Relay Riding Camp 

By Tyrone Sitting Eagle 

Indian Relay is a sport of adrenaline and excitement that involves multiple teams of four and three different horses. The team consists of a jockey who rides the horse and jumps on and off each horse, and three members who play a vital role in making sure the horses are in the proper position for the jockey to jump on. It has been seen before that if not done correctly, injuries can occur, making for an exciting event. Once the race begins, the jockey jumps on the horse, where they take off to complete a lap around a horse track. Once completed, the jockey will then perform what is called an “exchange,” where the jockey will jump off the current moving horse and then jump on the next horse the other team members have ready. This is a very dynamic and exciting sport, as exchanges can be very intense. 

On March 11th, the Siksika Prevention Early Intervention hosted a Relay Riding Camp for Youth at the Siksika Agri Centre. Throughout the day, youth who participated in the camp were given a chance to ride, tend, and race with the horses that were brought in. Champion Relay Rider Chazz Racine, along with some of the Siksika Relay Racing teams, Brooker Pretty Young Man Cody Big Tobacco, Allison Red Crow, Ian Bigtobacco, Mark Bigtobacco, Tyler Leather, and Elder Rufus Pretty Young Man were there to facilitate the camp. The purpose of this camp was to get the youth into physical activity, the horse culture that is on the reserve, and the sport of Indian Relay. 

Well-trained horses and Shetland ponies were brought in, where youth were able to ride and even have a practice relay race to get a feel for what it is like to be in one. Here, everyone was shown the basics of riding and the sport of Relay Racing. They rode the small shetlands and even had exchanges. There were also demonstrations that included warrior racing, chief racing, and the main relay race. Chazz Racine spoke encouraging words to the youth, telling them about the importance of each member on a relay race team, telling them about each role, and his experiences with horsemanship. Students also learned how to train wild horses from the ground up, having hands-on learning from the facilitators. 

Racine also explained his role at the Relay camp: “Today we did a demonstration, and the mini’s and bigger horses also gave a motivational talk and worked with the kids today.” Said Racine. 

On Siksika, there is a long history of horsemanship and horse culture on the reserve, so it is good to teach the youth so they can be more involved and have something to connect to. 

“The purpose of this relay camp is to encourage our youth to be more involved in the horse culture, to create awareness of the sport of Indian Relay Racing, and to learn from local boys here on the reserve who made it in the horse industry,” said Jarrett Pretty Young Man. 

In turn, this is good for the community because it is getting youth involved in outdoor activities and quite possibly paving the way for many youth to get their start in Relay Racing and Horses. It is very encouraging and motivating to have such individuals who can show our youth that there is a lot of opportunity in sports that involve horses, such as Relay Racing and the Film Industry, while helping our youth get exercise and take a step away from technology. Siksika has a lot of talent, is very known for its horsemanship, and is looking very bright in the future for our youth.