Play Day

By Patty Wilber

The forests were closed. (But it is raining still! Some areas just reopened!! On the other hand, some of the trails we maintain in the Pecos burned in the Jaraso fire–that is another story…) The point is this: last weekend, we Back Country Horsemen folks had no trail projects to work, so some members decided to put on a Play Day.

They were: Lisa, (Sean helped set up), MaryAnn, Kit, Chuck, Cathy, Linda, & (Vicky helped set up).
Lisa took more than 400 photographs and all of themin this blog are hers (except this one 'cuz she obviously didn't take it herself--tho it was her camera!)  Thanks Lisa!

Lisa took more than 400 photographs (except this one ‘cuz she obviously didn’t take it herself–tho it was her camera!) Almost all of the pictures in this blog are hers.  Thanks Lisa!

 It was not a small undertaking!

There was food and drink and obstacles and games!  I brought my gate, some barrels and a mounting block.

There was a bridge over a tarp, a cowboy curtain (a blue tarp shredded and hung from a rod), a log drag, an elephant block, a slicker and hat, poles, a big stuffed animal that we put on our saddles (wildlife rescue!), move a plank around a barrel, trot over logs, a tent, a walk in wash rack with a  dog at the fence (and you had to back out) and horse bobbing for apples!

We played the ribbon game (ride in pairs, each person holding the end of a ribbon (or toilet paper) and the last pair still holding on, wins), a clothes race (race at whatever speed to the end of the arena, get off, don over-sized clothes, remount, race back to the other end), egg on a spoon (winner is the last one with the egg on the spoon!) and I “judged” walk trot and a walk trot lope class that had horses, mules and donkeys. There may also have been a ride-a-buck class, where you sit on a dollar bill and the last one with their dollar bill gets all the money–not sure if that one went off or not, but it was on the agenda!

Wait!  “Agenda” is just the Wrong (capital Wrong) term for a Play Day.  Game List?  Event Schedule?

It was PLAY! Something us serious and responsible grown-ups frequently forget we can do and enjoy (and it might even be good for us!)

I recruited Marcia (she brought Top) and I took Mojo and Stetson (might as well earn a paycheck while playing, um…does that mean I wasn’t really playing???).

Truthfully, it was lots of fun (and good training).

I have standard obstacles (poles, bridges, gate, cones) that you might see at a show in the class called “trail”–which is really kind of a silly name because the class called trail is rather unrelated to riding on an actual trail… But my horses have not seen some of the fun challenges set up at the play day.

I did not even get to all of them! Bobbing for apples for example.

Cathy and Sox bobbing for apples!

I started on the ground.

Stetson and the cowboy curtain.  "don't wanna"

Stetson and the cowboy curtain: “don’t wanna”

The horses trust me (most of the time) so my strategy was: go through myself, apply some tension to the lead line and ask him to give it try. In just a moment…


Stetson says: …well….

ahh! ok i am going!!

ahh! ok ok i am going!!

Notice that he doesn’t really LIKE it–his head is up and he is moving hesitantly, but I asked, so he tried.  I just love the try!  We did it a few times on the ground and then rode him through!  Mojo too.

Going for it!

Going for it! Look how quiet his body is!

The tarp and bridge were a big non-event for both Mojo and Stetson, which is kind of funny because at the last show, the bridge threw Stetson completely off his game and he danced around it as though it were crouched and ready to attack…For this bridge, Stetson did not even hesitate and Mojo seemed to think it was pretty fun!

The move the plank around the barrel was problematic for both because of the noise of the board on the barrel (our barrels were metal). But, I walked them each around the obstacle, then walked them around while carrying the plank and then walked them one step at a time while riding and both did it really well–if a little slowly! No pictures of this but here is the set up copied from the Internet:

Pick up the board, walk a circle while holding the board and keeping the end on the one barrel. Replace.

Stetson needed more time than I spent to get into the elephant block, but Mojo took to it like his next job will be in the circus (or maybe he just liked the feeling of being so much taller!).  When I rode him to it (after the introduction from the ground), there was no hesitation. Up he stepped!



After the playing, we had wonderful food and a local cowboy poet for entertainment (oh yeah and a meeting).

Thanks to the organizers!  It was a blast.

And more good news: In two weeks Pecos BCH’ers will be back on the trail!  We are packing supplies for the Volunteers For the Outdoors and I will be excited to get Toots and Lacey out there (and Jim will take Cometa–who is recovered and back to his sassy self.)




About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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9 Responses to Play Day

  1. Doranna says:

    That looks like an unbelievable amount of fun!

  2. Marilyn says:

    That looks like a great play day! And YAY for the continued rain!

    • Patty says:

      It was fun and it is drizzling right now…wish it would pour! I can’t decide if I should saddle up or not!

      • Marilyn says:

        I should think, after all that drought, that days of light rain would be better for soaking the earth than a sudden gully-washer that would just run off?

        • Patty says:

          I just wrote a longish reply and it vanished…if it reappears this will be the same stuff…but yes the light rain has ben really nice!!! Scrub oaks have decided they can produce leaves after all! Clumps of squirrel-cached sunflowers are sprouting in clumps, the formerly gray-green cholla is producing new growth, the prickly pear is now succulent with new pad (how do they grow so fast??) anda few verge of death pinons have given it a second go (not sure if they will make it or not).

          • Doranna says:

            We have a handful of mature and gorgeous pinons that are dying fast, rain notwithstanding. It is SO sad. But the prickly pear! They were just little invisible shriveled raisins and now they’re everywhere! And the cholla is all plump and happy…

          • Patty says:

            And some are even blooming…Toots “helped” me take plant pics yesterday–bet you know what I am going to do with them!!

          • Marilyn says:

            I’ve discovered that if you forget to log in with Disqus before you start typing your reply, and then log in, whatever you’ve typed goes “Poof!” That’s sad about the pinons… one of my favorite memories of New Mexico is the pinon trees.

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