The Iowa Horse Fair Adventure

On Thursday morning I was greeted by this on the dashboard of our truck (with a trailer on and three horses on board):

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I did not want to deal with that the whole weekend of driving back and forth from the Horse Fair in Des Moines, so I cranked up the air compressor and pumped up the tire, then put in a call to Trickle’s in Ames, who are awesome by the way.  They said, “Sure, we can get you in,” and by the time I drove the 20 minutes to get there, they had a mechanic freed up and got me in immediately.  They found this in the tire:

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A self-tapping phillips-headed screw! Excellent.  Not really, not really.  But what was excellent is that they were able to patch the tire and I was in and out in less than 35 minutes (just enough time to walk next door to McDonald’s and have hotcakes and sausage which I have not done since I was about 12 years old, and, incidentally, it is still a sugary, fat-loaded festival of nutrient-void deliciousness [that I will probably have again about 12 years from now, because unless I am killing time waiting for a tire to get fixed or something similar, a sit-down breakfast at Mickey D’s is a No, just no.  But I digress.])

The horses (Howdy, Bravado and Sammy) waited patiently on the trailer while the tire was fixed and I got my hotcakes fix, and then we were off to Stagecoach Stables in Ames where they were kind enough to allow me to bathe all three horses in their fabulously huge and neat-as-a-pin wash rack.  It can be completely closed, so with three horses in it and warm water in use, it got toasty fast.

I squeegied them and wrapped them in wool coolers and loaded them on the trailer and drove south to the State Fairgrounds.  I set up the stalls and settled them in.  Then it was time to hack around.  It was a pretty surreal to have the fairgrounds pretty much to myself.  I got on and rode Howdy to the Stock Pavilion.

He walked around fairly relaxed and continued with some pretty decent trot and canter work.  He walked flat-footed around the park other than a few reasonable shies at manhole covers.  Pretty good!

Then it was Bravado’s turn, and unfortunately for his peace of mind, a lot of people and animals arrived while I untacked Howdy and tacked Bravado. Bravado’s ride included trailers driving everywhere on the way to the Pavilion, and children running up and down the bleachers in the grandstand of the pavilion, which he actually dealt with pretty well.  Then there was a racket outside of the Pavilion – of trucks, and hooves on aluminum ramps.  Rodeo stock?

Almost.  When we left the arena, we were greeted by these two beauties, members of The Rawhide and Dusty Show.  They were in a paddock and they were being pretty sedate.  I really wondered what Bravado would do when I asked him to walk by them, and he surprised me by doing pretty much nothing.  He gave them a glance then walked right by them.  What?  Good man!

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Then we continued on:

These are pictures of the Pulver East Arena, which is a spectacular venue.  I actually prefer it to the Pavilion.  It has arguably better footing and a vastly better sound system.

Then it was Sammy’s turn.  Sammy is 15 years old and has a lot of experience.  sammyyellow

I rode him in the pavilion and he was spot on.  He was moving beautifully and on the aids.  Then I petted him and let him walk on a long rein and he was looking around and finally allowed himself to enjoy this:

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Stick horse race practice!  What a fun way to end the day!

That was day one of the Horse Fair Experience, and there were three more days of the Horse Fair.  The days were entirely too long for me to write anything sensible in the blog.  I’ll do installments on them in the upcoming days.  Stay tuned.

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