It's been said that if a horse is left to its own devices, it will eat till it's dead. So it's good horse sense that a topic like "Is the Atkins Diet Right for Your Horse?" should dominate this weekend's HorseFest '04. Other modern concessions gallop into the gathering too. As coordinator Beth Florian says, "The uses of equines in recreational and sporting events have exploded into a $15 billion industry."
Mixing instruction and entertainment, the festival includes stuff for doting owners (info from trainers on saddle fitting and nutrition) and the equine-ignorant (performances by show horses) to chew on.
But horses don't just spend their days munching hay and wearing saddles. They run . . . and fast! Since people figured this out, riders and ranchers have been roping in the benefits ever since. "We'll show the many uses of horses," Florian says. Like cutting, which was once a hand-blistering method of using horses to sort cattle from the herd. These days, it's a popular competition at shows. "It requires very quick responses from the horse," Florian explains. "Sort of like a goalie in soccer." Horseplay happens 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Lake Farmpark, 8800 Chardon Road in Kirtland. Admission is $4 to $6; call 800-366-3276. -- Lucy McKernan
Moonlight Golf: It's darkest be-fore! the dawn.
Golf is hard enough during the day. Cleveland Metroparks' Moonlight Golf series (which begins Friday and runs monthly through September at various courses) at least offers glowing balls and lighted tees and holes to assist late-night linksters. Which, come to think of it, really doesn't help matters if you hook one of those emerald orbs into the surrounding woods. At least they'll look cool ricocheting off trees and bouncing off the heads of other players. Moonlight Golf tees off at 9 p.m. with a shotgun start at Rocky River Reservation's Mastick Woods Golf Course, 19900 Puritas Road in Rocky River. Fee is $18 (which includes a NiteLite ball), and reservations are required. Call 216-267-5626 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci