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ME Morgan Benefit Show - August 10, 2019

I had not been planning to bring Ellie to this show, but an email had gone out to members a few days prior that entries were a bit low.  So in order to support the club, we headed out to Pineland Farm the morning of August 10, for what promised to be a gorgeous summer day!  All photos that I am in were purchased from the show photographer!
I always think these types of shows are going to be fine, but at the end of every single one of them, I always remember why I should stick with dressage and eventing haha.  That is not to say there is anything wrong with open shows or the club that runs them; this is just not the type of showing we do well at because she's not a "show horse".
The show was held at a gorgeous facility that boasts both large indoor and outdoor arenas.  They chose to have the show indoors with warm-up outside, which is fine, but Ellie was not a fan of the indoor.  One corner was open to the large and echo-y storage area where they had set up the secretary…

Fryeburg Fair 2017

My husband and I made the decision to bring our little red steers to the Fryeburg Fair for the week of October 1-8, 2017.  This was a fairly large undertaking, as being at a fair for eight days is a lot of freaking work haha!  It was possible only because it was one of my husband's vacation weeks and because we live just ten minutes from the fairgrounds, so we were able to come home each night, in order to take care of our other pair of steers and the horses as well as sleep in our own beds!  We don't have a camper (yet!), but we still would have had to care for the animals at home anyway. 


All set up on the first Sunday!
My plan was to buy a few mums and pumpkins to decorate our stall.  My husband chimes in with, "Why don't you paint the pumpkins?" hahaha so I did my best.  
I ended up being at the fair for five out of the eight days, as I took two (of three) personal days on Wednesday and Thursday.  I went to work on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.  Thankfully, we had the day off from work on Monday, October 10, so we were able to recuperate, catch up on laundry, and go grocery shopping!  And of course, I finally had time to ride my horse and actually do more than just throw food at them and clean them out!  ;-)

Overall, I would say it was a good week yet incredibly exhausting.  The heat was crazy for this time of year and then the last day, Sunday, was yucky on-off rain and humid.  My husband took the steers in the working class on Wednesday and the scooting contest on Sunday, while I did best matched, best pair, and single steer on Thursday.  He won the working class out of fourteen pairs and placed second (just barely behind the winner!) in the scoot out of 35ish pairs, which was great!  Red and Rusty really are a handy team.  I placed fourth with them in best matched and sixth in best pair, which I was sort of disappointed with; they are light for the class (they organize them by weight), but I also think they are a nicer looking team than some of the others, but that's showing for you!  ;-)  In single ox, I just took Red and out of 33 animals, he placed third!  


Working class
Working class
Our first ribbon of the week and it was blue!
So, what does all this mean?  I admit, I knew basically nothing about showing steers/oxen before I met my husband, because all I had seen was showing dairy cows, which is kind of just an in-hand class.  Working class is really just a class where the judge looks at how the teamster handles the pair and he asked them each to come out of the line up to do haw and gee turns (a figure eight) and then back up.  We heard later on that the judge told other officials at dinner that night that my husband was one of the best teamsters he has ever seen, so that was a nice compliment!  The scooting contest is where the teamster drives the pair through a little course (usually cones, but at Fryeburg they use stumps) with a wooden log scoot attached behind.  The object is to score as close to zero in the fastest time possible.  You accumulate penalty points for hitting an obstacle, going out of bounds, and how far away (in inches) you halt the scoot to the post at the end of the course.  The first place winner of the scoot scored a zero with a time close to four minutes, while my husband was mere millimeters away with a time of 3:06 minutes, so he was given a score of one.  In fact, the left runner of the scoot was right on the line, while the right runner was just behind it (I watched the judge measure both runners twice and supposedly they are only supposed to measure from the left runner...) so I suppose my husband should have won but heck, second in such a huge class is pretty awesome too!  It took three hours to get through that class in the rain on Sunday LOL!


Scooting contest
Scooting contest
Scooting contest - halt at the end
Best matched and best pair are pretty self explanatory and you really just walk around once and then stand in the line up.  This judge had us do gee and haw turns out of the line up as well, but that doesn't happen with every judge.  In best matched, they are looking for the pair to match the best in size, shape, and color while best pair is the pair the judge would take home, so more of a best overall class.  Teamster skills matter too, so the cattle should be well broke, which is why I was surprised that our well matched pair who are super broke (and I never had to touch with the stick) placed below cattle who were not nearly as broke, and driven with much more stick and voice.  That's showing for ya.  Red and Rusty are quite handy and as long as I place my body appropriately and raise/move the stick in the right spot, they barely need much direction.  I did softly say gee and haw, but I didn't have to repeat myself or touch them.  

