Arts and Entertainment

Ponies flock to Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island Pony Club is hosting its 34th Annual Horse Trials Friday through Sunday, July 9 to 11.

There’s a new water jump and a huge new sand arena that will provide new experiences for riders and spectators.

The event site is open to spectators from 7:30 a.m. to dusk daily. It is located 1.5 miles north of Highway 20 on the east side of Zylstra Road, just south of Van Dam Road. Signs will be posted. For volunteer opportunities, call Roberta Piercy at 360-929-3607.

Whidbey Island Pony Club is a member of the United States Pony Clubs, an international nonprofit organization. Pony Club is one of the leading junior equestrian organizations in the world, represented in 30 countries.

Horse Trials, or 3-Day Events, are one of three internationally recognized sports offered at the Olympic Games with competition throughout the world. It is the equestrian version of a triathlon. The event includes: Dressage on Day 1, which tests the horse’s elasticity and movement, obedience and acceptance of rider’s aids; Cross Country on Day 2, which is the most exciting portion of the event as the horse’s speed and endurance over a course of natural obstacles is tested; Stadium on Day 3, which tests the horse’s fitness and recovery on the third day, over a course of bright show jumping fences, where the nick of a hoof could drop a pole and score a fault.

Each year more than 250 competitors from all over the West Coast descend upon Whidbey Island. Among the sponsors of this year’s event are Skagit Farmers Supply, Payless Foods, Olson’s Tack, Gallops Saddlery, Bearstone Horse Cookies and Mt. Vernon Vet Hospital.

The public is always welcome to attend the competitions. The heaviest day of spectator activity is Saturday, during the cross country jumping portion of the event.

For more Pony Club information, talk with any event staff at the Horse Trials or contact any of the club officers listed at www.whidbey

island.ponyclub.org.

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