Shingletown (California) August
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Wild Horse Sanctuary Benefit Shingletown, California
Report and photos by Susan Parker
Poetry, Music, and the Magic of Horses
at the Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown, California
by Susan Parker
With the fragrance of fresh alfalfa tickling noses and the musical whinny of mustangs echoing in ears, the stage was perfectly set for The Wild Horse Sanctuary's Open House in Shingletown, California on August 19, 2006. In celebration of their 27 years providing a permanent home for wild horses that would otherwise be destroyed, the afternoon was alive with activities such as horseback rides for kids, wild horse walking tours, and a silent auction. There were various demonstrations such as mule packing by Jimbo Childs of Klamath Falls, Oregon;, Grooming, Saddling & Tacking by Kristin Kuepper of Redding; Q & A with Rob Lydon, D.V.M. of Manton; and horseshoeing by Miles Murphy Farrier Service of Oakrun.
Munching BBQ'd burgers and hot dogs, and tapping toes in the sawdust-covered floor of the hay barn, folks listened to some good old fashioned cowboy poetry and music. Bruce Barron from Redding playing the guitar and harmonica, partnered with Butch Raeg from Manton on his banjo, getting the afternoon off to a fine musical start with cowboy favorites.
Bruce Barron and Butch Raeg
Thomas Weidel of Corning shared some of his original poems written about his life as a sheep shearer and rancher.
Larry Brockman of Redding enthralled the audience with his poetry, particularly one he wrote to honor his wife.
Randy Rainwater from Red Bluff, who describes himself as "a burned out old hippy," recited his original, delightfully written work about living life grounded to the earth. Bill Hooten, a local full-time veterinarian and
part-time cowboy from Red Bluff, shared his own cowboy stories set to poetry as if we were all comfortably sitting around a campfire.
Jim Cardwell from Oroville, a frequent cowboy poetry performer, entertained the audience with his original poetry and songs, including one of his latest, "A Son of California." Jim also makes some pretty darn good salsa, which he had there for sampling and sale. It is some of the best I've ever savored. And Jim's daughter, Megan, won the grand prize of a weekend ride for two. Way to go, Megan!
Patricia Wellingham-Jones from Tehama joined in the festivities, sharing her poems such as "Cow Ponies," "Ghost Horses" and "Cowpoke with a Sore Butt."
Susan Parker, who resides in Benicia, emceed the entertainment portion of the program and recited her original poems, including the latest, "Final Ride," as well as some classic favorites such as "Where the Ponies Come to Drink" by Henry Herbert Knibbs.
Shingletown singer and guitar player Ray Mitchum rounded out the music portion with favorites like "Red River Valley" and one that was requested twice, "Egg Sucking Hound." Ray prays that one doesn't become his signature song!
Show stoppers who accompanied all the performers, since their stalls were adjacent to the hay barn, were former wild mustangs with their own stories - Cloud, Margo and Pathfinder, now gentled into excellent, sure-footed trail ponies. The horses seemed to know the exact time their whinnies and snorts were needed, adding to the magic of the day.
Be sure to mark your calendar for next year's event, August 18, 2007! For more information on the Wild Horse Sanctuary, visit their website at www.wildhorsesanctuary.org.
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