By Pat Nelson
Valley Bugler Columnist
NEW Playground Equipment at Horseshoe Lake.
High school students have more athletic activities to choose from than just basketball, football and baseball. Several Woodland High School students participate in the Washington High School Equestrian Team, with head coach Jolene Johnson.
According to Terri Doyle, mother of senior Jaiden Marshall-Doyle, several equestrians from Woodland’s 2017 team scored well enough at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Washington, on May 11-14, to go on to regionals in Redmond, Oregon, held June 2-4.
Woodland’s team competes in District 3, and performances are rated by judges. Pattern diagrams can include many complicated steps and must be followed by the handler, who receives the pattern a few months ahead of time for practice.
Team members who participate in the Canadian flag race are Mike Johnson, Jaiden Marshall-Doyle, Lilly Dunn and Sammi Ripp. The Canadian flag competition is made up of teams of four riders and four horses. It is a ribbon event, in which once the horse and rider cross the line, their time starts. They go as fast as they can to the end of the arena where the rider grabs a flag then returns at a fast pace back to the line. This is a relay, so once one rider returns, the next one heads out to grab a flag. Once all four have completed the task, their time is recorded, and the team with the shortest time wins.
In-hand obstacle relay (IHOR) participants are Jessica Sayward, Megan Sheets, Ellie Newby and Jamie Stone. IHOR is a team performance event in which four athletes, one at a time, lead their horses through a complex series of obstacles. “The athletes don’t ride in this event,” said Ellie Newby. “One person goes at a time, and each obstacle they maneuver through is graded by judges on a scale from one to 10.” Scores are then totaled and the team with the highest score wins. Jaiden Marshall-Doyle is third alternate for in-hand trail competition.
Lindsey Paul is Alternate 1 to regionals in the hunt seat event. In an ideal hunt seat team, the horse has elegance and a free-flowing stride length. The rider is very secure including proper leg position, weight in heels, soft hands, balanced seat and good posture.
Jamie Stone participates in the saddle seat competition. “The saddle-seat rider’s position, attire and tack differ greatly from two other English disciplines, hunt seat and dressage,” Terri Doyle said. “Riders sit farther back in the saddle, which has wider skirts, and hands are held much higher.” Jessica Sayward is second alternate in the dressage category.
At meets, participants pay a state participation fee, and a barn stall is assigned. Both riders and non-riders participate, and non-riders are called grooms. Students hold fundraisers to earn their fees and travel expenses.
Equestrian competitions help the students build character. Each team member learns to strive for goals and to follow instruction while developing as a rider. According to Terri Doyle, being on the team has helped her daughter, Jaiden Marshall-Doyle, build confidence and find her voice, both on and off the team.
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Pictured Above: Canadian Flag team members Sammi Ripp, Lilly Dunn, Michael Johnson and Jaiden Marshall-Doyle. Front: Coach Jolene Johnson. Photo by Pat Nelson.