Part of my adventure has been adapting to life on the farm. We took three of the four Gypsy Horses into the Oregon State Fair over Labor Day weekend for the Horse Show. Preparing for that, requires washing the horses. Since our horses are in the pasture throughout the year, we clean them once a year, leading up to the Fair. Mind you, you don’t just wash the horse once. We washed each horse twice, and each time, takes hours. Each foot alone, is usually addressed four or five times each bath. The feathering around the fetlocks makes this quite a job. The older the horse, the more the feathering. Blue Boy, the 14 year old stallion, has feathers so long that there is no way to avoid walking on them. Likewise, his mane is getting closer to the ground, and his tail touches the ground. These are the trademark features of the Gypsy Horse, but it does require a lot of maintenance and cleaning when it comes to showing the horses.
Although I’ve had occasion to be involved in getting the horses ready for a show before, this is my first State Fair, and my first real Horse Show. It’s a competition to be sure, and as you go walking through the barn and see all the impressive horses, you are aware that all the other Gypsy Horse owners are your competition.
Without knowing too many details, I can tell you that there are some competitions which are little more than beauty contests. My, but what beautiful horses. We did fairly well in that category with the stallion. Then there are Western saddle events, and English saddle events. While the stallion Blue Boy didn’t do as well in the Western saddles events, he did shine in the English saddle events. It’s probably important to note that the judge was from New York, and in all my years living on the East Coast, those people are really English saddle folks. I honestly don’t think the judge was as knowledgeable in the Western saddle category.
We also brought the gelding “King” and the young mare, “Ginger”. It’s getting time to really begin training “Ginger”. We showed her in hand halter. “King” is really coming into his own. Liberty is an event where the horse is brought out into the arena and released from the halter. Music begins, and the animal has the opportunity to run free. The judging on this event is generally looking for playfulness, running, playing, as they would run free in the wild. When they getting going fast, the feathering just flies in all it’s glory. When time is called, the music stops, and the person who released the horse, has a limited time to put the halter back on and walk from the arena. While “Blue Boy” usually shines in this event, he didn’t do as well as his son “King”. The event is late at night, which is also unfortunate. It’s difficult to work up the energy to shine at the end of the day. It’s something I personally understand.
Our last day at the Fair was Sunday. We have two trainers that work with the horses. One for Western, and one for English. We were grateful to see Blueboy shine in the English saddle categories. It’s nice to walk away with something better than second place ribbons. So, the Fair continues through today, Labor Day, but we packed up, and are already unpacked, back at the farm. The horses are returned to their pasture, and another year of showing the horses is behind us. I must say that it was a very enjoyable experience. Lots of folks walk through the barn, and many ask questions. I found myself less and less interested in the rest of the Fair, feeling quite comfortable hanging out in the barn. But I generally like to visit the animals at the Fair, and check out the exhibitors.
For my tiny house, I purchased two rugs. In the demonstration, you can put your foot in a muddy mess, and simply walk across this rug (not even wipe), and then place your foot on a paper towel. There is no tracking! It’s the very issue I have for both me and my dog. I currently have two separate areas to wipe feet at my house, and after doing so vigorously, I still have tracks that follow me through the house. It is beyond annoying. This rug should eliminate that issue, so I am anxious to see how it works in my practical situation. I’ll have to let you know what I think. I was surprised that they recommended washing the rug before using, so the rugs are still drying out today. The next rainy day will be the real test.