Celebrating Dogs, Mules and Horses at Folklife Fest

The wildly enthusiastic (and loud) coon dogs take off after what they believe to be a raccoon …

… and they swim hard to corner their prey. (The coon dog area sounded a lot like my neighborhood.)

This baying pup was barking up the right tree.

My friend Susan and I were to have met at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in Ferrum yesterday on a photo expedition of the kind we just love. The festival is one of the region’s truly colorful events, full of animals, machines, food, music and cultural history of the first order.

But when we got there, we found no cell service, so we couldn’t find each other (I was there for three hours, she for two) and it was frustrating because I think we feed off each other’s enthusiasm.

Anyhow, I ran my best photos from Ferrum yesterday in my blog and here are some of the best Susan shot. She explained: “Mule jumping: the black mule with white stockings [which I photographed, but the mule was so active, all were blurred] won the jump at 42 inches. (See the winning jump photo below.)┬áThe sorrel mule, love the butt shot, looks just like a mule’s hind end.

“The ‘light’ horse pulling teams went before the ‘heavy’ teams. ‘Light’ and ‘heavy’ teams, means how much the horses weigh, not how many pounds they pull. A bystander told me that he has seen ‘light’ horse teams pull more weight than the ‘heavy’ teams to win overall.
“He said the sorrel ‘light’ team in my picture are Suffolk Punch and they are pulling 3,000 pounds on the sled, and the competition has just started. He said, on a good day, under the right conditions (not mud) he has seen teams pull up to 13,000 pounds! It took a tractor to load the sled with the concrete weights.”

This mule was the winner of the jump at 42 inches.

Susan liked her “butt shot” here. Me, too.

These big, elegant animals carry tons of weight on the sled.

Black horses parade around the competition ring.

Father and son team up to handle their beautiful pair of horses.

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