Sandpoint, Idaho is the place to be the third weekend after Labor Day surrounded by the brilliant fall colors at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. Watching the gentle giants of the equine world working in harness is an absolute thrill. Over the years we’ve made friends with many of the mule team drivers, their families and the folks who support and help them ready for competition. It has become an annual event, in fact each year it becomes more like going home to a family reunion than just another horse show.
This year something truly special happened when Helen Eden asked if I might be interested in riding the hitch wagon in a class with her… To say the least that was over the top for me! Yes, in fact, HELL YES!! Saturday evening I gladly shed the cozy warm insulated coveralls that everyone was making light of to sit next to Helen as she put her mules thru their paces. It was the Ladies Mule Team Driving Competition, judged on driving ability against the clock.
When we burst out of the, rather chilly, warm up pen we were ready to make a statement. The team was right on through the figure eights; I could hear the wows from the crowd as she moved them closer and closer without knocking a single cone ball off. The full out run to the isle way of cones and stopping the rear wagon wheel dead center of the last cone was perfect. From there it was a straight back to repeat that dead center stop with the front wheels lined up to the cones. That maneuver could not have been executed with any more precision! The last obstacle was a tight turn around a single cone. What Yahoo fun it was for me to sit there through those exhilarating moments!
Helen won this class in 2009 and this year we, yeah… Like I was some big help, scored the fastest time of the event. Maybe it was me yelling, “Faster Helen Faster” that spurred us on!!!!
Mule Cart class will see a Teamdonk driver guiding a beautiful black Percheron Mule, named Dolly, around the arena. Now that would be one to cross off my bucket list!