KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Peninsula youth is first recipient of award

IT’S WITH GREAT delight I announce that young Antigone Barker is the first recipient of the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington’s Junior Backcountry Horseman award.

New this year, the award is in recognition of her willing attitude and hours spent volunteering with the club’s work parties — plus she’s just a joy to have around.

A member of the Peninsula chapter, Antigone received her award of small cutting and pruning tools when she traveled with her family — mom Zorina, dad Dennis and younger brother Ashtin — to the BCHW’s annual BCHW Rendezvous.

There, fellow Peninsula chapter member Tom Mix received the Lopper award.

His trophy was a brand-new giant lopper — just the tool he needs to keep ridding trails of the myriad of invasive, confounding berry bushes.

Tom is also certified for chain saw cutting, which means much of his time is spent clearing trees and branches that have fallen on trails.

Sequim man honored

On behalf of all trail users I thank you, Tom, and your pack mule for your hours of thorny work.

More than 20 Peninsula and Buckhorn Range chapter members attended the Rendezvous.

Workshops and clinics included sawbuck-style packing, Dutch oven cooking, trail navigation and chain saw certification.

Antigone said her favorite events were watching the cowboy mounted shooters perform and her dad eat with relish a giant 24-ounce prime rib steak at a local restaurant.

Since I’m good friends with her mother, I spend a lot of time with Antigone.

Dependable and reliable, she’s at ease with both adults and other children.

Conversing easily with all age groups, she exudes a level of maturity well beyond her years.

Proving true to the meaning of her name, strength of character, Antigone is a goal-setter, a self-motivated worker and will delve into an assigned task.

Rain or shine, if others are working, she joins in.

Even during difficult Backcountry Horseman workdays, she’s proven herself a real trooper, working willingly and doggedly until completion — plus she knows how to joke and have fun.

Her love of animals, especially horses, is evident in the way she treats them.

As an equestrian, she shines.

While it’s not unusual to see a rider blaming the horse when it misbehaves, not so with Antigone.

While she might get frustrated at times, I’ve never seen her take it out on the animal.

Keeps her calm

Instead, she tries to find alternative training methods in which to help the horse understand what she’s asking of him or her.

Although she has her own horse at home, when visiting my house, she looks forward to riding my 17-year-old Shetland pony, Snowball Express.

I purchased the Albino pony when he was 4 because he was advertised as a calm pony, safe for children to ride.

As is often the case, however, the previous owner wasn’t fully truthful.

First called Snow, the pony earned his true name because he likes to surprise his rider by scooting out fast from underneath, thus leaving his charge’s butt on the ground and crying in the mud.

Not so with Antigone. She puts a bridle on Snowball, jumps on him bareback (and wearing a helmet) and gets him trotting in patterns and loping in circles.

At times, they even jump small obstacles.

Has Snowball tried to lose Antigone and leave her in the dust?

Yes, but her butt sticks like Velcro to his back.

The little headstrong pony looks forward to Antigone’s visits and considers himself her special pony.

The two are a heartwarming site indeed.

Once again, congratulations on your award, Antigone.

Events

March 26: 10 a.m., Backcountry Horsemen members’ ride at Sandy Shores. Hosted by Buckhorn Range chapter. Potluck after. Phone Bob Hoyle at 360-531-2337.

March 28: 6:30 p.m., BCH Peninsula Chapter meeting at Clallam County Courthouse, lower level. For more information, visit www.pbchw.org.

April 16: BCH Leave No Trace Earthday workshop. To RSVP, phone Becky Seibel at 360-670-1550 or email spirit horseranch7@gmail.com.

March 27: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., cow-working fun day at Freedom Farm, 493 Spring Farm Road, Port Angeles. Phone 360-457-4897.

________

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 kbg@olympus.net 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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