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Just as surely as New Year's Day belongs to Eyler's Auction, the first real local event that betokens the advent of spring around here is the Horse Fair put on by the 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program of Carroll County. This year it will be held March 20 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Horse Fair Flea Market which benefits the 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program of Carroll County is the annual fund raiser for this worthy program. It is also where everyone stops in to say "Hi" to each other.

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Anyone who has ever witnessed, or better yet signed up to be a volunteer with, a therapeutic riding program understands that the benefits to those who are limited by physical and/or mental and emotional problems in their lives find not only actual therapeutic benefits from getting on a horse but also the age-old undeniable joy of sitting tall in the saddle of a quiet, good-hearted horse or pony.

It seems no matter how far we have grown away from our agricultural roots into our uber civilization there runs a heartstring from the horse right back to humans. The lonely, the ones who feel outside of the world of the high tech, high powered current infrastructure of today's humanity, and, yes, the children and the childlike all gravitate to the large, warm welcome of the horse. Our airplanes may have slipped the surly bonds of earth but our hearts remain forever somewhere near a more loving life that includes cats, dogs and horses ... all of which are being "discovered" by science to be good for us emotionally and physically.

So, who knew? As it turns out, pretty much everyone.

Which of course brings us right back to the need to get out to help support the Horse Fair Flea Market. This event is organized by the 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program which is the sole beneficiary of it. They are going to use the Shipley Arena building at the Carroll County Ag Center and will set spaces up within that large area which means that there will be plenty of room for everyone.

If you have not been to the Horse Fair Flea Market it is a sight to see. There will be tables of saddles, bridles, leg wraps, harness, horse and pony blankets, halters, lead lines and just about any and every form of equine accoutrement imaginable — pretty much anything you could want from feathered hats to knickers, so to speak. Several people will have art work there — we are a talented group of people — some of it will be custom art and there will undoubtedly be books all about horses, dogs and maybe other animals as well.

I have been given to understand that there will be mini horses available to pet. If you have not dealt up close and personal with a mini horse it's sort of like having that pony pillow from your childhood bed come to life and cuddle you right back exactly as you hoped it would when you were a little kid with a pony fixation. In fact, if your pony fixation has never been thoroughly satisfied — no matter your current age — you need to bring a responsible adult with you so that you don't go home with a mini horse in the back seat of your car.

If you take the seat out, they fit!

For the more serious minded there will be representatives of several horse rescue and equine search and rescue groups there also. If you have always loved horses but absolutely cannot have one allying yourself with a horse rescue is the way to go to fill that need.

And if you are a current rider who wants to give back to your community, joining the good people of the search and rescue riders will give your time in the saddle a sense of purpose that will elevate it even more.

You don't have to stop for breakfast if you are sneaking out before the rest of the household is up because High Ridge 4-H Club will be there providing all of the food, so there will be delicious breakfast sandwiches and homemade baked goods and soups available all day. If you take back homemade baked goods you will probably be forgiven for sneaking out at all.

Isn't it funny how well that works?

The shots and Coggins clinic runs concurrent with the Horse Fair. If you have a horse that trailers well, this could be the answer to a costly bill for making the vet come to you. It's always a nice thing to get that Coggins done early. It gives you more time to lose the paperwork in that overstuffed drawer in the tack room. For information for shots and Coggins contact mstheretreat99@gmail.com.

So, I'll see you there, right?

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410-857-7896

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