Highlight of horse season
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.