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Pot Luck Party

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Tales from Harrogate

As we continue with our horse shows this season, it reminds me of one in the past that was quite memorable.

If I recall, it was the first attempt at an off property horse show and it took the Harrogate Hills horses and riders to a facility in nearby King Township. There was quite a lot of excitement in the air as few of the horses and none of the students had ever shown anywhere but at our farm. Andy, a student, had even purchased proper riding breeches for the occasion!

Now Andy was a bit self-conscious about the new, close fitting riding breeches and chose to keep his track pants on until the last possible minute. As his turn drew closer he glanced furtively around, removed his track pants, and climbed as quickly as possible onto Cheyanne. Into the ring they went. Cheyanne, graceful as always, started to lumber around the course. As she approached the line closest to the spectators her ears strained forward as she discovered that there were bales of hay being used as filler in one of the jumps. Despite Andy's enthusiastic over riding, Cheyanne couldn't pass up the opportunity to pause for a bite to eat. As she dropped her head and slid to a stop Andy kept going, landing rear end in the air, on her neck. Her head stretched across the rail of the jump and, as Andy slid down her neck, the pole creaked loudly and then cracked in two. All eyes were on him as he tried to extricate himself from Cheyanne's neck, which was, of course, attached to a head that was now buried in the hay bale. After what must have felt like an endless struggle, he managed to get untangled. With a certain amount of fanfare, he convinced her to leave her feast and accompany him out of the ring, his new breeches exposed for all the world to see.

Next in the ring was Keaton who entered with his usual swagger. Up the outside line, he was clear. Across the diagonal, he jumped clear. But as he soared over the two jumps in the outside line, he apparently made the decision not to turn. Maybe it was his unerring sense of direction that reminded him where the horse trailer was parked or maybe it was simply because he knew he could do it. Whatever his reason, he left the ring at great speed, galloped straight up the hill and through a small group of spectators stopping only when his plan was thwarted by a row of large trees.

Apologizing profusely and deeply embarrassed, Paul rode him back down the slope and out of the ring as the spectators on the hill retrieved their lawn chairs and settled back down to watch the rest of the show.

In the next class he was back. Up the outside, clear. Across the diagonal he jumped clear. He turned for the outside line and sailed over it all clear yet again and then just as effortlessly galloped back up the hill scattering the increasingly wary spectators one more time.

At this point I was hoping no one knew which farm we were from.

After changing to a stronger bit (gently suggested by the proprietors of the show) Keaton was back in the ring. This time however it seemed everyone wanted to see the Puissance Pony jump. The announcer cheerfully introduced him saying "And now Ladies and Gentlemen here he is again: Buster Keaton, a real crowd pleaser!"

The people on the hill immediately grabbed their lawn chairs and ran and hid amongst the trees.

I can't remember if he made the turn in the last class or not. But certainly there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the little horse could jump.

It is interesting sometimes what stands out in your mind as the years go by. For example, I remember how George's day went. He hadn't trailered well to the show and while the rest of the school horses had taken it all in stride, he was quite worried about the whole affair. I was torn because, although he was doing quite well in his classes, the day was running long and he was clearly tired and stressed. David, his rider, approached me as the last class neared.

"I think George has had enough," he said.

Surprised, I explained to David that he needed only a 6th place ribbon in the last class and he would likely end up as Reserve Champion for the division.

"I know but that's okay" he said. "George has to be ridden at summer camp all next week and I just wouldn't feel right making him go back in the ring."

I guess it might seem strange to some but to me that spoke more of David's worth as a horseman than any ribbon ever could have. I was touched that despite the excitement of the day his concern was for his stressed and bewildered partner. I must confess that even after all these years, there haven't been many times when I have been prouder of a student than I was that day.

I believe that when we stop to consider the needs of our equine partners it makes better horsemen (and I might even argue better people) out of all of us.

Continued good luck at the shows.

Until next time…..
Pat

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On the Light Side

An out-of-towner accidentally drives his car into a deep ditch on the side of a country road. Luckily a farmer happened by with his big old horse named Benny. The farmer said Benny could pull his car out. So he backed Benny up and hitched Benny to the man's car bumper. Then he yelled "Pull, Nellie, pull." Benny didn't move. Then he yelled, "Come on, pull Ranger." Still Benny didn't move. Then he yelled really loud, "No pull, Fred, pull hard." Benny just stood. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Okay Benny, pull." Benny pulled the car out of the ditch. The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Benny is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling he wouldn't even try."

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Is This the Time of Year to Volunteer?

If you have time on your hands and are looking for something to do you might be interested in volunteering with the Community Association for the Riding Disabled (CARD). Check out their web site at www.card.ca

The following is some of the information about CARD.

Mission

To improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities through quality therapeutic riding programs.

Benefits

Under the supervision of specially trained physiotherapists, skilled equestrian staff, and dedicated volunteers, riders gain greater physical, cognitive, psychological and social skills, riders are introduced to therapeutic riding with lifelong benefits including, increased confidence and self esteem, improved balance and coordination, thus improving the riders quality of life.

Volunteering

Anyone over the age of 14 who has an interest in helping people improve their lives and enjoys horses can volunteer at CARD. The training and support is provided

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Horse Show Standings


Short Stirrup

Rider
Points
Megan Allison
38
Sam Enright
34
Nick Clulow
21
Taylor Cameron
18
Nicole Henriques
18
Cassandra Eves
12
Cassandra Rennie
10
Amanda Gallagher
10
Madison Bosman
1

Novice

Rider
Points
Ainsley Miller
38
Alex Demoe
27
Geoffrey Bishop
19
Amanda Maitland
15
Rebecca Schweinberger
14
Cassandra Eves
14
Leanne Allicock
8
Megan Nesland
4

Junior

Rider
Points
Kylie Frame
25
Samantha Pederson
24
Billy Mason
20
Stephanie Wagg
18
Maggie Gooding
12

Hack

Rider
Points
Erica Clayton
41
Erin Follett
37
Bridgette Hodgson
27
Elyse Marchand
26
Maggie Gooding
26
Nicole Henriques
21
Thea Bourne
19
Megan Nesland
14
Megan Perrier
7
Rebecca Schweingerger
6

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How Much Do You Know About Horses' Teeth?

Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 27 when Dr. van Arem is tentatively scheduled to put on a Tooth Clinic in the Lounge. Watch for more information.

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Thank You...

Many thanks to those of you who contributed to having our latest visitor (a stray kitten) spayed. She is now safe to roam at will but needs a name. Suggestions so far have been Honey or Kelso. What do you think? Drop your suggestion in the box in the Lounge.

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