by Monica Treidlinger
I’m still beaming with pride when I say we did it. It certainly wasn’t easy, especially in this challenging year. However, despite the COVID-19 virus and the ever-changing rules and restrictions to ensure everyone’s safety, we organized a successful outdoor event to help local food banks.
The 2020 Limerick Forest Pandemic Ride, held on September 20, 2020, a beautiful sunny day in Limerick Forest (Area 1 – the Pit), raised $2,000 and also brought in about 25 kilograms of non-perishable food items.
We could not have done it without the help of the Johnstown ATV Club, whose members agreed wholeheartedly not only to host, but to help out with equipment, food and volunteers. We also sincerely appreciate the generosity and support that came from these local businesses:
416 Mini Storage gave a generous cash donation
Sabrina Tracey of Bytown Animal Chiropractic offered an equine chiropractic treatment
Melissa Bayer offered an equine massage from Bayer Hug Equine Therapy
Adrienne Schmitke from Fit to Compete donated three Bemer micro-circulation treatments
Steve Morris in Oxford Mills made a beautiful door knocker
Elite 3 Hemp Products donated several bags of equine nutritional supplements, including hemp hulls, hemp oil, and horse treats
Brooks Performance Horse Feed offered two $25 gift certificates
GT Enterprise donated equine probiotics and electrolytes
Green Hawk gave a horse cooler, grooming tools and treats
Elegant Equine offered a gift certificate for equine blanket cleaning or repair
Rideau St. Lawrence Veterinary Services donated a grooming bag complete with grooming tools and treats
TSC in Kemptville donated a $40 gift certificate
Costco on Strandherd Drive in Ottawa donated two $50 gift cards which helped to cover the food costs for the event
Terry Gibson and Pamela Norman of TP Quarterhorses donated two beautiful woodworking pieces
Kayla Fong from Agnes Attic donated two custom trailer decals
Mrs. McGarrigle’s Fine Food Shop in Merrickville donated two sets of mustards
Christine Koch made a fleece throw, as well as 25 themed face masks
Keelan O’Flarity of Celtic Creek Ranch donated a hand-made rope halter
Volunteers are important in the organization of such an event, and those who came to help did such a fabulous job. There is so much work to be done – some of it had to be completed weeks prior to the event. With the enthusiastic help from several dedicated people, things began to come together. Riders went out on horseback to trim branches from the trails to ensure the safety of our riders, members of the Bytown Motorcycle Association brought chainsaws out to cut some of the larger trees that fell across the trails. The route had to be signed, so that riders knew their way, and riders were given options for an easier route or a more challenging route.
Volunteers arrived early on the day of the event to set up the tables to check in the registered riders, display the prizes and silent auction items, as well as set up the food distribution area. The volunteers also welcomed everyone and helped to park horse trailers. Vegetarian chilis had been prepared to accompany the smoked ham on the BBQ. Volunteers were out on check points in the forest to make sure riders were on the signed trail route and ensure no one got lost. Then, when the event was over, all the equipment had to be packed up and taken away.
Geoff McVey, Forest Manager at Limerick Forest, and his staff have always been supportive of this event, and through the Friends of Limerick Forest, the groups that share the trails have come together to ensure that everyone had a safe ride.
Because of the kind and generous support of this community, this event was successful in the face of so many challenges, and we are so grateful. Here’s to hoping we can do this again next year.