HARPER'S FERRY, W.VA. — Do you know the difference between a black horse and a dark brown horse? Do you know what a capping fee is? Or how to change your diagonal at the trot? Or how many beats to a walk and a canter? (Answers below.)
You could have learned the answers to these and other horse-related questions at last Saturday's United States Pony Club's CapitalRegion Know-Down here. A Know-Down is Pony Club's version of "It's Academic" or "Jeopardy," a chance to test knowledge of all sorts of horse-related facts.
At Saturday's regional Know-Down, the seven pony clubs in the region fielded 36 teams, which competed by level of experience. Several Carroll County residents acquitted themselves well at the Know-Down, competing on teams from the Howard Pony Club.
Two teams with Carroll members finished second in their respective divisions. Jessica Dillow, a C-1 pony clubber from Sykesville, captained her team to a second place finish in the Junior C division.
The other second-place team was captained by Jamie Yerger of Sykesville. Jamie is a D-3 pony clubber whose team competed in the Junior D division.
The fourth-place team in that division included Lisa McWhirter of Woodbine and Jenny Conaway of Taylorsville on it. This was Conaway's third year at the regional Know-Down.
"It was a hard test and I think I should have studied more," said the 8-year-old Mount Airy Elementary student with a sheepish grin. "I like coming here because it's fun to answer all the questions and I like seeing the kids from all the other clubs."
Another of the day's highlights for Conaway was lunch, which consisted of popcorn, a bologna and cheese sandwich, punch, an apple anda candy bar -- typical fare at a horse show.
Lisa was not the only McWhirter who competed at the regional Know-Down. Her younger brother Kenny, a 6-year-old student at St. Peter's in Libertytown, was on a team in the Under Eight division. All the kids in that division received huge blue ribbons that, in some cases, were about as big as thecompetitors.
Michelle McWhirter and Paul Brinkley of Mount Airy competed on a team which finished fourth in their division. And Brinkley's brother Michael competed for a team that finished third in another division.
Jenny Conaway and the McWhirter family car-pooled to the Know-Down at Shipley Elementary School here. They all put the time to good use.
"We practiced all the way here," said Lisa. "We studied everything that we thought would be on the test from the D-3 book. But when we got here, they asked us some questions that weren't inthe book."
They all did fine, nonetheless, completing their written test of 25 questions and then responding to oral questions which could be answered individually or after a team conference.
Kenny McWhirter had to come up with five parts of the saddle as an answer to one of his questions.
"The questions were harder than I thought they would be," he said. "But we had a lot of fun."
Quiz answers: A dark brown horse may have lighter, brown hairs on its body, especially around the muzzle; a black horse has no brown hairs at all. A capping fee is paid when you hunt with a fox hunt of which you are not a member. You change diagonals at the trot by either sitting an extra beat or remaining out of the saddle for an extra beat. A walk has four beats, a canter has three.