Sisters Terri Winters

Sisters Terri Winters

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ PENINSULA HORSEPLAY: Sisters support each other in shows

LISA HOPPER, TERRI Winters and Tina Johnson are sisters by blood, best friends by heart and partners in all things equestrian.

Their latest venture was in Texas, where Lisa and her prized mini-horse LM Hawks Kodakrome, aka Chrome, a 5- year-old bay and white 34-inch Overo stallion, competed at the 2014 American Miniature Horse Association World Show in Fort Worth.

All three sisters are active in the local horse community and enjoy showing their respective horses, but Lisa’s the one who specializes in the mini-horse.

No bigger than a giant dog breed, American Miniature Horses are “miniature” versions of well-balanced horses, possessing conformation characteristics found in most equine breeds, except they cannot exceed 34 inches in height measured from the last hairs of the mane. They can be found in the same variety of colors and types as their larger counterpart, according to www.AMHA.org.

Tough competition

Lisa, Sequim’s code enforcement and animal control officer, says the competition was tough, with Chrome competing against 19 to more than 30 top-of-the-line horses in each class. She was thankful trainer Patty Cloke was able to show Chrome in all of his classes.

She hadn’t planned to go but says in May, they went to a local association show with the intention of “just getting Chrome experience” in driving, or pulling, a cart with a human at the reins during a competitive show.

There, Patty, who planned to retire after the world show, saw Chrome had what it takes to be a winner and asked if she could take him to the world show.

“I was really apprehensive to say yes after my bad experience in Tulsa with my other mini after he got so sick,” says Lisa.

She and Tina competed at the 2012 Pinto World Championship Show in Oklahoma. There, her mini Fernando pulled a ligament, and the attending vets gave him medicine that caused a stomach ulcer, which led to colic. The little horse came close to dying (see Horseplay, July 11, 2012).

To participate in the world show, horses have to qualify at the local level first. Luckily, Lisa says, Chrome qualified for all of his classes at the May show.

With her sisters’ support, they decided Chrome should go to Texas, and away they went.

“While at the show, a big storm came through so we went running out to watch,” Lisa says. “We were out taking videos and snapping pictures.

“There was hail, strong winds and rain. We heard sirens but didn’t think much of it. Come to find out the sirens were warning to watch for tornadoes, and we were out there having fun! Oops.”

Thankfully, a tornado never hit, and the sisters laughed it off.

When not at the show, they shopped and visited friends old and new. Lisa was thrilled to meet in person “so many people that I talk to on Facebook.”

When Chrome was announced grand champion, she says, “I was so happy at how he did in his first couple of classes that by the time it was announced, I was in tears.”

She could see her sisters screaming with joy in the stands.

“And, I finally got to meet the older couple that bred and raised Chrome,” Lisa says.

She bought him from the couple after talking to them and looking at his picture.

“After Chrome won his titles, they came down to the stalls and gave me a huge hug,” Lisa says. “They were so happy with how well he’d done.”

In all, Chrome placed fifth in Versatility class (events in driving, halter and jumping in hand); fifth in country pleasure driving for horses 32 to 34 inches; reserve world champion in ladies’ country pleasure driving; and world champion in stallions’ country pleasure driving.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Lisa says and thinks this might be her “last long-distance show of this caliber.”

Somehow, I doubt that’s true. But one thing I know for certain: When these sisters are together, it’s a time of laughter, fun and even a bit of mayhem and a whole bunch of good storytelling.

Winter kills

It saddens me greatly to know as we head into winter, more and more people are wanting to get rid of their horses and the responsibilities that comes with them. Mostly, it’s because they don’t want to buy feed.

Sometimes, a horse is left to fend for itself in a pasture out of the owner’s ignorance. He or she mistakenly thinks if there is grass in the pasture, the horse is fine.

That’s a fallacy. There is little nutritional value in winter grass. Certainly not enough to keep a horse from starving. The result is horses that are too thin and a few that are starving.

This is why I implore people to count the costs of horse ownership before getting one. However, for those who’d like to rehome their horse, please try now before the horse is starving.

And if you can’t find another home now, please feed quality hay and care for the horse until you can.

If your horse is older, lame or sick, please do the responsible thing by asking a horse vet about euthanasia. There’s no excuse for not taking care of your horse in its final day.

Rescue organizations can assist you in finding a new home. Locally, Eyes That Smile can help. Contact Diane Royall at 360-582-9455.

By the way, Eyes That Smile can use ongoing help in feeding and caring for its rescue horses. Even a few people making a small monthly donation of $20 a month can go a long way. For more information, visit the website www.eyesthatsmile.org.

When advertising a horse for sale, be cautious.

Never offer your horse for free. Times are hard out there, and there are many people who would gladly pick up your pet and take it directly to the auction to be sold to the “kill” market to make $50.

And never take checks. Many folks are left empty-handed after accepting a check from a smooth-talking liar.

Events

■   Saturdays, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20, 9 a.m. — Freedom Farm games and horsemanship show series. 493 Spring Road, Agnew.

■   Sunday, Nov. 16,

9 a.m. — Baker Stables winter series schooling show. 164 Four Winds Road, Port Angeles, 360-457-6039.

■   Sunday, Nov. 16, noon-3 p.m. — Freedom Farm cowmanship class.

■   Sunday, Nov. 23, noon-2 p.m. — Freedom Farm adult horsemanship class.

For Freedom Farm information, contact Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897 or freedomf@olypen.com.

________

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Sunday.

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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