KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Old-fashioned tactic can trump gadgets at times

Jefferson County Mounties 4-H helps host equine events such as the May performance and game show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. From left are Tia Brown

Jefferson County Mounties 4-H helps host equine events such as the May performance and game show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. From left are Tia Brown

AT TIMES, MY horse Indy can be a bit pigheaded.

Last month, he had me stymied on how to get him to trot next to his mama, Lacey, so I could exercise them at the same time on trails close to home.

I started off trying to get him to trot next to us in my arena.

Whenever I gave the cue to trot, he’d just stubbornly lag behind or even stop and plant his hooves.

I even carried a dressage whip to tap his behind a bit to urge him forward, but Indy showed no fear or respect of the little whip and continued to move at his own slow pace, which was yanking my shoulder out of its socket whenever I cued Lacey to trot.

In other words, I was frustrated.

Indy’s a smart boy who does very well responding to cues in ground work, so I’m sure he was giving me a hard time because he knew I wasn’t about to jump on and off Lacey until he cooperated.

When his attitude began irritating Lacey, I dismounted and did ground work with him before stopping for the day.

When relating the problem to visiting friend Z Barker, she asked, “Are you using a rope halter or nylon?”

Zap! A lightning bolt zinged my brain into recalling how rope halters (because of the way they’re constructed, with two ropes crossing on top of the head) give pressure, thus causing the horse to yield and move forward to gain relief.

Horses don’t feel the same intensity wearing nylon halters with their comfortable, flat straps.

I grabbed a rope halter, slipped it over Indy’s head and voila: He set off trotting with no problem.

Once again, it was the good old-fashioned way that prevailed over modern gizmos and gadgets.

I actually did use a modern gizmo at first, my muck truck (in other worlds known as a golf cart), to trot Indy around and around in my sand arena until he got the hang of moving from slow to fast and turning.

Then, riding Lacey and leading Indy to Cassidy Creek DNR trails was quite enjoyable, so much so I’m thinking of adding a second horse to pony, our little Shetland Snowball Express.

Snowball’s a bit of a rascal, though, so it might be more of a challenge.

Only one way to find out, right?

JEA seeks volunteers

The Jefferson Equestrian Association is looking for volunteers (horse experience not necessary) to help with its Horse Partners program during its Children with Disabilities riding program.

On six Tuesday afternoons beginning June 25, Horse Partners, a program developed by JEA in partnership with Camp Beausite Northwest, offers lessons with the help of PATH-certified therapeutic riding instructor Mary Craft Nepute.

Each class can have up to four riders.

Most riders require three volunteers each to assist the rider in tacking and mounting, as well as side-walking.

Volunteers will be trained, and classes will be conducted according to therapeutic riding principles established by PATH.

Classes will be held at Heron Pond Farm, 152 Douglas Way in Port Townsend.

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at Heron Pond Farm, there will be the training session for volunteers.

To volunteer or for more information, contact Nepute at 713-449-7418 or marymcraft@yahoo.com.

For information on PATH, visit http://tinyurl.com/lb4rvek.


■ 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday — Patterned Speed Horse Game Show at Quarter Moon Arena, 383 W. Runnion Road in Carlsborg. Phone Waynora Martin at 360-683-6902.

■ Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16 — Freedom Farms Cowmanship Class, 493 Spring Road in Agnew. Phone Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897.

■ 10 a.m. Saturday, June 22 — Jefferson County Horse Project Open Schooling Show at Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Entry fee is $25 for the day. High-point awards will be given to each age division. Concessions will be available. Show forms are available at most feed and tack stores. For more information, phone Ashley Govia at 360-301-4103.

■ 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 22-23 — Back Country Horsemen basic skills workshop at the Baysingers’, 2094 Bear Creek Road 15 miles northeast of Forks. Learn about camping and riding in the backcountry, how to highline, packing demonstrations and more. Cost is $10 per adult, $5 per youth, $20 max per family.

Register by Monday with Jen Bond at 360-461-9588 or mama_rides@yahoo.com.

■ June 24-28 — Freedom Farms Summer Camp I. See above entry for more information.

■ 9 a.m. June 29 — Back Country Horsemen Olympic Discovery Trail Dan Kelly trailhead dedication, ride and potluck. Phone Cate Bendock at 360-457-4970.

Directions: Take U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles and turn right onto state Highway 112, left onto Dan Kelly Road, left on Colville Road (0.7 miles ahead), then take an immediate left into the Dan Kelly ODT Trailhead parking area. Trails go from easy to intermediate. Some rocky spots on trail; shoes optional.

■ June 29-30 — Patterned Speed Horse Game Show at the Crosby arena, 122 Franson Road in Agnew. Show starts 9:30 a.m. June 29 and 9 a.m. June 30. Phone Pam Crosby at 360-670-3906.

■ Noon to 2 p.m. June 30 — Freedom Farms Adult Horsemanship Class. See above entry for more information.

■ July 6-7 — Olympic Peninsula Zone Star Spangled Horse Show at the Clallam County Fairgrounds. Ride all day or weekend for a flat fee. Phone Kyle Ellis at 360-461-0006.

■ July 27-28 — 4-H Pre-Fair Horse Show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Phone Tanya Schweitzer at 360-301-3559

■ Aug. 10-11 — Bill Ritchie of the National Mounted Police Services’ de-spooking and equine confidence clinic at Olympic View Stables on Finn Hall Road. Register via Patrick Christensen at yexele@wavecable.com or 360-990-2572. Two-day clinic, $250; $100 deposit to reserve a place. Auditing is $25 a day. For more information, visit www.mountedpolice.org. BCH members will receive free stabling. Phone Carol at 360-912-4005 to reserve a stall.


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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