Aiden Johnstad, with Harley — owned by his grandaunt Lisa Hopper — won the Reserve High Point trophy at June’s Star Spangled Horse Show held at the Clallam County Fairgrounds. (Terri Winters)

Aiden Johnstad, with Harley — owned by his grandaunt Lisa Hopper — won the Reserve High Point trophy at June’s Star Spangled Horse Show held at the Clallam County Fairgrounds. (Terri Winters)

HORSEPLAY: Rain is good, except during shows

“RAIN, RAIN GO away” is the nursery rhyme that used to come into my mind when it rains on my parade, so to speak, during the summertime.

Summer is, to me, a word that sparks feelings of joy while working and/or playing outside under warm sunshine.

Lately, I’ve changed my tune, to “Don’t Stop the Rain by Complaining,” due to the problems associated with too little rainfall accompanied by record-breaking high heat resulting in low soil-moisture levels contributing to massive fast-moving destructive forest fires up and down the west coast.

Scary stuff!

Who can forget seeing and smelling the smoke for weeks last summer due to fires raging across the pond in British Columbia and east of the Cascades in our state?

Prepared to leave

More than once I’ve kept my horse trailer hooked up to my truck ready to load the horses and dogs up to flee at the slightest warning of a local fire.

So, yes, I now find myself rejoicing when it rains during the summer — except on weekends when there are horse shows and group trail rides to attend.

Speaking of horse shows, there’s been lots of activity going on at the Clallam County Fairgrounds this summer.

First, there was a huge 4-H horse barn renovation project spearheaded by LaDonna Wilson.

Volunteers spent three weekends removing the old inner stall walls, scraping out top layers of old muck and such, putting in and compacting new gravel, laying down new rubber stall mats and then putting up new walls.

Here’s a giant thank you to all who worked on it; making the grounds level, safer and more comfortable to stand on for all.

Done in time for show

The stalls were finished just in time for the annual Star Spangled Horse Show, hosted by the Ellis family — Kyle, Sherri and Tom — with lots of help from friends.

The three-day show is well known across the state to those who show in the Washington State Horsemen “B” system, or all-breed shows, as a high-quality, competitive performance horse show for all ages and stages, from young to old, novice to advanced.

Friday’s show kick-started with the jumping events, which Sherri Ellis said was a huge success, made better thanks to Fox-Bell Farm & Training owner Shelby Vaughan, who allowed them use of her show jumping equipment, along with the Giddy Up & Grow 4-H group for doing the necessary work of setting up jumps and taking them down.

Vaughan’s “kids doing all that work was really appreciated,” Ellis said.

Then, on the last weekend in June, was the 4-H pre-fair qualifying show hosted by Silver Spurs 4-H. Aug. 1 is the date all horse show entry forms must be turned in to the fair office to compete in the Clallam County Fair from Aug. 15-18.

Clallam County Horse 4-H clubs are Giddy Up and Grow, Neon Riders, Pony Express and Silver Spurs. For more information, contact program coordinator Melanie Greer at 360-417-2398.

Next up will be the Neon Riders Friend-zy 4-H horse show at the Clallam County Fairgrounds horse show arena July 20-21, starting 8 a.m. both days.

Back Country Horsemen

Back Country Horsemen’s local chapters, Buckhorn Range, Peninsula and Mount Olympus are always hoping to welcome new members, and I like to promote them.

The Back Country Horsemen of Washington (BCHW) is a 501(c)(3) organization with 31 chapters across the state dedicated to keeping trails open for all users, educating horse users in leave-no-trace practices and providing volunteer service to resource agencies.

It’s networked with Backcountry Horsemen of America Inc. (BCHA) in 32 other states.

Peninsula Chapter’s July monthly meeting and picnic was held recently.

On Aug. 13, the meeting will be at the home of Cindy Yager. For more information, contact Dan Dosey at 360-461-9774.

Buckhorn Range’s meetings are held the second Friday of the month, starting at 7 p.m. at the Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road in Chimacum.

This month’s ride, shared with the Peninsula Chapter, will be July 21-22 at the Tahuya Horse Camp. Contact Bob Hoyle at 360-732-5052.

The Mount Olympus chapter meets the third Monday of each month at the Upper Elwha Community Center, 90 Old State Road, Port Angeles. The chapter’s focus is on trails west of the Elwha River.

Starting at 5 p.m. is the social hour with potluck dinner. That’s usually followed at 6 p.m. with a guest speaker and/or presentation. Call to order for the general meeting is 7 p.m.

All meetings are open to the public and you don’t have to own a horse to be a member.

Membership Chairperson Jaymie Doane asked me to share the chapter’s mission statement, which I’m more than happy to do.

BCHW Mount Olympus Chapter Mission Statement is:

1. To perpetuate the commonsense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s back country and wilderness.

2. To work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use.

3. To assist the various government and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.

4. To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise use of the back country resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.

5. To foster and encourage new members in Mount Olympus and BCHW.

Clallam County has two chapters of BCHW Mount Olympus chapter works on trails west of the Elwha river.

There are various benefits that are acquired by becoming a member.

“Come join us for good friendship, good information, volunteer opportunities and the chance to make a difference,” Doane said.

Contact her at 360-417-1898


• Olympic Peninsula Zone dinner — July 17, 5:30 p.m. with social hour and a 6:30 p.m. general meeting at Joshua’s Restaurant in Port Angeles.

All are welcome. Contact Tina Cozzolino at 360-460-4321 or

• Joe Wolter Clinic at Freedom Farm — Aug. 11-13, at 164 Spring Farms Road.

Contact Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897 or visit

• BCH Peninsula Chapter ride — Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. at Sallstrom Ranch Ride (278 Dunmire Road, Joyce) on the Olympic Discovery Trail Adventure Route followed by a potluck.

Call hostess Margaret Sallstrom at 360-928-3770 for more information.

• Ride the Hill — Aug. 25-27, at Layton Hill Horse Camp, 2514 Chicken Coup Road, Sequim.

Preregister by Aug. 10.

Contact Anna Sage Neal at 425-737-7404 or

For general camping information, contact Judy Sage at 360-775-6500.


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 at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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Cutline: A fundraiser for WAG and Open starts Today at 11 a.m. with an English and jumping fun show, followed tomorrow with a Western Games show at Kari Payne’s 4-L arena off Blue Mountain Road, 95 S. McCrorie Rd. Port Angeles.  Fox-Bell Farm owner Shelby Vaughan, and her assistants Sophie Feik and Kaia Lestage (holding Marley) will be there to host. Shown is Tatar Trots, 10. a horse Shelby got from OPEN five years ago when he was a feral, unhandled stallion and, now, after castrating and training,  he’s a docile horse who enjoys teaching kids how to ride.


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