Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mattole Valley Horse Races

It's taken me a while to get to it, but ten or so days ago, anyone with a cowboy/cowgirl heart gathered at the McWhorter's field for an afternoon of horse and dog sport. Seems like the winners are usually the same folks, the diehard horse people, which I appreciate from the perspective of understanding just how much work it takes to successfully train a horse to do what you want, when you want it. I still hope I will have the time and patience to go there someday, but for now, I honor the experts and enjoy watching their horses run!

There was a spoon-egg race, where you must walk or trot your horse while carrying an egg on a spoon. There was a ribbon race, where you and a partner hold a piece of flagging while riding at top speed side by side. In this race, your horses must be rather evenly matched, or you end up breaking your ribbon and losing. There was a relay race. And an "all-out" race, as in, ride that horse as fast as you can. And a trotting race, which doesn't sound so hard, but convincing your horse to trot is maybe harder than making it run.

You could bet on the horse races. You could also purchase home-baked desserts and bid on silent auction items to support the Mattole School. You could eat hamburgers cooked and sold by the Mattole Grange. And you could buy drinks from small children wheeling Radio Flyer wagons with coolers on board. Bev brought her miniature horse, too, which all the little kids wanted to ride.

There were also two dog races, one for small dogs and one for big dogs. We are pretty convinced that our little cattle dog is the fastest dog in our humble little valley. We trained with her ahead of time, having her run between Karl and Drew here at home, knowing that if she could just maintain her focus, she would win hands down. And she would have, too, if she hadn't gotten confused by Karl standing off to the side. I had asked him to take pictures of the race, so I could release her to Drew. In spite of wavering off course to say hi to Karl, and then completely overcorrecting on her way back to Drew, she still took second place. So WE still know she is the fastest girl around.

Waiting at the Start Line with Acer

She's Off and Running Fast

Now, some people I know from my former city life ask me what I spend my time doing up here in the kuntry. Obviously, they don't realize what fun it is to kick back with friends and watch the horses run.

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