Hard work and dedication to her sport earned Amelia Herman the title of All Around Cowgirl, a saddle and a couple of belts at the Washington State High School Rodeo Finals Junior High Division in May, making her eligible to compete later this month at the National High School Rodeo. (Kay Herman)

Hard work and dedication to her sport earned Amelia Herman the title of All Around Cowgirl, a saddle and a couple of belts at the Washington State High School Rodeo Finals Junior High Division in May, making her eligible to compete later this month at the National High School Rodeo. (Kay Herman)

HORSEPLAY: Mini horse teaches big lessons

I’M LEARNING ALL sorts of new things since adding Gypsy, a dainty black and white mini-horse, to the family.

She’s full of energy and yet calm and easy to handle.

My big gelding, Indy, took to her right away.

It’s taken a few weeks for his mother, Lacey, to accept Gypsy into the herd. Now they are all friends.

A daily horse chore is picking up the manure.

The first thing I noticed was my regular horse-sized pooper scooper doesn’t work very well for my mini horse’s mini-sized road apples.

The best tool

The best tool for picking up horse poop is a manure rake, otherwise known as a manure fork because of the thin, protruding tines.

It’s an ideal tool for moving manure, compost, planting mix and other dense, damp material.

There are various styles available, but I use the most common type with plastic tines.

On the highest area of my property I created a “sacrifice area” for the horses.

Basically it’s a large fenced paddock with a shelter and feed area.

To keep it from getting muddy and sloppy I removed the grass and put down a few inches of small crush rock over black road underlayment cloth.

Inside the shelter and feed areas I have rubber mats.

The sacrifice area is Gypsy’s main living area as I need to limit her delicate mini tummy’s access to the grass pasture.

It disappeared

The first time I went to pick up her manure to my surprise I’d scoop it up and as I threw it in the wheel barrel the rake would be empty. What?

Apparently her teeny tiny little plops of poop just slipped through the tines of my regular sized manure fork.

It’s on my list to buy a mini-sized manure fork that has much more narrow spacing between the tines to keep her little mini road apples from falling back to the ground.

By the way, many thanks to Horseplay readers for helping to educate me on caring for a mini versus big horse, and to Sherry for loaning her mini-sized driving snaffle, Katie for the purple saddle pad and blanket and Mary for the driving lines. This was all much appreciated.

Rodeo results

Congratulations to Sequim Middle School student Amelia Herman for qualifying to compete at the 14th annual National High School Rodeo Association’s Junior High Finals.

In an event billed as the world’s largest junior high rodeo, Herman will compete as part of the Washington State High School Junior High team.

She will be traveling with teammates to Huron, S.D., from June 24 through 30.

In May, Herman and teammate Rhett Wilson were also local winners at the first Northwest Junior Rodeo in Lynden.

There, Herman won Overall Girl Champion, winning a saddle and two silver belt buckles.

She placed first in barrels, first in breakaway, third in steer daubing and third in team roping.

Wilson won a silver buckle for placing first in team roping.

It was Wilson’s first time roping in competition.

Herman is currently in eighth grade at Sequim Middle School. Wilson is in eighth grade at Stevens Middle School.

When not in school or on the road competing, Herman can be found in her barn caring for and training her horses seven days a week, many hours a day.

She’d stay the night in the barn if she could, but her parents, Mike and Rashell Herman, insist she be home by 9 p.m., at least on school nights.

Her hard work and dedication have helped her win top honors in the sport.

To date, Herman has won the titles of all-around state champion, breakaway state champion, reserve ribbon roping, reserve team roping and reserve goat tying.

Washington state junior high rodeos are in the fall and spring of each year.

They take place in Omak, Ritzville, Coulee City, Goldendale and Kennewick.

At the NJHFR, she’ll be competing against roughly 1,000 contestants from 43 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia and Mexico.

In addition to competing for more than $80,000 in prizes, NJHFA contestants also will be vying for more than $200,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named a National Junior High Finals Rodeo World Champion.

To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 — based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds — to advance to Saturday evening’s final round.

World champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined times/scores.

Again this year, the Saturday championship performance will be televised nationally as a part of the Cinch High School Rodeo Tour telecast series on RFD-TV.

Live broadcasts of all NJHFR performances will air on www.RidePass.com.

Performance times are 7 p.m. June 24, and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day thereafter.

Junior High Division students compete in a variety of events, including barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, chute dogging, team roping, ribbon roping, and junior bull riding, bareback steer riding and saddle bronc steer riding.


On June 30, Olympic Peninsula Equine Network is having its first Fundraiser Dinner Dance and Auction from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 137 N. Bar Road in Port Angeles at the new Fox Bell Wedding and Celebrations Banquet facility.

This event is also part of the Nationwide ASPCA Help a Horse Day campaign.

OPEN is a 501(c)(3) horse rescue, rehabilitation and placement organization.

“We help people and horses through support and education,” said co-founder Valerie Jackson.

“We are seeking donations for inclusion in the silent and live auctions at our event. In recognition of your donations, you or your business will be displayed on our programs and the silent auction table during the event.”

Sponsorships are available, including table sponsorship levels.

Your name or business would be prominently displayed on a double-sided, large 8-inch-by-10-inch table sign alongside the centerpieces.

A Bronze Table Sponsor package costs $500 and includes two event tickets, table marker and your name mentioned on the event program.

A Silver Table Sponsor package costs $1,000 and includes four event tickets, table marker, and your name mentioned on the event program and Facebook page.

A Gold Table Sponsor package costs $1,500 and includes four event tickets, table maker, and your name and logo on the event program and Facebook page.

If you have any questions or want to arrange for an item to be picked up, contact Jackson or Diane Royall at [email protected] or leave a message at 360-207-1688.

General meeting

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, the Jefferson Equestrian Association (JEA) is holding its annual general meeting at American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St., Port Townsend.

This meeting is an opportunity for the board to share all of the progress that has been made on the horse park at 1172 Cape George Road in Port Townsend.

On 80 acres in the heart of Jefferson County on the Olympic Peninsula, the horse park enables access to equestrian sports for children and adults who wouldn’t otherwise be able to ride.

It also will be a public park open to bicyclists, dog-walkers and hikers.

For more information, go to www.jefferson equestrian.org or call JEA President Raina Baker at 760-271-3761.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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