Horsy News, Views and Attitudes   Vol. 1 Number 27 January 21-28, 2008


Ski Joring This Saturday!


In ski joring a skier – or snowboarder -- is towed behind a horse through a course. Photo courtesy of

North East Ski Joring Association (NESJA)

Clinic Hours Expanded


      A big crowd is expected for next Saturday's ski joring clinic at Olson's Horse Farm. The January 26 event start time is 9 am. Competition starts at noon. The event ends at 4 pm.

      Geoff Smith, President of NESJA, talked about the origins of ski joring. "In 1991 the North American Ski Joring Association organization was founded. North East Ski joring was founded in 2004." 

       "The courses have gates (marked by cones), jumps, and hanging rings.  The skiers have to negotiate the gates. That requires a lot of turning on the part of the skier. The horse gallops in a straight line - it is only the skier making the turns," said ClubPonyPals member Lisa C.   

     "It is a timed event. The fastest pair across the finish line wins.  Seconds are added onto the finishing time for every gate, jump or ring that is missed," Lisa continued.

 See Ski Joring on page 3  

Town Council Holds Hearing About Coyotes

Saturday evening the Wiggins Town Council met to discuss residents' concerns about local coyote threats. 

Naturalist Tom Sanders was one of the first to speak. "When Anna Harley identified those tracks on New Years Day, I knew that she'd opened a can of worms," Sanders said. "People get really worried about them but coyotes mainly eat rodents. They are shy of people and mainly stay away from towns."

Fred Jones of the St. Francis Animal Shelter spoke next. "Whether traps or poison are put out, any hazard that is put out for coyotes may affect a dog instead."

Ella Clark, social worker from Wiggins spoke about her dog's close call. "It was my fault Casey was left out. Those three young girls, the Pony Pals, saved her from being killed! I'll keep her in from now on unless I'm outside with her."

The Town Council voted to create a study commission about the issue.  Commission members include wildlife expert Tom Sanders, Fred Jones from St Francis Animal Shelter, Fire Chief Roger Edwards and artist Wilhelmina Wiggins.


See Coyotes  on page 3

A coyote in snow.

Photo courtesy of National Park Service.



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Horsy News, Views and Attitudes     Vol. 1 Number 27 January 21-28, 2008



Q.  My friend and I love to visit the stable where she takes riding lessons. One of the ponies there is really sweet but her owner does something weird when he does take her out. Before he rides he makes the pony take cookies from his hand in different places like between her front legs and way back on her side. Why is that?                  


A.  That pony is stretching. Just like a runner, he is helping his pony to stretch out so she can move better once he gets on.  Every time she reaches for the treat it helps to become more flexible.  As long as that horse isn't nippy, this is a good way to help her get ready for riding.



Q.  There is a pasture near me where two ponies live. They are always standing head to tail side by side, biting each other. What does that mean? If they are friends, why would they bite each other?


A.  Like the photo above, the ponies are grooming each other, picking off hair.  When horses shed their winter coats, it gets itchy. They bite gently at each other, removing that old hair. 

     Friendly ponies do this all the time.  When one has an itchy back, it will nip gently at the other's withers, then begin to scratch, saying "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine!"

 Pony Pals  Letters

Dear Wiggins Weekly Readers,

       Thanks for all your letters and notes! Lulu, Anna and I like hearing what you think about our adventures.  This week we're still riding out on Pony Pal patrol, looking for coyotes. We also always stop to visit with all our friends in Wiggins.

      With all the snow here, it's hard to get time to ride and care for our ponies. We still have to do all our homework, too! 

       Like you, we are off from school on Monday. That day is a holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King day. My teacher suggested I write a letter to Club Pony Pals about why Dr. King's birthday is a holiday.

      In the 1960's Dr. King held sit-ins and protest marches. Newspapers wrote about what he did. Everyone in America got mad with the way southern black people were being treated. 

      As a result of his work, Congress passed laws. Segregation became illegal. Everyone got the right to vote. For this work he won many awards and even a Nobel Peace Prize.

     In his famous I Have a Dream speech Dr. King said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

      In the time since Dr. King was killed, that has come true for many of us. My dad is a veterinarian here and my mom teaches riding in Wiggins. Because of what Dr. King did, we can go anywhere and do anything that anyone else in America can. 

      For that I am truly grateful. Thank you Dr. King!

Pony Pals, Pam Crandal

Pony Pals Power thought for the day - -

To make rapid progress training a horse, proceed slowly.

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Horsy News, Views and Attitudes     Vol. 1 Number 27 January 21-28, 2008

Ski Joring Clinic

Continued from page 1


 "It's not simply a horse race to see which horse can get down the course the quickest," Lisa explained. "It is easy to ride faster than your skier can turn.  So there is a lot of communication going on between skier and rider." 

     Reggie Olson grinned when asked about the large number of pre-registrations. "I think people want to get out and have fun. This promises to be exciting and good exercise for horses, riders and skiers. The snow we're getting this week will make the course even better."

     Interested riders can call Olson's Farm at 555-1255 for more information.

Ski joring clinic held last month by the Groton Pony club. Photo courtesy of  and (c) 2007 Steve Realmuto@FreezeFramePix.com


Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

Coyote Controversy

Continued from page 1

Another commission member is Ron Crew of RC Horse Auctions. Crew was angry after the meeting, "We have to find a way to get rid of these pests. I'll make sure this committee comes up with a solution soon. There's money lost when animals get killed."

Tom Sanders was sure a solution could be found. "Coyotes are part of our natural ecosystem. If we get rid of these animals, there will be others that move in as long as there is food for them. One solution is to make our town less attractive for them by removing that food supply."

The coyote commission will report its suggestions to the Town Council on February second.