Riding Club saddles up for play day Nov. 9 at Old Spanish Trail Arena

A participant in the Moab Riding Club learns skills. Courtesy photo

More than a dozen young horse enthusiasts have been saddling up several evenings a week since spring to participate in the Moab Riding Club, and they’re getting ready to host a “play day” event at the Old Spanish Trail Arena Nov. 9 to test their skills.

The lead mentor of the group, Ethel Krist, has been teaching kids in Moab to ride since the 1970s. This year she has opened her facility – the Slash K Bar Training Stables – to local youth who want to learn more about horses and become better riders. Her son, Ron Krist, is teaching the youth how to rope, and other volunteers are helping to support the club in other ways.

Says Ethel, who is 88 years old and is now teaching her great-grandkids to ride, “I’m having so much fun doing this. There are so many kids that could benefit from being involved in a horse program. Horses are good for people.”

A local youngster rounds a pole during a recent event involving the Moab Riding Club. The club is gearing up for a play day Nov. 9. Courtesy photo

Participants range in age from 3 to 19, according to Brittany Krist, one of the volunteers who have been working to support the club. “We’ve got a bunch of kids who are really into it,” she told The Times-Independent. Added Ethel, “These kids are just eating it up.”

Ethel has made a career out of professional horse training and showing in Moab. She took a 20-year break from teaching lessons on a regular basis, but is now busy coaching the kids several days a week. With the advancement in skills of several club members, she anticipates that the group may be broken into another lesson club for new beginners, while other, more experienced riders get further coaching and head into the show and junior rodeo circuits.

The Nov. 9 Moab Horseplay Day will include 13 competitive events, suited to the ages of the participants. Organizers are hoping young equestrians from around the region will attend, and that the Moab community will come and cheer on the kids as they compete in various games and competitions. “We would love to have spectators,” said Brittany.

Proceeds from the event will help to sustain the club in various ways. The club leases livestock that is used for roping and goat-tying. Other costs for club members might include travel expenses and entry fees, and the fees to participate in future clinics and junior rodeos that occur in the region.

Sign-ups for the play day must be made in advance. Check-in will occur at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 9, and the action will get underway at 10 a.m. Entry in each event ranges from $5 to $10. For more information, see the Moab Riding Club on Facebook. Entry forms can be emailed to [email protected], or mailed to Brittany Krist, 3162 Spanish Valley Dr., Moab, UT, 84532. Entries must be postmarked no later than Oct. 26. Fees are cash only and due at check-in. Participants must sign waivers and their horses must be healthy.

The youngest participants, those 8 and under, can compete in showmanship, horsemanship, keyhole race, barrel race, flag race and poles. They can also try roping a dummy from the ground if they are 6 or younger, or rope a dummy aboard a horse for ages 7 and 8. Goat-tying will also be offered.

Kids 9 to 14 will have similar events, in addition to breakaway and ranch roping. Same for youth who are 15 to 19, who will likewise compete amongst themselves.

Concessions will be available, and a raffle will be held on items that include a rifle, a helicopter ride, and a family photo shoot that includes a handmade barn wood frame.

For more information about the play day, or to join the club, call Brittany Krist at 435-260-9663 or Ethel Krist at 435-259-8587. Club members have been riding most evenings since spring on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and occasionally on weekends. Youth can attend practices as their schedules allow, and participation is free. The stables are located at 3128 Spanish Valley Drive.