Monday, May 25, 2009

Horses are even lead off into the cottonwoods here in the town park to further cool down. After a set time of rest at the start of the gun everything is again loaded up and the same process starts again only this time as they return they have to set up Wall tents and the gear distributed in a certain pattern such as would make a neat camp. At times during this event with all the speed and commotion going on it is not uncommon for riders to loose a horse or two and across the hills can be found a riderless horse racing along. Sometimes with saddle or even pack saddle and possibly gear scattered to the sagebrush. Even in the mountains this can happen as we have had horses roll and break pack saddles, buck them off. You just have to be prepared for anything. It is certainly a place to have as gentle a horse as you can find.

I was unable to stay for the continuation of this part of the race. Combined times for the series of events determines the winner along with penalty points factored in.

The next day the race involves womens teams which can be pretty wild.

Panniers[boxes built of wood and covered by rawhide or the modern ones made of fiberglass]that hold gear are unloaded from both sides of the pack saddle. After all the gear is neatly piled and covered by the manti the horses are unsaddled and let cool.

Unpacking. One rider is jsut removing the manti[the brown canvas tarp]while the other is stacking gear.

Memorial Day in Dubois. Typically cool rainey and even snowey at times. Today is no exception. It is raining pretty good this morning and about 40 degrees. I thought it might be of interest to post this series of pictures of one of our summer events. I have had to work in the Gallery over the weekend but escaped for a few minutes to catch the first leg of the Packhorse Races. This event some 15 years ago was pretty popular around the state of Wyoming but as far as I know Dubois is the only town still holding them.

The event begins with a 2 man team and three horses. At the sound of the starting gun each team[there were 8 teams this year]must take down a preset tent pack it and all other gear that one might find in the mountains at an outfitters camp and pack the pack horse. Judges are watching everything and the diamond hitch can get you points deducted if not done properly- then they are off for [I'm guessing]a 3-4 mile ride. One man pulling the pack horse and an outrider who cannot pass the rider with the packhorse. They also cannot break out of a trot or are penalized by judges who are stationed along the route. In this picture they are just riding back into "camp" where they must unpack and unsaddle their horses and neatly stack their gear