Silver Spurs 4-H member Jack Hatfield shoots through the poles in the keyhole race during a show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds last month. When show season begins next spring, look for an expanded list of show classes that cater to adults and families of all age groups. (Karen Griffiths/for Peninsula Daily News)

Silver Spurs 4-H member Jack Hatfield shoots through the poles in the keyhole race during a show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds last month. When show season begins next spring, look for an expanded list of show classes that cater to adults and families of all age groups. (Karen Griffiths/for Peninsula Daily News)

PENINSULA HORSEPLAY: Riders hoof it through bad weather

INCLEMENT WEATHER AND sloppy ground didn’t deter fans of Jefferson County’s Silver Spurs 4-H horse shows.

And why would it when the last show of the year at the county fairgrounds included fun competitive games such as musical poles, which is similar to musical chairs except it’s on horseback. When the music stops, contestants must be holding one of the white racing poles.

At the end of the day, there was even a costume competition and an egg and spoon game. (Can you trot your horse across the finish line without the egg dropping off your spoon?)

When I showed up at the fairgrounds, show organizer Glenda Meek greeted me with a happy hello and then said, “I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you’d be at the Baker Stables show this weekend.”

I chose to be at the Silver Spurs show because Port Angeles’ Baker Stables was holding the first of a series of winter schooling shows in its indoor arena, whereas this was the final show of the year at the fairgrounds because its arena is outdoors — and recent rainfall left the ground a sloshy, muddy mess.

For a certainty, I had a pleasurable time catching up with Meek.

An avid gamer, my first encounter with her was about 15 years ago when she brought her two adorable little girls to a games show held at then-4-H Sidekicks leader Marie Dickinson’s old home in Carlsborg.

Now her daughters — Annie, 20, and Caitlynn, 16 — are all grown up and among the toughest horse competitors in the region.

The three Meeks are active members of the Patterned Speed Horse Association.

While Annie Meek spent her high school years competing in Washington State High School Equestrian Team events, sister Caitlynn is currently competing in high school rodeo.

Somehow Glenda Meek, a full-time mom with a full-time job, manages the horse barn for the fairgrounds and is president of the Horse Project and, through the Jefferson County Washington State University Extension office in Port Townsend, has resurrected the county’s Silver Spurs 4-H group.

The once-flourishing group went on the wayside awhile back due to a lack of leadership.

Now, Meek said, “we’re trying to build it up again.”

From the sizable turnout of the show that day despite inclement weather, I’d say her efforts are paying off.

“One thing that’s different and very special about Jefferson County’s 4-H shows is they are not limited to those members of 4-H. They are open to all ages, including adults,” Meek said.

“We really encourage the parents not to be just supportive spectators at the shows but to start riding and showing their horses, too.”

As a man riding a white horse rounded his first barrel in a barrel race, she said his name was Rob Kinney and he was there competing along with his wife, Lorin, and daughter, Ameila.

After the race, I approached Kinney and asked how long he’d been competing.

His answer surprised me.

“This was my first show,” he said sheepishly.

“My wife was given a horse 10 years ago, and that’s what got the family started.”

He’s taken Amelia to horse shows “for years.” Then his wife started competing and encouraged him to join in.

Meek’s mother, Jean Grondahl, was at the show in support of her daughter and two granddaughters.

She said there are times she’d like to step in the show ring, too.

So future shows are being organized to include more in-hand classes. In-hand means the person isn’t riding but is on the ground leading the horses.

“Now that we’re focused on more classes adults want to ride in, our classes are bigger and better than ever,” Meek said.

She said the slower-paced in-hand events are perfect for the older crowd who might not ride as well as they used to but want to be involved.

“At my age, I don’t know how to do fast and quick, or even sit up straight in the saddle anymore, but I can take part in in-hand events like showmanship or in-hand trail.”

And while there won’t be any shows held at the fairgrounds until next spring, she’ll be at the fairgrounds on a regular bases to mentor her 4-H group.

Speaking of 4-H leaders, did you hear the news?

I felt so excited when I heard Marie Dickinson bought Mariners Cafe in Sequim.

The longtime employee, restaurant manager and its star pie-maker and baker stepped into the owner’s shoes early in October.

Located in the J.C. Penney complex, Mariners offers home-style cooking and recently attained its liquor license.

“It’s a family affair here, and we love it,” said Marie’s daughter, waitress Tylar Decker.

She participated at the show riding her beloved horse, Brudy.

Her co-workers includes fellow alumni of Sidekicks.

Away from the restaurant, Decker and her mother race both against and with each other in PSHA shows.

And, for those who are wondering, yes, Dickinson is still making her delicious homemade pies at Mariners.

Events

• Baker Stables Winter Schooling Series Horse Show — Today at 9:30 a.m. at 164 Four Winds Road in Port Angeles.

Contact Dana or Tom King at 360-457-6039 or 360-460-7832.

• Freedom Farm’s Second Sunday lifestyle class, “Feet First: Hoof Care” with Jerry Schmidt — Today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 493 Spring Road in Agnew.

Contact Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897.

• JEA general meeting — Dec. 5 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion building, 209 Monroe St., Port Townsend.

________

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 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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