The weather is finally not too hot, not too cold or not to wet, but just right, so, I got to spend some time at the barn over these past two days. It all started when I knew that our friends from church wanted to bring their two grandsons to the farm to ride.
Plans were made for them to arrive about 15 minutes before feeding time at 4 p.m. The grandparents brought their grandsons, Cody and Adam, who are preschool and elementary school age. George wanted them to have the experience of brushing and feeding the horses before riding one of them. They were ready and willing to do anything that George suggested for them to try. It was great for me to just watch their activity as they were learning something new, every minute they were there.
The brushing lesson went very well, and then he had them go with him to fill the feed cans and put them in each of the stalls. We all stood out of the way and watched as the horses came running in, single file, and headed directly to their own stall, to happily have their supper. It didn’t take long for all of them to eat their food and run right back outside again. All, except for a horse named “Trobby.”
Trobby is a 30-year-old retired race horse that George raced back in the early 90s. It seems that all the kids who have ever come to the barn have always loved Trobby. So, we put a smaller sized saddle on her for Adam and Cody to use while riding. Then George led them to the outdoor arena. (We couldn’t use the indoor arena because it was being used for 4-H riding lessons at that time.)
First, Adam was put up on the horse and George led him two times around the outer edge of the arena, and then the same for Cody. Just when they thought their riding was over, George told them he would lead them around the arena one more time. While that was going on, I was watching as both the grandparents were taking a lot of great pictures for them to show people the wonderful experiences the boys were having. All the fun was over way too soon, and they lovingly led Trobby to the back gate and turned her out to pasture for the night.
The above all happened two evenings ago, then last evening there was a “Ride Out” at the farm. I wanted to be sure to see what that was all about. I’m not sure why they call it a “Ride Out,” but the horses are definitely out of their stalls, and someone is riding each of them. The riding took place both in the indoor arena with the “Horsemanship” that was going on, and in the outdoor arena with all the jumping that was going on. I went around and talked to most of the 4-H members when they had a few minutes to spare. I got to talk to Trent, Emily, Haven, Grace, Ava, Rene and Cora. One boy and the rest were girls, who ranged in ages from 11 to 17 years. They all told me the names of their horses, such as Wrangler, Ritz, Stella, Shadow, Pirate and Cisco.
When I asked them what type of riding they like the best, almost all of them chose barrel racing, over trail riding. (I’m guessing they like the speed.) However, one of them told me about liking “Slow Barrels,” so maybe it’s not all for the speed. They all told me the amount of time they have been riding, and it ranged from six months to “all my life.” The most interesting part of our conversation was when I asked them what they like to do with their horse besides just ride them. The variety of answers were from “liking to hang out with friends who want to talk about horses,” to liking to “learn more about the horse.” One answer was just two words, “Grooming and Grazing.” The girl explained she likes to walk with her horse while it is grazing. Another said she likes all animals and enjoys watching them. Another said she likes to bath them. Also, one likes to draw horses, because she likes drawing. And the one I remember most was when one of them said she has a miniature horse and takes it to nursing homes for the residents to see.
During all my conversations with the aforementioned 4-H members, I noticed how very well spoken they were and how serious they were in the answers. During the time I was at the barn, I realized that they were all practicing what they were to do at the 4-H horse show during the Delaware County Fair, which is usually held during the third week in September. And, that it was all being done under the instruction of their 4-H advisor, Naomi Derwent. With all their good instructions, I am sure that by the time the fair gets here, they will all know what they need to do to be a winner!
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.