The entire practice group of the Capital City Cowgirls forms up behind one of their sponsors Kimberly Dawn of Kicking Cowgirl Design. Dawn is holding Maui. Morin photo

METCALFE – The Capital City Cowgirls are back in the saddle.

Jennifer Byvelds serves as tether for Miriam Miksa as she works on some of her riding acrobatic techniques. Morin photo

The synchronized all-girl equestrian team held their first practice at the Circle J Ranch just north of Metcalfe on Fri., July 17.

The team is made up of 21 members. Last year they performed their specialized brand of Choreography on the Hoof at such equine events as Rawhide Rodeo, Wesley Clover Park, Upper Canada Village and local fairs to name a few.

In 2019 the group was chosen as the opening performance for the 2019 RCMP musical ride sunset ceremonies. They put on a fantastic performance in front of 10,000 spectators.

The team calls the Circle J Ranch their home.

The horseback riding facility is owned by Liz Adamson and her mother Grace Simpson.

The founder and coach of the equestrian team is Jennifer Byvelds of Chesterville the owner of Nation Valley Ranch.

Byvelds is a certified riding instructor and has been teaching competitive riding teams for 10 years.

She also has experience in dance, which explains how the team can do the intricate choreography that it does.

Helping her out is assistant coach Melissa Leduc from 6LAcres. Leduc has been riding with team since its beginnings in 2017 and took on the role of assistant coach in 2018.

“I used to play polo and other team sports,” said Byvelds., who said she liked the idea of equestrian team performances.

“We were put on hold for a year because of COVID-19 and now this is our first practice.”

Byvelds describes what the Cowgirls do as a bit different from what you see at a performance of the RCMP musical ride. “We are faster, have a little more yahoo and entertaining,” she said.

The team performs some interesting suicide maneuvers, said Byvelds.

She teaches riders how to perform gymnastics on their horse.

Bvyleds has a name for this particular group of young riders. They are called the Capital City Vultures.

Because of COVID-19 the group has not been able to perform this year because all of the equestrian shows they would normally attend have been cancelled.

Nevertheless, Byvelds felt it was time the riders came out and dusted off their technique and run a practice.