Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Recreation Fair Featured Bikes, Horses


You know you’re in a horse town when a bicycle training event incorporates horses. 

That was the case last Sunday during the Rides, Strides and Giddy-up recreation fair put on by the Village of Corrales.

“Usually, bike instruction doesn’t include horses,” said Christina Savitsky, who helped with the infusion as a board member of the village’s equestrian advisory committee and the horse representative on the Corrales Horses And Mule People (CHAMP).

The city of Albuquerque’s Bike ABQ staged the bike rodeo for children. Rarely, if ever, does a bicyclist in Albuquerque encounter a horse. But it’s a common occurrence in Corrales.

“We want to make sure they follow all the rules, and know that horses get the right of way,” Savitsky said. “If we get to them early, they’ll know that they need to slow down and probably stop.”

The recommended method is to slow down, say hello, and share the trail.

Bike ABQ set up a road course with pylons on the tennis courts at the recreation center. Young bike riders were taught or reminded that they need to keep to the right when riding on streets, come to a full stop at stop signs, and yield to pedestrians and horses.

Of course real horses weren’t allowed on the tennis courts, “so we made these adorable noodle horses,” Savitsky said of the stick horses made from polyethylene foam, the kind used as a swim support in swimming pools.

A real horse was stationed nearby. After riding the bike rodeo course, the kids could stop by, pet the horse and be reminded again about what to do when they encounter a horse while riding their bike.

The recreational fair wasn’t just about bikes and horses. The village’s recreation department was there to provide information about swimming, soccer, skateboarding, tennis and pickleball. 

The Corrales Bosque Commission was on hand to educate people about bird watching, fishing, and held a raptor/owl demonstration. There were even tips from dog trainers.

But the fair was focused on bikes and horses.

“The goal is for equestrians, bicyclists and pedestrians to all feel safe and comfortable,” said Suzanne Harper, a member of the Corrales Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, who helped organize the event.

Harper said the fair was a group effort between the village and the biking community, to include nearby Albuquerque.

“Bike ABQ is here doing bike fitting – they are such fantastic partners; they are the best,” said

Harper. “Stevie with Stevie’s Happy Bikes is here. The city of Albuquerque sent some bike mechanics. Everyone’s been great.”

Harper said the original idea to hold a bike fair came from Jeff Radford, a member of the bike and pedestrian advisory committee and publisher emeritus of the Corrales Comment.

“We expanded it to bike and recreation,” she said.

Many of the children, and some adults, that participated in the bike rodeo also got a free helmet. Funding through the Governor’s Commission on Disability’s Brian Injury Advisory Council allocated enough funds to purchase 100 helmets that were given away.


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