Most "Appy" Tail: Memorial Spirit AKA Spirit
This cool gelding was in the equine soccer demonstration. Aww, poor Appaloosas with these tails-- but honestly, I prefer these genuine war-horse type Appys over the Quarter Horse clones you often see in today's show ring, tail or no tail.
Most Colorfully Dressed Fair Attendee
It isn't just riders and presenters that get dressed up for the fair!
No one will ever beat last year's rainbow-colored vaquero with the small pink floral backpack. (You can see him in this post, about halfway down.) However, this guy with the braids, dreadlocks and druid-like dress (robes?) did a good job of reminding everyone that although we were surrounded by cowgirls and horses, we were still in downtown Madison.
By the way, I saw a woman with red and black hair and piercings wearing this exactly same thing the next day at the 4H tack sale. Is this a new fashion trend, or were they just friends sharing clothes? Either way, it looks comfy.
This is Larry Gage. He is a goddamn badass. Larry told me he fought in Vietnam, where he was taken prisoner twice (and tortured once), exposed to agent orange, and shot at least 7 times. Some of those bullets were taken while rescuing fellow POWs. He still has 2 bullets in his body. Recently, Larry suffered a heart attack, because one of the bullets in his body had grown/pushed its way into an artery or something. Despite that, he was volunteering for several three hours shifts at an informational booth. While still on crutches no less. Larry would like to give a big "Thank you!" to the doctors and nurses in the VA hospitals that keep patching him up- especially the one in Tomah, WI. He also said, "It's not impressive, what I did. Other guys done ten times more."
Yeah, you and I will never be as cool as this man.
This is a great time to mention some other veterans at the fair from two Illinois-based riding programs, Partners for Progress NFP, and BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center. These men and women were from many different branches of the armed forces and were invited to participate in "Heroes on Horses" at the Midwest Horse Fair. You can find the list of those who did here.
Also appearing in red, white and blue were the mustang folks! They did a fantastic job with both their booth and their performance. Their horses bowed, laid down, showed off some fancy maneuvers, and did a great job of showing how versatile and athletic mustangs can be. The only thing they sort of goofed up on was the jumping... but heck, if I was a mustang, I too would probably choose to bust through obstacles rather than jump above them.
Next up, the Best Presenter award goes to... Chris Cox, of course! (Really, who else could it be?)
The guy was funny, helpful, educational, kind, and he made everything look super easy. I was especially interested in his handling of a one-eyed gelding that couldn't stay in a canter.
Bravo to those who worked with Mr. Cox in the arena in front of hundreds of people-- that must have been nerve-wracking. I'm pretty sure if I Chris Cox worked with me, that would be the day that my horse refused to move and I tripped over my own boots.
Honorable mention for Best Presenter goes to this chicken. I didn't get his name, but he was an English bantam rooster about the size of a softball. He stood perfectly on his block amidst huge crowds, posed with people for photos without batting an eye, endured many pettings, and crowed constantly. Very nice job, sir.
Speaking of videos, I can't get the videos I took of the trick riders to load right now, but if you check back, I may get it up yet.
Some still shots of the trick riders:
The award for Most Artificially Fashionable goes to this horse and rider:
I'm sure the rider here is a great gal. She rode well, and was nice to her horse. Her horse seems really sweet too. I just hate everything they are symbolic of.
Check out the heavy tail extension on the horse, probably made from the tails of slaughtered horses. Ew. I guess it's supposed to look glamorous, but to me it just looks fake. It stayed almost entirely vertical and motionless the entire time they were riding.
Their "lope" was the super slow nose-to-the-ground kind where it looks like the horse is severely lame. You can see a good example video here, taken at the 2011 AQHA World Senior Show (Western Pleasure). Every real cowboy who ever rode the range must be rolling in his grave about this crap.
I just do not understand why Western Pleasure showing has gone this direction in the last couple of decades. It's ugly, it's very hard on the horses, and nothing about it actually serves a functional purpose. No real stock or trail horse does this. If you're looking for an alternative to the fake glitter and ultra-slow limping of WP, you might want to try Ranch Horse type shows. The official organization's 2014 show schedule is here, but I believe there are more unofficial ones out there. You could also try Western Dressage-- great, friendly people.
Oh please, please, someone with a worthy horse go breed to that coal-black Morgan hottie! My mare isn't good enough to be bred, but B.H. is in his twenties with only 20 offspring and no intact sons-- someone needs to make another baby in case I ever want access to those awesome genes!!
*cough* Ahem. Sorry, got off track there.
But because I can't have the same studs winning every year, this time I choose...
Uh.... Weelllll... This guy, "A Genuine Article" was pretty nice riding, pretty good looking...
Aww, who am I kidding. Bethesda Horus wins again, despite not even having a stall on Stallion Avenue this year. This stud does Civil War reenactments, trail riding, competitive driving, elk hunting/packing, etc. He's 15.3 and homozygous black and has the conformation of a god. Well, demi-god. Nobody's perfect.
I hearby declare the North Horse "Best Stallion" award permanently retired and in the possession of Bethesda Horus, until the time of his death. May he live to be a still-fertile 35 year old hottie.
Klassy Celebri Te
If you read last year's post, you already know why.
OK, that's about it folks-- time to just flood you with pretty pictures. I hope you enjoyed my recap of the 2014 Midwest Horse Fair! Thank you to all the volunteers who made the Fair possible.
Keep checking my Facebook page for a soon-to-be-published interview with new Wildcat Park manager Bob Ramsey. You'll learn about the equine camping & trail improvements he's planning there. Oh, and I guess I'll have to tell you about my saddle-buying ordeal!