Sunday, March 20, 2011

Horse Sense

(or “Fun in the Remote Highlands of New Guinea,” Vol. 2)           
Unlike in most other places, the largest animal indigenous to Papua New Guinea is not a mammal.
It’s a cassowary.
I know, I know.  Control your excitement.  :)
Yet, yesterday morning, right here in our little hamlet, horses and their riders put on a community event: a gymkhana.  You see, though not indigenous, horses do tend to be a little more tolerant of the saddle than cassowaries.
Several members of the Pony Club have quite a bit of experience with horsemanship, and some even with this type of horse show.  Several others do not, yet they participated anyway.  Fun times for all!
(Though Andie is a member of the Pony Club, she chose not to participate.  The horse she cares for is a 32-year old, stubborn, grumpy old mare.
Hold your jokes; I’ve got Phantasie by a good ten years.)
The day’s events included in-hand leading through and over obstacles, dressage, Parelli games, barrel racing, pole-bending, and the ever-popular “spud-n-spoon” race.
I am not sure if the Spud-n-Spoon race is a traditional horseback skill set, or if it was an infusion of fun in today’s very formal (ahem) events.  Either way, in this balancing race, the eggs normally carried on concave cutlery were replaced by potatoes.
The store was completely out of eggs.
As you may have assumed by now, this horse show was definitely for fun, rather than a serious equestrian meet.  At the very last minute I was asked to be a turnout judge, if that tells you anything.  I told the organizers that surely there was someone there who had more sense about these things than I did, but they still wanted me to do it.  Let’s just say that every entrant passed. 
I mean, they pretty much all looked like horses to me.  :)

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(Updated 13 April 2013)