Several members of 4-H performed well enough at last weekend’s Clallam County Fair to qualify for the Washington State Fair next month in Puyallup. Shown here, in the back row from left, are Katie Marchant, Haylie Newton, Natalie Blankenship, Emily Gear, Sierra Ballou, Madison Green and Cassidy Hodgin; middle row from left, Sophie Marchant, Ebony Billings, Madison Ballou, Emily Menshew and Kaylie Graf; and front row from left, Lisi Hanson, Lillian Batton, Abigail Hjelmeseth and Cassie Roark.

Several members of 4-H performed well enough at last weekend’s Clallam County Fair to qualify for the Washington State Fair next month in Puyallup. Shown here, in the back row from left, are Katie Marchant, Haylie Newton, Natalie Blankenship, Emily Gear, Sierra Ballou, Madison Green and Cassidy Hodgin; middle row from left, Sophie Marchant, Ebony Billings, Madison Ballou, Emily Menshew and Kaylie Graf; and front row from left, Lisi Hanson, Lillian Batton, Abigail Hjelmeseth and Cassie Roark.

HORSEPLAY: Good fences make good neighbors

After moving into her new home, Karen Griffiths discovers her horses are more affectionate now that they can roam mostly free.

I’VE ALWAYS FOUND a lot of truth in poet Robert Frost’s line from his poem “Mending Wall”: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Particularly true, I think, when one owns ­animals.

I feel greater piece of mind knowing my animals are safely confined within the boundaries of my property and not running around loose where they might get hurt or even killed by a car.

Thus, when my mother and I moved into our new home of happiness in Happy Valley, my first major project was to put a good solid fence around the perimeter.

Until I divide the land into smaller pastures, the horses are free to roam the entire property.

Favorite places

To my amazement, the area they most like to hang out in is by our front door (their second favorite is in the corner next to neighbor and Back Country Horsemen member Judy Paty to visit with her horse).

And whenever I am working outside on the property, they follow me around just like my dogs.

What’s more, they are so much more attentive, frequently approaching to nuzzle me or asking me for a good rub on their neck.

In the past, Indy would frequently come to me for attention, while his mother, Lacey, has always been a bit standoffish.

Now she has completely warmed up, as if to tell me I’d finally proved to her she’s truly an integral member of my family.

Their new warmness has helped me appreciate how horses are truly social animals, not just herd animals who flock together for the sake of safety in numbers. They seek and enjoy the companionship of others.

How sad they really must be when isolated.

Of course, now I really don’t want to fence them in a pasture away from the front door, but I find I must do so for the sake of visitors — family, friends and delivery people — who dislike getting out of their vehicle to open the entrance gate at the beginning of the driveway, drive through and then close the gate again before horses or dogs get out.

And so, for them I will fence the front but still allow the horses to hang out at the backdoor.

Also, here’s a reminder: Your animals need fresh water, and lots of it, during hot weather.

So keep your water troughs clean and full.

More than hay

I want to say congratulations to the Olympic Peninsula Equine Network (OPEN) on the new hay barn they had delivered last week.

As the only true horse rescue organization in Clallam County, the group has needed a hay barn for a long time.

I got to the Clallam County Fair’s Pro West Rodeo the night of Aug. 20 just in time to see Rashell Herman get a smoking time of 4.25 seconds in calf roping.

I spoke with Tina Van­Ausdale and Katie Salmon-Newton, who pointed out a number of younger adults there competing whom we knew when they first started out competing in the 5-and-younger age group in junior rodeo.

There they stood as full-blown mature men and women, and yet I felt certain Salmon-Newton, VanAusdale and I haven’t aged that much at all.

The Patterned Speed Horse Association held its 2016 state finals the other weekend in Wenatchee.

Local members who came away with a state championship include Sara Hoph in Junior Division keyhole (time of 7.24) and junior poles (time 21.27); and Sara and Tylar Decker in two-man, three-barrel.

Then Sara Decker, Tylar Decker, Zoe Thompson and Marie Dickinson won the team poles championship.

It’s worth noting that Dickinson is Tylar Decker’s mother and Thompson’s grandma.

And in team flags, Sam Parks and grandson Duncan Parks, along with Pam Crosby and Kammi Short, became the 2016 state champs.

Sara Decker’s father, Greg Hoph, proudly noted that after countless trips to craft stores for dyes and glitter to make multiple tie-dyed shirts, and then buying “hairspray by the gallon,” his daughter won the Best Dressed Junior Award at state finals.

________

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 write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

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