Single steer is kinda weird where you bring your best animal in alone with a halter and a stick.  I had to finagle how to hold the stick and the lead rope a bit because my instinct was to hold the lead in my right hand and the stick in my left, but when you drive you hold the stick in your right hand, so it was awkward to me.  I do like the feeling of being connected by the halter, because only using a stick, my body, and my voice to handle a pair of animals hooked together with a yoke is foreign to me as a horse girl!  I just stood there with Red and had to fight my instinct to move around him to keep him between the judge and my body, as one would do in an equine in-hand class LOL!

We also participated in a large group photo, where Fryeburg Fair was trying to set a world record of the largest gathering of yoked animals.  I am told there were 159 pairs!  We are down in the lower left hand corner, and you can see me in a grey shirt and jeans.  My oldest son is sitting on the white fence in front of me in a blue shirt.



The parade was funny, because normally as my husband got older out of 4-H and into pulling, he would not participate.  I figured since this was my first time having cattle at the fair for the week, we should do it!  I took Red and Rusty and my husband took our youngest son in his little Radio Flyer red wagon haha.  We did use a halter because you just never know how animals will react in such an environment and there were A LOT of cattle and people and other animals.  Red and Rusty were fine (of course) but the halter made me feel better and we were given a dollar bill and a little blue cucumber ribbon for our participation! Because our two year old child is so darn cute, he was given his own dollar and ribbon as well.  He held it all the way back to the barn and once we had un-yoked and gotten the boys back into their stall, my son crumpled them both up and handed them to me with the word, "Trash!" hahaha.  
Waiting in the longest line in America, aka the line for the Fryeburg Fair parade to start!



I have yet to train my husband to take photos of me, so this is all I have from the entire week LOL!  My head looks strange, but I am happy to note how well my outfit matches my steers lmao!
Not impressed with his dollar bill LOL!
Fair season is now over for the year.  I am slightly disappointed Red and Rusty did not sell, as our plan had been to buy them, train and show them for fun, and then sell them at Fryeburg.  I hear that no one bought or sold anything really, which is weird.  My husband said in the past there was always a lot of cattle dealings on the last day.  I guess that's the last time I listen to his grand ideas haha!  ;-)

We really didn't plan to winter them, and they can't be turned out with my horses because the darn things won't respect our electric fence (ugggg).  Of course, at the same time, they are a super nice team and will be fun to play with again next year, though my husband will be back to pulling.  He sat this year out with a young team who were not yet big enough to fill the smallest weight class (1600), so I don't know how we will make time to show a pair and pull a pair, since pulling and showing are not on the same days.  We shall see!  Maybe they will sell at some point later on, which is fine too.  Either way, we had fun and I loved seeing how to take a pair of babies (Red was only two weeks old when we got him in March!!) and train them up!

Our ribbons!


I don't normally put a ton of photos of my kids on my blog, but these are too cute not to post!
It looks like he is checking his phone, but that is his little toy train (James, from Thomas the Train) in his hand
Yes, he is hugging (and subsequently kissing) his steer on the bum LOL! 


Helping
I love how the baby is drinking his sippy cup and hanging onto the grain buckets
Helping fill water buckets...
And of course, you have to splash a little!
Watching pulling with his milk and his train!


More helping

Fair naps are the best naps!  This was occurring at the same time on Saturday LOL!

Comments

  1. Sounds like a fun week, though 8 days is a lot!

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    1. It was definitely a lot and I am glad it is done for the year!

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  2. I know nothing of Oxen really but I love watching them at fairs. They always seem so calm but intelligent.

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    1. They are certainly interesting creatures and so much calmer than horses! It is strange in a way, because much of how we handle them is similar to horses but so much is different. I have to fight a lot of my horse instincts when working with them. I never in a million years thought I would own, much less handle, oxen but they are pretty fun! It'll never be my "thing" but I like that my husband includes me (though he will never get on my horses hahaha despite spending his childhood desperately wanting to be a cowboy!!) ;-)

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  3. how fascinating. I know nothing about steers/oxen/etc. Love learning more and yours are adorable. I dont know if i could sell them. LOL> that sounds like a long fair :) I am glad you guys did so well. I love the photo of everyone sleeping HA!

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    1. Thank you! I never thought I would think a pair of steers were cute, but they totally are! LOL! ;-)

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  4. Sounds like a blast and congrats on the great placings even tho the pair didn't sell! Thanks also for writing out so much detail about the classes and judging since I'm another that doesn't really know anything about any of it - seems pretty cool tho!

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    1. Yeah, it is a lot like horses and sorta not at the same time. I figured my horse friends might like learning a little somethin new!

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  5. Oh man, if we had a place to keep them Hubby would be up there with the trailer in a heartbeat to buy them off of you. He's obsessed with getting a pair and he loves when I show him the stuff you post about them!

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    1. Oh girl, find a place to keep them and we will give you a deal!!! ;-)

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