Sequim and Port Angeles high school equestrian team riders and their coaches appear at the third meet of the season.

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Port Angeles, Sequim schools trot to top at meet

SPRING IS BUSTLING with activity and bursting with color.

Signs we’re exiting our gray winter days of hibernation these past two weeks include successful local horse shows, Back Country Horsemen group rides and what looks like was a very fun and adorable Spring Break Daycamp for ages 5-9 at Freedom Farms in Agnew.

Check out some of their photos at

If you’ve got horse-loving kids, horse owner or not, you might want to sign them up for a Freedom Farm summer horse camp from June 23-27 for ages 5 and older, June 30-July 4 for ages 7 and older.

Contact Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897 or [email protected], or visit’s “Summer Camps” page.

I’ve always felt proud of how supportive our high school equestrian teams’ coaches, parents and members are of each other. A good example occurred at the meet when Port Angeles coach Tina VanAusdle mentioned that her daughter Emily’s horse came up lame after a long day of competing, and just before time to run barrels.

Emily decided to withdraw her horse from the next events.

“We put some ice on her legs, hoping the swelling and heat would go down overnight and she’d be able to run her events the next day,” says Tina.

“Sadly, she was no better in the morning.”

She says even though it was a slight limp, Emily did not want to chance riding her and furthering the damage.

“When I went to the office to scratch her from the rest of her events, I ran into Sequim’s coach, Katie Newton,” says Tina. When she told Katie what happened, without hesitation, Katie said, “I have a horse she can ride.”

So Emily rode Katie’s horse Sidney in both roping and daubing.

Then, for Emily’s last event, Tina says another coach stepped up and offered yet another horse to use.

“Even though these teams are our rivals, they were there for us when we needed help,” relates Tina. “These are great life lessons for our kids, and we are grateful for those friends.”

As for Katie, she says with both Terri Winters (Sequim) and Manon Heistand (Port Angeles) stepping down last year after several years of coaching, the first season of coaching “has been one of learning the ropes pretty quick.”

“Those coaches were wonderful and left ‘big shoes’ for myself and Tina to fill,” says Katie. “However, with the help of other WAHSET [Washington High School Equestrian Teams] coaches and our former coaches, it has been a great year. Our kids compete against each other and at the same time are friends.

“I am so proud of how well everyone has done at all our district meets. In the end, Anne Meek on the Sequim team won the high point, and Emily VanAusdle on the PA team won the reserve high point,” Katie says.

“Out of the 70-plus exhibitors, that is pretty impressive for our Peninsula girls.”

Port Angeles top 10

■ In-hand obstacle relay team: Rachael Breitbach, Ciara Gentry, Cassidy Hodgin and Paige Swordmaker, fifth.

■ Stockseat: Rachael, sixth.

■ Jumping: Katie Rivers, fifth.

■ Dressage: Katie, second.

■ Poles: Emily, first.

■ Figure eight: Emily, second.

■ Canadian flags: Lydia Cornelson, Ashley Farmer and Paige, 10th.

■ Birangle: Emily and Micayla Weider, second; Ashley and Rielly Reid, fifth; Lydia and Paige, eighth.

■ Keyhole: Ashley, third; Cassidy, sixth; Micayla, 10th.

■ Barrels: Micayla, seventh; Rielly, ninth.

■ Breakaway roping: Emily, seventh.

■ Steer daubing: Emily, eighth; Lydia, 10th.

WAHSET state finals are May 8-11.

Port Angeles qualifiers are:

■ Drill: Rachael, Ashley, Paige, Emily, Micayla, Cassidy, Ciara and Bailee Palmer, bronze.

■ Jumping: Katie, silver.

■ Poles: Emily, silver; Rielly, bronze; Micayla, third alternate.

■ Figure eight: Emily, bronze; Ashley, third alternate.

■ Flags: Rielly, third alternate.

■ Birangle: Emily and Micayla, state qualifier.

■ Keyhole: Ciara, first alternate.

■ Barrels: Emily, bronze; Micayla, state qualifier; Rielly, state qualifier.

■ Breakaway: Emily, third alternate.

■ Steer daubing: Emily, first alternate.

■ IHOR: Cassidy, Ciara, Paige, Rachael, second alternate.

■ High point (games): Anne.

■ Reserve high point (games): Emily.

■ High-point large school: Port Angeles High School.

Next time, I will have Sequim’s results.

BCH news

Back Country Horsemen Peninsula chapter President Cate Bendock wishes to give a shoutout of thanks to all who took part in the tune-up clinic last Saturday at Olympic View Stables in Agnew, including hosts (and chapter members) Dr. Bob Mowbray and Carol Madan, veterinarian Erik Splawn, Guy Miller on leather work, Rose Sage Hare on competitive trail course, farrier Jeff Doane on emergency hoof repair and farrier Chris Nicholas on hoof anatomy.

Saturday, April 26, at 9 a.m. is the chapter’s annual Spaghetti Ride at Salt Creek. Trails go from easy to advanced with steep areas. Horseshoes recommended.

Bring a jar of spaghetti sauce and a side dish for the after-ride dinner.

Contact Linda Mosley at 360-928-3715.


■ 7 p.m. Friday — Back Country Horsemen Buckhorn Range meeting at the Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road in Chimacum.

■ Saturday — Jefferson County 4-H and Pony Club Ride-a-thon. Contact Angie Doan at 360-385-6683 or [email protected]

■ Saturday-Sunday — BCH Buckhorn Range Bill Richey de-spooking clinic. Hosted by Stephany Handland (360-830-4877).

■ 9 a.m. Saturday — Olympic National Park Mule Barn Day at the Elwha Mule Barn.

■ Saturday, April 19 — Buckhorn Range chapter ride at Toandos, followed by a chili feed. Hostess Nichol Short ([email protected]).

■ Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 20 — Freedom Farms’ annual Mini Beats Easter Egg Hunt, 493 Spring Road, Agnew. With their parents’ help, staff members lead riders around the farm and play games on horseback. If you have an avid egg hunter, please bring replacement eggs. Phone Gallagher at 360-457-4897.

■ 9 a.m. Sunday, April 27 — Baker Stables School Show, 164 Four Winds Road, Port Angeles. Phone 360-460-7832.

■ Friday-Sunday, May 2-4 — Mark Bolender clinic at Olympic View Stables, 136 Finn Hall Road in Agnew. Bolender is a three-time National Grand Champion in mountain, extreme and competitive trail. He owns Bolender Horse Park in Silver Creek and has designed and built extreme trail courses across the nation.

Cost is $350 to participate, $30 to audit.

To reserve a spot, phone Madan at 360-912-4005 and leave a message.

May 2 is demonstration day; no charge, and all are invited.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.

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.

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