Sunday, July 26, 2009

4-H Fair Week

Horses: We'll be seeing a lot of horsey eyes this week and I doubt many of them will look this happy or alert (this is Stanley). This week is 4-H Fair and while we are not taking Stanley to fair for Equestrian Girl to show, lots of other kids will have their horses there. Any week long horse show is hard on a horse and especially for the ones that get pulled out of semi-retirement to "show" one week out of the year or ones that are normally kept on pasture all week long and rarely see the inside of a stall. Depending on the kid the horse may get his legs ridden off all week long or spend many hours stuck in a stall. But the one thing they won't be doing is spending time grazing with their friends in a field and being able to romp around like a horse likes to do.
Stanley is stalled 8-10 hours every night and has been shown extensively by both us and his previous owners. He would probably handle it much better than many horses but I still think it would be very hard on him. A horse that is on pasture 24-7 and then kept in a stall all week? Brrrr. That would be tough. I would be interested to see a study done on how many horses develop ulcers during week long 4-H shows like this... And just to clarify - I think 4-H is a wonderful program and both of my kids have enjoyed it very much. I just think a week-long horse show for 4-H is too long. I think it would make more sense and be easier on the horses to run 2 two day shows back to back and split them by age groups. All the 13 and under kids ride ALL their classes on Monday/Tuesday and then the 14-18 group rides ALL their classes on Wednesday Thursday. This way horses would only need to stay on their fair grounds for 2-3 days tops. Much better in MY opinion.

Motocross: No reports from the boys yet but practice is probably just getting started.

Homeschooling: Huh?


OnTheBit said...

I don't know about ulcers, but they did so a study on horse sleep and 4-h fairs. They got the idea because so many horses from this one county were coming back from the 4-h fairs with these strange lacerations under their knees and they could not figure out why. It took years to target it down to sleep depravation and what they found was that during the week of 4-h the horses were not getting even half as much sleep that they need (and you and I know horses really don't need much) so by the end of the fair the horses were literally collapsing on their knees because they were so tired. I think not bringing stanley was a good move, although it does sink that you couldn't just trailer in for a day or two.

PaintCrazy said...

There's no doubt in my mind that sleep deprivation is also a big thing at fair (for the mom's too!) and probably contributes to the overall stress for the horses - and it's the stress that causes ulcers - but it's nice to see there's actually been studies on it!

I guess trailering in for just a day or two isn't possible because all animals are vet checked on arrival so ALL horses have to come in on Sunday regardless of what days you are showing. And none are supposed to leave early though I think they do make exceptions for that.