Friday, April 2, 2010

A LIttle on Poker Rides.............

Part 1

Because of this first experience with trail riding, Aidol proved himself to be a trail worthy Arabian horse. Over the years he saw other poker rides with various riders. Dave was not always available to go but Aidol was always up for a trip to the woods and another poker ride.

Someone asked in the comments what a poker ride is. For those who don't know I thought I should explain what they're like around here before I go on with more Aidol poker ride stories.

Usually poker rides are fundraisers put on by horse folks for their horse club or a favorite charity. The club rounds up all kinds of donations to use as prizes. Any ride I've been on has had tables and tables of choices from tack to craft items and even works of art, gift cards, you name it. Whatever tickled the fancy of the person who donated can end up on the prize tables.

To go on a ride like this the rider pays a fee for a hand and lunch at the end of the ride. Most rides I know allow riders to buy additional hands if they chose. Then when out on the trail riders draw a card for each hand they are entitled to.

The number of check points is usually enough for a five card hand. The last draw is usually back in camp. That way the ride has documentation that all riders are accounted for which is always a plus on big rides. Then prizes are awarded based on those hands.

Of course, you have to wait for all the riders to come in before you know if or what you've won. That's were the lunch comes in. People are not only hungry after their ride but they have something to focus on while they wait for the last riders to come in.

Depending on the different clubs and sometimes the weather lunch can be a number of things. They're usually hot include a drink, chips and a cookie or something for dessert. Some clubs also have additional treats available for purchase.

Some of the best chili I've ever eaten has been on a ride like this. I've had hamburgers and steaks BBQ's to perfection and hot dogs with concoctions on them I'd never thought to try at home. AND I've probably eaten things on these rides that should have killed me but didn't. There's something about the fresh air and a long ride that adds taste to all sorts of things........ at least for me anyway.

While people are eating their lunches or even after they're done but still waiting for the last riders to come in, people mill around the
big tables set up with all kinds of prizes. Since winning riders get their choice, those in camp make sure they see everything there is to see so when it's their turn to chose they know exactly what they want. . Sometimes there are so many prizes, nearly everyone gets something. It depends on how many actual riders and, of course, how many "hands" have been sold.

In this silly state poker is considered to be gambling. Gambling is against the law except on reservations and in some specially licensed card rooms. Poker rides have been deemed a form of gambling so are against the law here.

To get around this technicality the rides are no longer called poker rides and the riders no longer draw numbers. Instead they call the event a "prize ride" (which I am forever forgetting as you can see) and instead of drawing a card at the given checkpoints, riders draw a number usually between 1 and 100.

Most of the time you never know until the end whether the ride is going to award prizes based on high numbers or low numbers. You draw your number and the ride volunteers help write it on the designated card each rider has been issued. (Me I'm known for dropping my card on the trail but luckily someone behind me has always told me so I've been able to retrieve my card)

Then at the end of the ride those cards are verified and totalled. A rider never really knows until the end if you're in it or not unless, of course, you're getting numbers in the middle somewhere. The odds are then you'll get just have to wait around to find out what.

Usually these rides have a couple of really nice big prizes for the first couple of winners. After that the value drops but there's still lots of interesting stuff. I have come home with water buckets, sweat scrapers and I've even won a bale of hay and a bag of feed over the years. I've also walked away empty handed but that's OK I really go for the ride, not the prize.

One of the fun parts of the prize portion is watching people "squabble" over their buddies "stealing" the prize coveted by the other. I've laughed to the point of tears over some of the "confrontations" I've seen. It's all part of the camaraderie that makes these rides fun.

My favorite poker/prize ride is put on by the Meridian Riding Club up at Buck Creek in the Cascade Mountains. My friend, Naomi, used to be an active member of that club so I would go to support her. For many years I never missed that ride until Naomi's health failed and she could no longer ride.

Their ride is the first Sunday after Labor Day which is the day I usually have my annual open house. I haven't attended a ride since I began having that function here at my farm so I've missed these rides the last couple of years. Writing this makes me think I need to not miss them again. All showing and no trail riding makes for a crabby MiKael. Although my annual open house keeps the taxman happy. Him or me, what to chose???

Are there rides or something comparable in your area?


  1. Oh, yes...PRIZE rides... Gotta love WA. The government is as wacky as the weather, lol!

  2. I've never heard of a poker ride on horseback here, but there are tons of motorcycle poker rides. A couple of years ago, I thought that we should do them on horseback, too. I'd go to a ton of them if we had 'em.

  3. We used to call them Poker rally or Poker rides as well. Not sure what there is around here anymore

  4. thanks for the explanation. i've only done one poker ride but i remember wondering why there were no actual cards involved.

  5. I've never heard of them, but they sound like fun. I'll have to do some digging around and see if there are any in my area. Track savy OTTBs are usually very good on trails, and I bet that there are a lot of riders who would love to take their Thoroughbred out for a "prize ride." It would be another use we could promote these guys for.

  6. Hello and thank you for stopping by my blog. I will be back to see your beautiful horses.

  7. Our community has an annual poker ride, ussually at thannksgiving, so It can get pretty chilly, but thats when noone seems to be busy, I have never gone but sure would like to.

  8. I needed that explanation. The only competition I know about outside of horse shows are egg and spoon races. The majority of horse clubs around here just have potlucks and meetings, and somehow never get together to ride, which should be the whole point of having a horse club. I can barely find time to ride as is, so I don't want to spend what little free-time I have sitting in a meeting. Ugh.

  9. My sister took her gelding on a poker ride last year and had a great time. Neither of them had ever been to anything like it and it was a great experience for both of them.

  10. Hey Mikael....which blog should I follow. When people list more then one, I never know where to go.

    My husband loves you-----well, no he loves me more, but he loves horses. We have 3. Two Canadians, and a quarter horse (yes that is the breed name, Canadians)

    I am LEARNING about horses. I am taking riding lessons.

    thanks again for visiting my blog today.

  11. Thanks for the explanation, Mikael! Makes me want to join one for the fun of it!

  12. They sound like a lot of fun. Sounds like a silly law to make it illegal, it's not gambling it's a charity function. I don't know of anything like that around here, but it sounds like a good idea.

  13. Tracey, Wacky is a good word for my thoughts on this silly decision. I could write a whole blog post on how that law affects fundraising efforts.

    GunDiva, funny the motorcycles do them but the horses don't. The horses are missing out. They are fun.

    FV, I have never heard them called a rally but what the heck, whatever works.

    lytha, well that would be it, you were in silly Washington.

    Louise, you would probably have a fun time if you could locate any in your area.

    Christina, thanks for visiting and commenting too. I love to see new faces.

    Crystal, Thanksgiving, yikes! Guess that could get pretty chilly depending on where you're from. I don't do chilly well. Thanksgiving here I would have to pass. LOL

  14. NuzzMuzz, wow, your experience is limited. You need to get out more girl! Too bad there aren't any clubs in your area into riding. That really sucks. Maybe they need a little whisper in their ear about the possibilites.

    Story, it's cool your sister had such a great experience. Maybe she will go again.

    Wendy, which blog is up to you although I guess I consider this to be my primary blog. Owning and raising Arabians is pretty much my life. Everything else takes a back seat.

    I have never heard of Canadians as a breed. Will have to look that up since now I am curious. LOL

    deejbrown, just writing it made me want to go on another one again. Hope I can work it out this year.

    Arlene, ya I think the law is pretty darn silly too. But they don't think about the ramifications when they write those things.