Equine clin­ics of­fer games, ed­u­ca­tion and skills

Record Observer - - NEWS - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — Many of the 4-H’ers who kept their horses at the horse barn dur­ing fair week had op­por­tu­ni­ties to have fun with their horses in equine games, learn new eques­trian skills and knowl­edge about horse care on Thurs­day, Aug. 10. Free clin­ics were of­fered dur­ing the day for those who didn’t par­tic­i­pate in the open horse show held that day.

The clin­ics in­cluded a game that taught the of­fi­cial state sport of joust­ing. Par­tic­i­pants also learned to lasso a sim­u­lated steer head, first while stand­ing on the ground, then rid­ing atop their horses. They also had the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in and prac­tice show­man­ship with pro­fes­sional trainer Julie Witts of Swedes­boro, New Jersey, and fi­nally, learn more about horse hoof care from 30-year far­rier Dave Crock­ett of Stevensville. Each clinic was dif­fer­ent and chal­lenged each eques­trian to learn new skills.

In past years at fair, clin­ics in­cluded learn­ing about rid­ing rein­ing horses, jump­ing horses for be­gin­ners, ba­sic dres­sage rid­ing, play­ing bas­ket­ball on horse­back, team calf pen­ning, and a timed trail chal­lenge, to men­tion just a few.

For­mer QA Fair horse show chair­man Don­nie Pot­ter said, “We used to plan clin­ics with fun as the pri­mary in­gre­di­ent for the 4-H’ers. Of the ac­tiv­i­ties, we tried to have two fun events for ev­ery one ed­u­ca­tional clinic. We wanted each 4-H’er to re­mem­ber that fair was fun first, and re­mem­ber­ing that, they’d want to come back next year.”

Pot­ter, who had two grand­daugh­ters stay with their horses at fair this year, helped with the roping clinic. It was clear the kids had fun do­ing it, he said.

“It was some­thing new we learned and ex­pe­ri­enced,” said Sr. 4-H’er Rachel Grabowski, 15, of Ch­ester.

When the roping moved into the show ring, a chal­lenge was put out by Pot­ter, “Who­ever is the first to rope the mov­ing steer head wins $20 cash!”

The 4-H’ers who at­tempted this on horse­back fol­lowed be­hind a sin­gle bale of hay with a mounted plas­tic steer head atop it in­side a lit­tle red wagon that was pulled by a four-wheeler across the show ring. Af­ter nu­mer­ous 4-H’ers’at­tempts, Rachel was the first to do it and won the $20.

The joust­ing game in­cluded snar­ing joust­ing rings with the joust­ing stick while do­ing a trot atop their own horse. Each ring scored a point, and the most rings snared won.

Julie Witts had 4-H’ers go through sev­eral show­man­ship pat­terns with their horses, prais­ing and adding cri­tiques for in­di­vid­ual im­prove­ment.

In the af­ter­noon, Dave Crock­ett spoke to the 4-H’ers about car­ing for their horses’ hooves. He showed them many dif­fer­ent types of horse­shoes and what each shoe is used for.

He said, “Some horses can go shoe­less, and some have to have horse­shoes.”

Horses with­out metal horse­shoes have to have their hooves trimmed fre­quently (about once ev­ery six weeks); those who have metal horse­shoes have to be re-shod ev­ery eight weeks.

Crock­ett said, “Done cor­rectly, nail­ing the horse­shoes on the horse’s hooves doesn’t cause the horse pain. Some peo­ple be­lieve it causes the horse pain. Done cor­rectly, that’s not true.”

Though Crock­ett has more than 30 years prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence shoe­ing horses, he still at­tends yearly clin­ics to learn his craft bet­ter. He is a mem­ber of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Far­ri­ers that spon­sors ed­u­ca­tional far­rier clin­ics around the na­tion. Crock­ett is also a for­mer pub­lic high school sci­ence teacher, re­tir­ing af­ter 30 years of teach­ing in Mary­land.

Vet­eran 4-H leader Don­nie Pot­ter had a lasso placed around him as he in­structed these lo­cal 4-H’ers in the art of roping dur­ing the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Fair at the horse barn. From left are Maken­zie Miller (hold­ing Levi Marx), Pot­ter, Rachel...


Su­san Witts of Swedes­boro, N.J., left, puts on a horse show­man­ship clinic for 4-H’ers keep­ing their horses at the horse barn dur­ing fair week. Here she gives in­struc­tions on proper tech­nique. Witt ran the 4-H’ers through sev­eral show­man­ship pat­terns,...

Far­rier Dave Crock­ett of Stevensville holds up a horse­shoe as he speaks to 4-H youth at the horse barn dur­ing the QA Fair, Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Aug. 10. Crock­ett talked about car­ing for horse hoofs prop­erly and the dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing horses with...

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