DON’T YOU JUST love this time of year when the sun goes down after 9 p.m.?
We’ve got blue skies above, flowers in bloom and green grass galore.
It was last Monday evening when I was puttering around the yard and I stopped to revel in the soft, warm breeze warming my body down to its core.
“Does it get any better than this?” I asked myself.
Its warmth was such a welcome contrast to last month’s cool, damp rain and chill-you-to-the-bone cold winds.
Had they had this weekend’s weather last weekend in Moses Lake, Port Angeles’ equestrian team would have had a much happier team coach during the Washington State High School Equestrian Team State Finals.
Port Angeles coach Tina VanAusdale said the team was eager to leave Clallam County’s rainy weather behind for the hot weather that usually pervades Moses Lake this time of year.
“Our excitement was short-lived,” VanAusdale said. “We had rain, wind, hail and very little sunshine. But we did manage to have a great time.”
For her, the weekend competition was a success from the start because she took eight qualifying athletes to state.
The top honors for the weekend went to Sequim seniors Sydney Balkan and Amy Tucker for winning the gold medal in cattle sorting.
Congratulations, you two. What a way to finish your senior season.
Sequim coach Katie Salmon-Newton said the biggest challenge of the meet was arriving in Moses Lake and discovering Balkan’s horse had an injury that would keep her from competing.
Salmon-Newton and Balkan had to scramble to find horses to borrow to ride in her events.
Salmon-Newton was able to find horses to borrow for all of Balkan’s events except drill team.
Salmon-Newton said she’s “very appreciative” friend Shannon Smith agreed to trailer her own horse from Sequim to Moses Lake, arriving Saturday morning in time for Balkan to ride him in the competition.
The drill team performed well, Salmon-Newton said, and earned 12th place.
She said another highlight was having two freshmen place in the top 10 in their events.
“Grace Niemeyer, who is an excellent English rider, placed fourth in jumping on her horse Ivan. And Lilly Thomas placed seventh in in-hand trail with her mini-horse, Little Bit.
“It was a fun, exciting, challenging weekend, and I am very proud of our team.”
• Cattle sorting: Balkan and Tucker, first place.
• Jumping: Niemeyer, fourth place.
• Dressage: Emily Gear, sixth place.
• In-hand trail: Thomas, seventh place.
• Saddle seat: Gear, ninth place.
• Stockseat: Kaytee Gibeau, sixth place.
• Working pairs: Gibeau and Cassi Ann Moore, fourth place.
• Individual flags: Moore, seventh place; Balkan, 15th place.
• Working fours drill team: Emelie Fürste, Miranda Williams, Tucker and Balkan, 12th place.
Team members were up and running from about 5 a.m. until about 1 a.m. the next day, so they got very little sleep, but, VanAusdale said, “We put on a great showing, and it was all worth it.”
Three of her riders — Gibeau, Gear and Moore — qualified for the Pacific Northwest Invitational Championships.
The championships pit the top five competitors in each event from Washington and Oregon in a fight to win the Battle for the Buckles, June 2-4 in Redmond, Ore.
• Patterned speed horse game show — June 3-4 and June 24-25, 9:30 a.m. at Quarter Moon Ranch, 383 Runnion Road in Carlsborg.
For more information, call Waynora Martin at 360-683-6902.
• Silver Spurs 4-H horse show — June 6, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
For more information, call Glenda Meek at 360-385-0195 or email [email protected]
• Patterned speed horse game show — June 10 at 9:30 a.m. and June 11 at 9 a.m., at Crosbys arena, 122 Franson Road in Agnew.
For more information, call Pam Crosby at 360-670-3906.
• Back Country Horsemen Peninsula Chapter’s Dan Kelly trail ride — June 17, 10 a.m. Ride out from state Highway 112 to Dan Kelly Road. Trailhead on the left.
• Silver Spurs 4-H horse show — June 24, 9 a.m. at Clallam County Fairgrounds.
For more information, call LaDona Wilson at 360-461-0809.
• Joe Wolter clinic — Aug. 11-13 at Freedom Farm, 164 Spring Farms Road, Port Angeles.
For more information, call Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897 or visit www.freedom-farm.net.
• Ride the Hill — Aug. 25-27, at Layton Hill Horse Camp, 2514 Chicken Coup Road, Sequim.
Preregister by Aug. 10.
For more information, call Anna Sage Neal at 425-737-7404 or email [email protected]
For general camping information, call Judy Sage at 360-775-6500.
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.