Horse games provide a day of speed, power and beauty

Horse games provide a day of speed, power and beauty
Dave Mast

The Horse Games show in Charm wouldn’t be complete with the fan favorite Scoop Shovel race, which sees horse and rider dragging a teammate over the terrain as he sits on a shovel.


On any given autumn day, the quaint village of Charm has plenty of beauty and draws people to visit from near and far, but on Saturday, Oct. 10, it wasn’t the stores or the people who had the grounds on the south side of Charm packed, but rather some four-legged friends who put on quite a show.

The annual Charm Days Horse Games Show packed the banks and grounds where a number of horse and rider games drew a huge crowd who were more than entertained by the horses and riders who participated.

As usual, Ray Raber emceed the event and kept things lively and moving. Raber has been emceeing this popular fall event for many years and said it never ceases to amaze him at how many people enjoy coming out to watch the show.

“It’s an amazing event,” Raber said of the horse show. “People love coming to watch the horses and the kids love it, too. We always have some great riders and everyone competes, but it is all for fun.”

The day included a water relay race, a barrel race and pole bending and a jump off where horses leap over a bar that gets higher as the competition goes along. The morning ends with the beloved scoop shovel race that sees a horse and rider sprinting 100 yards with a person riding a shovel in tow.

“It takes a certain kind of brave to sit on a shovel and ride it behind a horse that is flying along,” Raber said with a laugh.

The final performance is the 200-yard dash that brings out the power and speed of the horses.

Raber said that while there are a number of events that showcase the ability for horse and rider to navigate through obstacles and show finesse, the one thing that people always like the most has nothing to do with cornering and dancing around obstacles.

“People love the speed events,” Raber said. “The biggest draws are always the scoop shovel race and the dashes. I personally love the showmanship of the obstacle course, where all the fine-tuning and the relationship between horse and rider comes into play, but people love the speed.”

Nathan Campbell, from Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the people who not only watched the live action but participated in it. He and his wife have a small cabin in Holmes County where they vacation a couple times every year, but they had never been to Charm Days before and wanted to witness the horse show.

“It’s October and the leaves are turning brilliant colors and it is Charm Days, something we hadn’t ever been to before,” said Campbell.

Campbell also ran in the 5K race that took runners up and down some pretty steep inclines, something the native Alabaman was not used to.

“It was pretty rough,” Campbell said of the run. “I am not used to those kinds of hills. We don’t have those down south.”

The day itself was a satisfying one for the Campbells, who enjoyed the fellowship and fun of the horse show.

“You don’t see anything like this in Alabama,” Campbell said. “We enjoy the atmosphere and the people and watching the horses. It’s a really neat environment and I am glad we were able to experience it. It’s just a beautiful town and a fun event.”

While horses are a common sight in Amish Country, pulling buggies, wagons and carts along the country roads or hooked up to a plow in the field, these horses were far removed from the ones that do the everyday work in Holmes County, providing a glimpse of the stunning beauty, power and speed that horses present.

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