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Windt im Wald
A Wind in the Woods
Geauga County, Northeast Ohio
since 1995

A TRIBUTE TO THE 4H'ers of the 179th GEAUGA COUNTY, OHIO, FAIR of LABOR DAY, 2002 - - - Or - - - "Arabians are not crazy, spooky critters!"

Every Labor Day weekend we look forward to getting a couple of our purebred Arabian and Half-Arabian weanlings to the Great Geauga County, Ohio, Fair. We often do not win because there is only one halter class, always the first thing on Sunday and Monday mornings, that attracts tons of aged, experienced show ring competitors, both human and equine. Nevertheless, we enjoy giving our babies the experience of riding in the trailer, of getting gussied up, and of seeing the thousands of visitors, human and non-human, that enter through the gates. Last year our 3/4 Arabian weanling, WIW WINDSOME FORTUNE, placed both days against fierce competition and made us very proud when the owner of the Cleveland Indians Baseball Team, Mr. Larry Dolan, of Chardon, Ohio, stopped to chat with us while we exuberantly placed the ribbons in WINDSOME's show halter. There is no question that preparing for the fair is hard work, but an awesome educational and emotional experience.

This year we thought it would be different. Our daughter Kelly was to be married on August 31st in Cleveland. There was much to plan and much to think about. We knew that we would miss the Eastern Crabbet Arabian Arabian Horse Society's Celebration at the Columbus Fairgrounds over Labor Day weekend, and we thought we would be far too tired emotionally and psychologically to prepare a horse for the Geauga County Fair held the same weekend.

We were wrong. On September 1st we woke up thinking we might have the time after all to get our two 2002 Arabian Pinto fillies ready to make an appearance after all at the Geauga County Fair. We spent much of the afternoon finding new areas of white that had not been visible on their bodies for the entire summer and managed to make them smell sweet as well. They stood pretty well to get their nose whiskers clipped and their bridle paths trimmed and even tolerated getting their feet rasped. By the time we finished with them, the sun was descending into darkness, but both babies were radiant. We wrapped them into weanling-size sheets and prayed they would make it through the night without causing the newly emerging white spots to disappear.

We checked them out at 6 AM Sunday to find them both intact and clean! Victory Number 1, since anyone who owns spotted horses knows how difficult it is to keep those white spots clean. Three cheers for Show Sheen!

WIW DIXIE MELODY and WIW COLOR BY CHOICE aka C.C. loaded cheerily unto the trailer at 8 AM, and we were off for an adventure at the Geauga County Fair. At the fairgrounds, CC hopped off the trailer nonplussed but Dixie planted her front feet and dared us to make her come off that trailer. Enter several members of the Geauga County 4H group, Dances with Hooves, and their advisors, who brought carrots, calm expertise, and the desire to help us out of a jam. They quickly assessed the problem as a 4 year old Jersey steer named Boo Boo, who was quietly tied to a trailer about twenty feet from us. Not only was Boo Boo quietly minding his own business but also he was licking the hands of anyone who took the time to visit him. He was saddled up for a riding demonstration. Nevertheless, Dixie could not bear to trust him, and she only came forward when the 4H'ers blindfolded her and then gave her a gentle push from the rear. The rest was clear sailing.

The two fillies made their debuts in the same class and were both honest and willing to strut their stuff and then stand quietly for the judge. Neither one placed among this year's competition, but they both attracted a great deal of attention and affection. Once the Boo Boo threat was averted, they stood still to enjoy the hugs and kisses of 4H'ers and pricked their ears to hear that they were desirable enough to be purchased. They, like Boo Boo, licked the hands of their admirers.

We don't ever stand on a soapbox to preach about our horses. Nevertheless, we wanted to praise out loud the quiet nature and gentle temperament of our babies. In the end, though we wanted to shout, "We told you so!" the affection and admiration of the youngsters said it all without words. We smiled and enjoyed the warm morning sunshine, the gentle breezes, the sparkling beauty of our two prize fillies, and the shared time with kids and 4H advisors. We got some pictures of this shared time, but they really do not capture the preciousness of the moment.

The 179th Great Geauga County Fair is now history. The September days are noticeably shorter, and there is a hint sometimes at night that frostier months are ahead. Next year we hope to have two more weanlings, this time purebred Arabians, to show-off at the fair. We do not expect to win, or even to place in the ribbons, but we do expect that our babies will demonstrate by their quiet demeanor and their loving attitudes that Arabians are horses for all reasons, all times, and all people.

We are privileged to be able to participate in the Great Geauga County Fair, where wonderful animals and animal-lovers are brought together to enjoy the last warm days of summer.

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