As should be obvious by now – perhaps painfully obvious – I don’t get much else done during the ten days of the Tanana Valley State Fair. I love fair food (though all I can eat are the gyros and now and then the crepes.) I always take in the quilt show. I check out the giant vegetables, the fiber arts competition, and the various organizational booths, though there was a little too much politics for my taste this year. I look at (and occasionally buy) the locally handmade jewelry. I take my annual Ferris wheel ride. (Why does my spell checker insist that “Ferris” must be capitalized?)

red dun head

This one’s a red dun, with a well-marked dorsal stripe.

But all of these are fitted in around the horse shows.

I used to ride, and I still love the classes I used to compete in. I am also on the lookout for horses of unusual colors to use as illustrations for the series I did last year on the genetics of horse coat color. I don’t have all those photos on the old posts yet, but I’ll get them there. I do wish the fair made it easier for spectators!

Silver Dapple horse

Silver Dapple; Rocky Mountain Horse.

The classes I most want to watch, such as dressage, normally start about 9 am. The Fairgrounds officially open at noon. I’ve learned that I can enter early through the livestock gate, though it’s a long walk (with a cane these days, when I’m walking on rough ground) to the horse arenas. This year, though, my hanging around photographing the horses got noticed by the second show, and the superintendent of that show presented me with a pass that actually let me park inside the fairgrounds, by the arenas. Even the man in charge of the gate, who’d obviously been worried by my heading down the dirt road with a cane every day, seemed pleased.

4H Dressage

4-H Dressage

This year was a ten-day fair, with three 3-day horse shows and a 1-day game day (Pony Club.) I went to all of them, and only missed photos the last day, when my camera battery quit. (Yes, I had a spare. An hour’s round trip away, in the plugged-in charger.) This post is mostly sharing photos, though I mainly watch dressage and jumping.

Decorated for the games

The chestnut spots are natural. The others?

Friday through Sunday was a AQHA show, though they had all-breed classes. No dressage, and the jumps were pretty low, but I did get some shots of interesting colors, including a silver dapple, a red dun and a rabicano.

Rabicano chestnut horse

This boy is what’s called a rabicano, with roaning in a brindle pattern on the flank and sides and a white tail base.

Monday through Wednesday was the 4-H show, and they did have dressage. I got some more shots of colors, including head markings. I’m showing only a sampling here, though quite a few will wind up posted to the blogs on horse color genetics. Check back in a few weeks.

Thursday was games, and some of the horses sported interesting decorations. An appaloosa was enhanced with pink and green, and a chestnut was decked out with gold foil stars and a ribbon in her tail. One black or very dark bay had hearts painted on her hip and neck.

Pas de deux dressage

Pas de deux dressage, to music.

Friday through Sunday was the Interior Horsemen’s Association show, and I met some of my old friends from the Jammie Jamboree, including Sport. (He won his halter class.) This show did have dressage, including a pas de deux to music. Also jumping, with some of the jumps a little higher – but that was the day my camera battery quit on me. At any rate I enjoyed watching, especially the backyard jumping class. Ever see a jump of feed sacks, or one festooned with pink flamingoes? Next time I’m going to bring a spare charged battery!