Port Angeles Hardwood's Brandon Dodson

Port Angeles Hardwood's Brandon Dodson

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Trials of wild cow milking, muddy trails

PA HARDWOOD’S WILD cow milking team members told me they had a grand time at the Roy Rodeo earlier this month, especially after achieving the best time overall in the two-day event, winning prize money and silver belt buckles.

Team member Marty LaBarge told me the event included six cows, with three people to one cow a chute: a mugger, an anchor and a milker.

“At the buzzer, we all open our gate and hold onto a rope connected to a cow halter — and it gets Western really fast at that moment,” he said.

“The first day, we finally got our cow stopped, and Justin went to get milk in his bottle when a cow from other team, with three people being dragged, blasted into us, and we all went flying to the ground.

“I got two black-and-blue hoofprints on the back of my legs and a mouth full of dirt.”

Sadly, they earned a “no time” the first day.

At the end of that day, the time to beat became 24.75 seconds.

The next day, he said, the team drew last and got a different cow.

“It was my 57th birthday and 20th year of my competing in this event in Roy,” LaBarge said.

“It was Justin [Brown]’s 12th and Brandon [Dodson]’s fourth,” said LaBarge, adding in jest: “It seemed the stars aligned for us, and the cow decided that it wanted to submit to a man [Brandon] in search of his first buckle, and the rest is history in 20.37 seconds.

“We got a little dirty that day.”

Prickly insect

As I led my horses Indy and Lacey out of their paddock gate this past week, a loud “Ouch!” sprang forth from my lips.

A wasp had stuck its stinger through the corner of my left eye.

An attempt to swipe the prickly insect away caused it to slide down to my cheek and sting it before giving a final burning thrust to my neck before I was able to squash the angry bugger.

Although the left side of my face numbed up a bit, I was determined to get out and ride Lacey, while leading Indy, on trails close to home.

With mosquito season in full force, I first sprayed repellent on the horses, my dogs and finally myself before hitting the trail.

We began our trek on a dirt road before veering off on a trail through the woods.

Soon, I heard the sound of dirt bikes speeding toward us.

I pressed the horses into a trot to find a place for us to get off the trail, lest we be hit.

Just as I found one, the bikes came suddenly around a bend, braking to a halt just a few feet from where we stood.

My horses and dogs are quite familiar with dirt bikes racing around them, as my nephews when young spent hours racing around them in our pastures.

Still, I was very happy to see the alert lead rider signal for the rider behind her to stop and shut off her motors.

The riders were two young gals, and I commended them for their good judgment before moving on.

Muddy trails

This time of year, the trails are full of mud puddles in various stages of drying up, which makes for a type of mud that can easily suck a horseshoe off — and this ride was no exception.

After going through one, I sensed that Lacey’s gait was off.

Looking back, sure enough, I saw one of her metal shoes protruding from the mud.

Dismounting, I retrieved the shoe and decided to take the saddle off Lacey and ride Indy.

I quickly changed horses, found a stump to aid me in mounting up, and we were on our way.

Two minor problems, though: Indy was still wearing his halter (less control than his bit), and Lacey was still wearing her hackamore headset and lagging behind.

Indy set out walking much too fast for Lacey’s liking, and her leather headset was not motivating her to keep up with us.

When we were back on dirt for the final leg home, Lacey, likely due to the rocks on the road, really slowed to a snail’s pace.

I soon tired of slowing Indy down and her yanking my shoulder back as she slowed down even more.

It was frustrating. Worse, the once-sunny sky had turned gray, and it started to sprinkle.

I reasoned with myself that horses are herd animals, and we were headed home, so if I were to let Lacey go, she would likely follow us home — I hoped.

And really, I don’t recommend trying this because it could have gone very wrong, but I tied her reins around her neck and let her walk freely behind us.

She did stop and graze but never let us out of her sight before trotting up behind us.

Much to my relief, she followed us all the way up the driveway to home, arriving just as the rain started pouring down.

Junior High Rodeo

Ally Billings of Sequim won Rookie of the Year and was runner-up for All Around Cowgirl to Jace Johnson of Rosalia at the state finals in Kennewick.

She finished first in year-end points in ribbon roping with Chad White of Benton City.

Ally and her horse, Donny, also placed second in both barrels and poles.

Kaitlyn Meeks was All Around Cowgirl.

She finished the year fourth in goat-tying.

Jake Warren was first in team roping with Jace, third in ribbon roping with Taylor Turner of Kennewick, third in tie-down roping and fourth in chute dogging 

All three qualified for the national junior high finals in Gallup, N.M.

The event will televised on RFD TV starting Sunday at 7 p.m.

High school rodeo

Wyatt Billings is off to Winnemucca, Nev., for the Silver State International Rodeo from July 2-6.

Students placing fifth through 15th for the year attend this rodeo.

Students placing first through fourth attend the high school finals in Rock Springs, Wyo.

Wyatt placed seventh in steer wrestling and 12th in team roping with Charlie Theile of Goldendale.


■ 10 a.m. Saturday — Jefferson County Horse Project Open Schooling Show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Entry fee is $25 for the day. High-point awards will be given to each age division.

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. Saturday-Sunday — 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.

Registration was due June 10.

For more information, contact Jen Bond at 360-461-9588 or mama_rides@yahoo.com.

■ 9 a.m. Sunday — Silver Spurs 4-H annual horse show at Clallam County Fairgrounds. Entries are available the day of show or by local 4-H leaders.

■ 9 a.m. Sunday — Back Country Horsemen Dan Kelly ODT Trailhead dedication, ride and potluck.

The dedication is at 10 a.m., with the ride to follow.

Take U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles, turn right onto state Highway 112, left onto Dan Kelly Road and left on Colville Road 0.7 miles up. Then take an immediate left into the Dan Kelly ODT Trailhead parking area.

Trails go from easy to intermediate.

Phone Cate Bendock at 360-457-4970.

■ 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday — Free hay workshop at Agnew Grocery and Feed, 2863 Old Olympic Highway.

The Clallam County Conservation District, Clallam County Noxious Weeds and local farmers and experts will show what to look for when selecting hay for horses and livestock.

Topics include choosing the best quality hay, evaluating its nutritional quality — including the pros and cons of different types — and identifying poisonous and noxious weeds.

Phone Jennifer Bond at 360-452-1912, ext. 110.

■ June 29-Sunday, June 30 — Patterned Speed Horse Game Show at the Crosby arena, 122 Franson Road in Agnew.

Show starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 29, and at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 30.

Phone Pam Crosby at 360-670-3906.

■ Noon to 2 p.m. June 30 — Freedom Farm Adult Horsemanship Class, 493 Spring Road in Agnew.

Phone Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897.

■ July 6-7 — Clinic with Rick and Kitty Lauman at Spirit Horse Ranch, 207 Mountain Valley Lane, Port Angeles, www.laumantraining.com.

Phone Dave Seibel at 360-640-9472.

■ 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.


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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