Thursday, September 03, 2009

Our family fair day

Tuesday Rick was the horse show vet for the State Fair. Since he had to be there at 8:00 and I didn't fancy another o'dark thirty rising to get all the chores done and my shower taken (not to mention rousting a little guy out of bed early) in order to ride with him, Brian and I drove down later in the morning to join him. We had a great day together and apart, and I took as many photos as my camera batteries allowed. (In other words, "fair" warning: this is a long, photo-heavy post!)

Oregon turned 150 this year, so there were lots of nods to this auspicious milestone at Oregon's annual state "party." A huge sculpture had been added to the grounds just outside the horse show stadium (attendees could vote on the best name for it), and when we walked by it the first time, a huge group of "Red Hat" ladies were gathering underneath it. I thought of my mom, who has loved Jenny Joseph's poem "Warning" from the first time she heard it.

Speaking of the horse show stadium, we spent a lot of time there, and not just because Rick was the vet on call. There was a wide variety of classes and horse breeds to be seen. In the "Carriage, 14.2 hand and over" class alone, there were two Friesians, an Arab, an Arab/Saddlebred, a Shire, a palomino Paint, and a mule competing against each other! I have to admit I was partial to this lovely bay Arab (so was the judge):
Another reason I hung out around the horse barns so much was this dear friend and her very special little stallion Just Keegan:Kate and I have been friends for nearly 20 years; in fact, she was the person who got me into dressage and got me to look into Morgan horses (as a result I bought a yearling colt and trained and showed him to Prix St. George); she has since "defected" and gone over to the dark small side. :-) We happened to be there for the last day of the miniature horse show, and I wanted to be sure and see her jump Keegan in the Open Hunter class.
Sixteen-year-old Keegan is such a gentleman, and has produced champion offspring out of several different mares for Kate. Brian had fun leading Keegan around while we were waiting for his class to begin.

But Brian's favorite - indeed, the favorite of many fairgoers - are the heavy horses. We are blessed to still have a nice selection of draft horse classes at our state fair, and a good-sized contingent of exhibitors. Seven farms participated - four have Belgians, one has Shires, one has Clydesdales, and one has American Creams. The Shire guy and one of the Belgian owners are local clients of Rick's.
But wait; there's more! Brian saw the mutton-bustin' arena and wanted to ride a sheep. We told him he was too big; I don't know if he really was too heavy to qualify, but I thought the sheep would appreciate our decision. This seven-year-old boy was considerably shorter than Brian, and the poor sheep still collapsed under his weight:
Instead, for his one "ride" of the day, we let him have a go at the mechanical bull. Dad gave him some tips on form:
And away he went!If you click to biggify, you'll see the progression of effort and concentration on his little face!

We got to see a good sea lion show put on by California State University, then Rick and Brian watched the Chinese acrobats while I took the horticulture, photography and quilt exhibitsThese were the first two I saw when I walked in the hall, and they remained two of my favorites, although I liked this striking flag design as well:
And, as always, the grounds were beautiful, too:
Beau and Boo's owners came to the fair on Tuesday, too, and we met at the Shetland area. They had mentioned they were considering getting a ewe lamb, so I introduced them to Wally and the friendly little moorit girl that Brian loved when we were there on Thursday:She won their hearts as well, so as soon as they get a quarantine pen set up, she and a little wether Wally has will be joining their growing flock!

That's it for now from . . .


MollyBeees said...

What fun! Gorgeous pics! The one of the Red Hat Ladies scared the Beejeebers out of me though. In small groups they are managible but that's a pretty big herd!

An English Shepherd said...

Great pictures like the miniature horses

Wizz :-)

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Looks like a wonderful time! I didn't get around much at our fair (except to eat and get lemonade :) it wasnt as big this year as it was last year, it has been getting smaller. BUT we have new management! Hoping he has the moxie to make it work for him. That little stallion is so pretty, but why in the world would they have a hunting class for something that small LOL
ps. I like the blue quilt :)

thecrazysheeplady said...

What a great day. Thanks for sharing all the driving pics. I want to see a jumping picture! ;-)

Michelle said...

Sarah, there were no jumping pix, only indistinguishable blurs of black, tan and white. :-)

Jody Blue said...

Those quilts are an amazing show of talent! I so love the draft horses, our fair had none this year.

Tina T-P said...

Great variety of fair pictures - I love that flag quilt too -

We have 9 six horse draft hitches here in Whatcom county. It is always fun to see them - A friend of ours has all sorrel Belgians - they are very pretty.

It is hard to get into the fall frame of mind - I feel your "pain" T.

Christine said...

I LOVE the shot of Brian leading Keegan. The lighting is perfect. Awesome shot. And of course I think the quilts are great too.

Theresa said...

Almost as good as being there! So nice to see the heavy teams and such a handsome head shot you got.
I'm surprised there were no Percherons as it seems they are popular in this area. When I need my draft horse fix, I go visit with Toby, a Suffolk Punch and marvel at his expansive width. His owners use him for logging.
Did they put the drafts and mini's near each other?
They did that one year at Albany and it was quite entertaining to go down that row in the barn.

Michelle said...

Hi Theresa,
For some reason, Belgians are "the breed" here. In fact, the family with Clydesdales USED to have Belgians, too (and used one in their youth pairs team, which you can see in the darker photo). A friend of mine that used to show Clydes all over the country said Percherons are pig-headed and the worst to train; I've wondered if that explains their scarcity but maybe it's just a regional thing. And no, the minis and drafts aren't stabled near each other....

Michelle said...

Thanks, Christine; I really like that shot, too. I only wish the background wasn't as cluttered!

Theresa said...

Belgians are nice even tempered horses usually. I can back up what your friend says about Percherons, all that I have known have been quite difficult to work with, but my experience is not with a vast number only with 5 or 6 here and there. Like any breed there is a whole range of personalities. In any event, watching a draft team of any breed in harness and strutting their stuff is a sight to behold. :-)

Kathy said...

You were right, Michelle...nice pictures of your fair. Ours here is pathetic. I guess I'm just used to the really big, active fairs of the Midwest and Texas. :)

And it was great to talk to you. Thanks for calling Friday morning. :) I felt the hug.