High­light of horse sea­son

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Ayer's Cliff

If you love horses then the Ayer’s Cliff Fair was the place to be last week­end. And that’s ex­actly where Ayer’s Cliff’s Ari­ane Pa­try was, along with her pets: two horses and a pony. “I’m sup­posed to be in twenty-three com­pe­ti­tions at this fair,” said Ari­ane,

smil­ing, in an in­ter­view on Fri­day at the fair­grounds. At the young age of four­teen, Ari­ane is an old pro when it comes to horse com­pe­ti­tions. Af­ter all, she’s been com­pet­ing in them at the Ayer’s Cliff Fair since she was five years old!

“At first I would just sit on top of the horse and my mom would lead,” ex­plained Ari­ane about how she com­peted nine years ago. “This morn­ing I was in the bar­rel race and got a third place fin­ish with ‘Joe’.” Joe is a Haflinger/ Paint mix that Ari­ane has had for five years. “He was not trained at all when we got him.” Joe was hav­ing a busy week­end, com­pet­ing in a lot of dif­fer­ent kinds of races. “Yes­ter­day we com­peted in a fig­ure 8 race, this morn­ing it was the bar­rels, and we’ve got the dash, the key­hole race and pole bend­ing com­ing up,” said Ari­ane.

‘Blondie’, Ari­ane’s fe­male Ap­paloosa, was at the fair in her stall but wouldn’t be com­pet­ing. “She re­ceived a mys­te­ri­ous wound while she was in her stall a few weeks ago. She has a very deep cut on her chest. I have to rinse it ev­ery morn­ing and night,” said Ari­ane with con­cern. Be­fore she was hurt, Blondie was ready to com­pete in show­man­ship, plea­sure and eq­ui­tation events. “Blondie likes to com­pete. Dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tions she lis­tens to the in­ter­com and then does what the per­son says be­fore I tell her what to do. She’s very com­pet­i­tive. She’s my best horse but I think she’ll be okay in Septem­ber.”

Ari­ane’s pony, ‘Ti-Gris’, has ac­tu­ally been go­ing to the Ayer’s Cliff Fair longer that Ari­ane has! “Ti-Gris is thirty years old. He only com­petes in show­man­ship classes – he’s get­ting a lit­tle old! If the horses didn’t want to do the com­pe­ti­tions, they wouldn’t. Some­times you can see that the horse is tired of it, then it’s time for re­tire­ment.”

Ari­ane’s big pets seemed to get along when they came out of their stalls to pose for a pic­ture. “Joe al­ways wants to play with the other horses; that some­times makes Blondie mad. But Ti-Gris doesn’t seem to mind when Joe tries to play with him. He just stays in his bub­ble!” said Ari­ane.

Be­sides the Ayer’s Cliff Fair, Ari­ane also some­times com­petes at CEPWE (Club Equestre Per­for­mance Western de l’Estrie) com­pe­ti­tions. “If you win at those com­pe­ti­tions you can go to the Quebec Games (Jeux equestre du Quebec). I might like to go to the Quebec Games ex­cept that some of the com­pe­ti­tions are held the same time as the Ayer’s Cliff Fair. I love com­pet­ing at the fair be­cause it’s more fun, more re­laxed.”

Com­ing to the end of the in­ter­view, Ari­ane seemed anx­ious to get back to her horses and the com­pe­ti­tions, sav­ing the mid­way and the ar­cade for Sun­day night. But her horses don’t just keep her busy at fair time. “I feed them ev­ery day, and they need to get ex­er­cised a lot, even in the win­ter. Blondie goes to a spe­cial barn for that,” men­tioned Ari­ane.

She doesn’t mind the ex­tra work in­volved in hav­ing such large pets. “What I re­ally like about my horses is, if you’re feel­ing a lit­tle down, they notice. Blondie will give me a lit­tle hug with her head. I love it all!”

Ari­ane Pa­try poses dur­ing the Ayer’s Cliff Fair with her two horses, Blondie and Joe.

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