"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." — E.B. White

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Howard County Fair

Sarah on Neil Diamond
Today we took both kids and ponies to the Howard County Fair horse show. It was a low key outing for us as we're not at all competitive these days. In fact, this is the only show we go to all year. Last year Sarah (now 6) showed for the first time off the lead and this year she tried trotting alone. Last year was Jack's first leadline class. He had just turned three. When he realized that Sarah got to dress up and ride in the "real" ring he demanded to show too and not just be led in the warm up ring... Whew, that was a real last minute rush to get two sets of clothes n ponies ready the night before!
Jack kissing Neil Diamond
In my past life I was at horse events nearly every weekend riding and coaching older and more advanced riders and riding great big horses (ponies are all new for me). To say I became "burned out" is an understatement. I was soooo ready for a whole new stay at home life out in the boonies. Now I simply enjoy having fun with my horses and mostly, watching my kids have fun with their ponies. My dream is to have all my family riding beside me in the hunt field soon. That would be bliss!

The Howard County Fair set-up is really nice - lotsa shade trees around the ring and carnival rides, pig races, performances and ice cream too!  Both kids rode today in the lead line class, then Sarah switched ponies and rode alone at at the walk and (sporadic, mostly sullen) trot. We didn't impress the fancy hunter people who came with their gorgeous and obedient show ponies in huge trailers... But we did have lots of fun with our farm ponies and brought home a few nice ribbons.

Jack on Neil Diamond
Our two ponies are so different (just like our kids) and each present their own challenges... Our small welsh/x pony, "Neil Diamond,"  is an old curmudgeon ~ he likes the finer things in life (eats more than our nursing broodmares despite needing dentures) and tolerates the young uns! He's thin, frail and has a bit of a pot belly. At 25+ years he's well travelled and educated.... Still, I get the impression he mostly wants to be left alone in his snug stall w/a good book. He can get very grumpy and naughty when asked to do very much but is teaching the kids a lot. I love that I can trust him with Sarah riding loose through our huge hay fields. What confidence and determination she's getting from riding him ~ that's priceless to me!
Sarah on Lucky Duck
Our medium sized morgan /x pony "Lucky Duck" came from the hills of W. VA and often seems perplexed by the concept of manners and all things refined, but he adores his family and is a hard worker. Right now he's still a bit strong and uneducated for Sarah to show alone but he's learning. He really wants to do the right thing, he's just a baffled by our vocabulary and gets to be a bit of a bully when unsure. All is forgiven however when he walks away from his food and wraps his neck around the kids in a bonofide hug!

Sarah walk/trot on Neil Diamond

Sarah was very pleased to be riding alone this year and has been hounding me since we left about the next show ~ "don't they have another one next week, mom?" Let's see, cleaning 2 sets of  tack n ponies, washing show clothes, polishing boots, packing real clothes, baking cookies, making sandwiches n lemonade, remembering paperwork n camera n caring for all the farm critters extra early... Um, no, it wore me out and I think I might be getting sick. ~whimper~ Maybe when they can do more prep work themselves we'll travel more...  Meanwhile there's a reason we only go once a year! Tonight, we'll all (ponies too) enjoy a nice bath and early bed!


brookie said...

That little Neil Diamond pony is very typey for an old man! How handsome. Plus your daughter has her heals down in every picture. How cute! I struggle with the fancy hunter world. At one point it was my entire life, and now it just seems so detached from reality. But I still love the horses. Isn't it nice to just sit back and get back into enjoying the horses for being horses? Not what ribbons they can win.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Thanks for letting me join your weekend. My daughter worked with horses one summer at camp. My grandfather raised shetland ponies...they would try to knock us off by trying to go through the sheep holes in the fence or under the goose-neck trailer...oh memories...it was bareback, country riding...LOL.
Well I haven't done the horse thing...but I have had years of five in baseball at the same time....and playing all over the metroplex!
Enjoy mother...your delight being shared with your kids...I can say I never played ball!!!

Cheech said...

My daughter started in the little local shows when she was 4. She has had 2 old horses and you just can't beat them. The safety is such an important thing. She is 8 now and gets to start 4-h this year. She can hardly wait!

Your kids are adorable on their ponies and it's so nice to see that they have a knowledgeable mom to keep them safe!