sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back-country wilderness. Members work to assure public lands remain open to recreational riding, said Eagle Rock chapter President Winnie Welker of Idaho Falls. Members also work to support and assist various government and private agencies in maintenance and management of resources.

“We might clear some trails or fix a bridge,” Welker said. “It’s a benefit for hikers and bikers as well as horseback riders. It gets us out enjoying this great country around here and lets riders learn new, beautiful trails.”

While the convention is for BCH representatives from around the state, there will be booths and demonstrations that offer horse-related tips, products and information for anyone involved in trail riding and horses in general. The displays are open to the public.

“There will be all sorts of booths that will interest horse people,” she said. “I think most every chapter around the state will have a booth with information on membership and opportunities.”

The Eagle Rock Chapter currently has about 40 members ranging from very young riders to senior citizens. The annual membership fee is $35 per person or $45 per family. The fees are used to help with trail improvement and also come with a quarterly BCH of Idaho newsletter.

“Most of our rides are on Saturdays and a few overnights into Sunday,” Welker said. “Some of us that are retired get together and ride during the week, too.”

Joining the chapter is a good way to connect with horse people and make friends, Welker said.

“We try to offer all types of horse-related education,” she said. “We’ll be having a veterinarian in to discuss preventative horse health measures. We’ve had people speak on pasture management, saddle fit, first aid, trailer loading, dog trail safety and equine dentistry.”

The rides themselves are for all ages and abilities.

“We go as fast as the slowest rider is comfortable,” she said. “People take turns being trail boss, organizing and leading the ride. We also have someone ride drag to make sure no one is left behind. We have potlucks and we have picnics on the trail. We try to stay active with informational offerings in the nonriding months. People still like to get together and plan the next season’s rides and talk about their horses. It’s all about horses, food and fun. What could be any better than that?”

Further information is available by contacting Welker at 208-569-5450 or going to the group’s Eagle Rock Back Country Facebook page.

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