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During last weekend's show at Waynora Martin's Quarter Moon Ranch in Carlsborg, I saw a plethora of new ones competing.
Now in their 20s, experienced competitors Ady Crosby and Clara Duncan told me they're seeing a lot of “new ones from 4-H groups” at shows this year.
I think that's fantastic.
One thing in particular I find so endearing is how many experienced older gamers — such as Marie Dickinson, Martin and Pam Crosby — are always eager to help and encourage new ones to learn the sport.
Speaking of helping hands, our local members of the Back Country Horsemen should get a standing ovation for all the hard work they do in maintaining trails throughout Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest.
A shining example of the group's excellent volunteerism is Littleton Horse Camp, located off U.S. Highway 101 near Mile Marker 216 at the Mount Muller trailhead.
Not only did BCH members build the beautiful stock camp for all equestrians to enjoy, but they also maintain the camp sites (including cleaning and stocking the vault toilet), stock corrals and surrounding 25 miles of trail from two different trail systems, including Mount Muller, Snider Ridge and Olympic Discovery trails.
So it was troubling to me to learn that last weekend — Memorial Day weekend — a large group 20-somethings from Seattle camped there who harassed local horsemen for camping there at the same time.
The group claimed they had spoken with a park ranger and reserved all the camp sites for the entire weekend.
In spite of the horsemen trying to keep to themselves while politely reminding the group that state forest camp sites can't be reserved (all campgrounds in national forests operate on a first-come, first-served basis), some of those partygoers playing Frisbee repeatedly hit their trucks with the plastic discs and threw balls under the horses — acts that would certainly have gotten my dander up.
The horsemen tried reasoning with those troublemakers, who just repeatedly responded that they had reserved the entire grounds, so the horsemen weren't welcome.
Needless to say, it was an unhappy experience for our horsemen.
The government website for Olympic National Forest's Littleton Horse Camp (www.fs.usda.gov) states: “Vehicle Parking Spur Sites are reserved for stock use until 6:00 pm. Walk-in sites are 'First Come First Serve' for all users.”
A valid recreation parking pass is also required.
The site also gives a Special Thanks to the Backcountry Horsemen volunteers” for making the horse camp.
Remember, it was Memorial Day weekend, so there were a lot of out-of-town visitors and only a handful of forest rangers to cover the entire Peninsula.
I don't know what I would have done if I had been there.
I'd like to hear from readers how they would have handled the situation.
Peninsula Junior Rodeo coach Tina VanAusdle said the group's first rodeo of the season was at the Silver Spurs arena in Silverdale.
“The weather was also terrible, and there is not an indoor arena to rodeo in, so the ground was pretty sloppy,” she said.
“But we're a tough group, so that didn't stop us from competing and having fun.”
■ Micayla Weider: Trail, third.
■ Amelia Hermann: Barrels, third.
■ Emily VanAusdle: Team roping, first; barrels, sixth; poles, second; goat tying, fourth; breakaway roping, fifth.
■ Madison Ballou: Poles, fourth; trail, fourth.
Madison is also Junior Rodeo Queen this year. Congrats, Madison!
Therapeutic horseback riding for children with disabilities is offered at Heron Pond Farm, 152 Douglas Way, Port Townsend.
Parents who wish to apply for their kids are urged to email PATH-certified instructor Mary Craft Nepute at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration forms.
Registration is $25, and the deadline is June 15.
The Jefferson Equestrian Association will partner with Camp Beausite NW to provide riding lessons for children with disabilities, including those who use a wheelchair.
Classes will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 8, 15 and 22, and Aug. 5, 12 and 19.
■ 9 a.m. Saturday, June 14 — Clarity in Communication and Connection Clinic with Ken Siefer at Heron Pond Farm, 152 Douglas Way off Discovery Road in Port Townsend. Jefferson Equestrian Association fundraiser. Auditors welcome.
For more information or to register, contact Kim Hunt at 360-379-0507 or email@example.com.
■ 9:30 a.m. start Saturday, June 28, and 9 a.m. start Sunday, June 29 — PSHA game show at Crosby's arena, 122 Franson Road in Agnew. Phone Pam Crosby at 360-670-3906.
■ Saturday, July 5 — Equine Trail Sports obstacle course and trail ride at Layton Hill Horse Camp, 2514 Chicken Coop Road, Sequim. Contact Anna Neal at 425-737-7404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.equinetrailsports.com.
Karen Griffiths' column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at email@example.com at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.