A group of Whidbey-based equestrians earned high marks during a regional horse rally held last month.
Three five-person teams from the Whidbey Island Pony Club won their respective divisions during the Northwest Regional Showjumping rally held last month in Monroe, Wash. That event drew 26 teams from Washington and Alaska.
The first team, which won the overall award, consisted of Kate Petersen, 19, Callie Bartlett, 22, Emily Raphael, 15, Ella Pozarycki, 6 and Sophie Miller, 14, who was the stable master.
Team two consisted of Madison Peterson, 15, Servando Garcia, 12, Lara Ryan, 19, Thane Peterson, 10, and Devon rouser, 16, who was the stable manager. The teams are comprised of members from different ability levels. That way newer riders benefit from the support and knowledge of more experienced riders.
The third team (horse masters — riders aged 25 and over) consisted of Sandi Farris, Tyson Peterson, Lee McEnery, Paul Schuler and Becky Miller who was the stable master.
The three-day event started with the setup of the team’s tack rooms and the participating horses goes through a veterinary checkup.
The grounds of jumping starts the next day with an equestrian round where riders compete on a set course. Riders are judged on their form, the horses form and how they jump over the obstacles.
The second round consisted of a freestyle round where the rider could choose their own route over the course of 10 jumps.
“We had the fastest course by far,” said Linda Chatfield, one of the trainers for the Whidbey Island Pony Club. While the last round consisted of a regular show jumping round.
The teams were judged on more than riding abilities.
They were also judged on their care and husbandry of their horses as well as their care for their clothing, tack and stabling area. While the stable manager is in charge of the stabling area, all team members are judged on this unmounted portion of the competition.
The Whidbey Island Pony Club was founded in 1964 and ia currently comprisesd of more than 20 members ages 6 to 25.
While it is not necessary for a child to own a horse or pony, they have to have access to an animal.
The club offers instruction in dressage, eventing, show jumping, mounted games, tetrathlon, vaulting and polocrosse. Members also participate in “unmounted” meetings where children learn about feeding, shoeing, veterinary care and other aspects of equine management. More experienced club members, under adult tutelage, will help younger members, according to information provided by the Whidbey Island Pony Club.
The marquee event of the year is the Whidbey Island Pony Club Horse Trials, which takes place every summer. The three-day event, which is also a screening event for the Olympics, attracts more than 300 competitors mostly from the western United States and Canada. The first day of the event consists of dressage, the second day is cross country and the third day consists of show jumping.
For more information about the Whidbey Island Pony Club, go to www.whidbeyisland.ponyclub.org.