BY ASHLEY FISCHER Contributing writer
For Joanne Galbraith, horse shows should be less about what you're wearing and how shiny your saddle is and more about, well, horseplay.
Which is why her annual "Horse Ranch Fun Day," held as close to April Fool's Day as she can get it, has "fun" right there in the title: It's a day for horse owners and horse lovers to come out and challenge themselves as well as their four-legged companions without a lot of pricey pomp and circumstance.
Horse Ranch Fun Day
When: Registration 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Where: End of the Road Ranch/Galbraith's Horse Trailer Sales, 9010 Hermosa Road
Cost: $75 per rider; includes sandwich lunch
"Everybody's welcome," Galbraith said. "There's no dress code, no fancy tack -- anybody can come any way they want to, and we accept any ability of rider. They can come in ropes and strings and halters if they want -- this is not about being pretty, this is for fun."
Virtually the only rule of this "play day" is that any rider under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet. Other than that, riders are welcome to trot, lope or gallop their way through the main "trail challenge" (sometimes called a "cowboy race") and gymkhana events any way they can.
"The trail challenge is going to be our main event," Galbraith said. "It's like a long obstacle course with streams, mud puddles and curtains, and if the horse won't go through or go over something, then there will be a 20-second time penalty. If they can get through all the obstacles at a good pace, then there's a chance that they'll win."
As for the other events?
"I want those to be a surprise!" Galbraith laughed. She hinted, however, that there would be a couple of additional "control events and speed events."
No advanced registration is required -- all anyone needs to do is show up between 8:30 and 9 a.m at Galbraith's End of the Road Ranch, located on Hermosa Road. Entry fee is $75 and includes lunch from Subway.
Galbraith likes to do things "a little different," than most horse shows, and the way she awards the winning riders is no exception.
Each division will have its own champion, and the first-place winners will select their prize from a table of tack and other horse-related items. The overall winner will receive the ultimate prize: a brand new saddle.
Family members and friends of competitors are welcome and encouraged to come out and root for their riders, because for Galbraith, mixing and mingling with the local community of horsemen and women is all a part of the fun.
"Everyone has a real good attitude," she said. "It's fun for people to see the different things they can do with their horse, and see what a good bunch of horse people we have around here. Everybody sits there and encourages the riders and has a good time. We have fast riders, we have slow riders, one year the man who won the saddle couldn't ride a lick -- even beginners have a chance."