Port Angeles rider Cassi Ann Moore and her roping horse, Roanin, broke the record in breakway roping with a time of 2.59 seconds at Washington State High School Equestrian Team’s District 4 competition held earlier this month in Elma. (Shannon Robbins)

Port Angeles rider Cassi Ann Moore and her roping horse, Roanin, broke the record in breakway roping with a time of 2.59 seconds at Washington State High School Equestrian Team’s District 4 competition held earlier this month in Elma. (Shannon Robbins)

HORSEPLAY: Peninsula high school riders continue competing

I REALLY NEED to apologize to all concerned for casting a stone into calm waters.

In my March 24 column, I wrote about our local high school equestrian teams, their results from the first competition and the need for all to appreciate those hard-working coaches are volunteers.

I included a bit of my own feelings about appreciating those who volunteer, and, in this case I unintentionally threw a stone that caused some hurt feelings.

It was never my intention to throw a stone of any kind, just perhaps to toss a Peeps marshmallow treat as a reminder to treat kindly those who volunteer.

Nonetheless, my words actually felt like a stone to some and it caused a rippling effect among the parents.

Let me assure all involved that when I wrote the column I hadn’t heard of any problems, of any kind, of any type from anyone involved in this year’s equestrian teams.

Sequim’s coach Katie Newton gave me some important feedback when she wrote, “This is the first time I have read one of your columns and had an ‘uh-oh’ or bad feeling. You usually come across positive but it didn’t quite hit the mark overall.

“Several of my families thought it made them sound like they had been complaining or that I had been complaining about them.

“I assured them that neither was true and that you had good intentions for your [column].

“Thanks for always covering our team and for the good intentions that I know you had in mind.”

Thank you, Katie. I appreciate your feedback.

I’d also mentioned Terri Winters. She coached Sequim’s team way back when my niece was on it.

I wrote it took some time for me to appreciate her coaching direction — because I was only concerned with what I wanted — and that her ideas really were better for the team overall than mine.

However, I worded it in such a roundabout way that when I ran into Winters at the Sequim Safeway she said at first she thought I was picking on her, but as she read on she realized I wasn’t.

My heartfelt apologies to both teams, their coaches and families.

Again, putting anyone down, or trying to call someone out on his or her behavior was never my intent.

I wish only the best for both teams.

Meet two

On April 4, the teams had their second of three qualifying meets for state finals in Elma against more than 90 competitors from 10 different school teams ranging from Bellingham to Vancouver, Wash.

For the sequim team, Newton is once more the head coach and has some help with the team. Sydney Balkan is the drill coach in training, Haylie Newton is the assistant performance coach and Katie Adolphson is the assistant games coach.

All three are former team members.

The Port Angeles team is coach by Liv Dietzman with assistant Shannon Robbins.


• Breakaway roping: Cassi Ann Moore broke the District 4 record with a 2.59 second run (which was a record she broke last season); Yana Hoesel, third place.

• Canadian flag race: Abby Hjelmeseth, Moore, Emma Albight and Madison Carlson broke the District 4 (four-man team) record with a fast time of 35.219. Their glee was tampered down a bit when the very next team ran it a wee bit faster at 34.383. Nonetheless, theirs was an exciting race; Hoesel, Miranda Williams, Grace Niemeyer and Keri Tucker, third place.

• Showmanship: Natalie Blankenship, seventh place; Lilly Thomas, 10th place; Khelea Cloetens, 18th place.

• In-hand trail: Thomas, third place; Cloetens, seventh place; Chloe VanProyen, ninth place.

• In-hand obstacle relay team (4 man team): Blankenship, Hjelmeseth, Moore and Zoe Thompson, third place; Abbi Priest, Cloetens, Thomas and Tucker, fourth place.

• Stockseat equitation: Blankenship, 6th place.

• Huntseat equitation: Hjelmeseth, 12th place; Carlson, Honorable Mention.

 Reining: Blankenship, 12th place; Moore, 14th place.

• Working rancher: Blankenship, first place; Tucker, third place; Thompson, seventh place; Hjelmeseth, 12th place.

• Trail equitation: Blankenship, 2nd place; Tucker, sixth place; Hjelmeseth, eighth place.

• Working pairs: Niemeyer and Williams, fourth place; Priest and Hoesel, sixth place; Tucker and VanProyen, 10th place; Hjelmeseth/Carlson, fifth place; Blankenship/Thompson, 11th place.

• Drill team freestyle fours: Hjelmeseth, Moore, Carlson, Thompson, second place; Tucker, Williams, Niemeyer and Hoesel, third place.

• Figure eight: Albright, first place; Hjelmeseth, sixth place; Carlson, Honorable Mention; Hoesel, 8th place; Thomas, 25th place; Williams, 28th place; VanProyen, 33rd place.

• Individual flags: Moore, first place; Albright, second place; Hoesel, 3rd place; Williams, 18th place; Tucker, 21st place; Priest, 23rd place.

• Keyhole: Albright, first place; Priest, eighth place; Williams, 11th place; Tucker, 14th place; VanProyen, 21st place.

• Two-man birangle: Hjelmeseth and Carlson, sixth place; Moore and Thompson, 10th place; Hoesel and Niemeyer, 12th place; Albright and Blankenship, 13th place; Williams and VanProyen, 16th place; Tucker and Priest, 20th place; Thomas and Cloetens, 23rd place.

• Pole bending: Moore, first place; Thompson, third place; Carlson, eighth place; Albright, Honorable Mention; Hoesel, 18th place; VanProyen, 26th place.

• Barrels: Moore 2nd place, Thompson 4th place, Albright 12th place, Carlson, Honorable Mention; Hoesel, 16th place; Williams, 23rd place; Niemeyer, 33rd place; VanProyen, 36th place.

• Cow sorting: Hjelmeseth and Carlson, second place; Moore and Thompson, third Place; Hoesel and Niemeyer, fifth place; Williams and Tucker, seventh place; Thomas and Priest, 19th place.

• Jumping: Niemeyer, third place.

• Dressage: Niemeyer, fourth place; Tucker, 13th place.

• Driving: Thomas, fourth place; Cloetens, fifth place.

• Reining: Niemeyer, third place; Priest, 16th place.


• Help a Horse Hoedown fundraiser — 6 p.m., May 18.

The event is to raise funds for Olympic Peninsula Equine Network (OPEN), our local horse rescue, rehabilitation and adoption center.

There will be dinner, a silent auction and dancing to the music of local favorite The Jim Hoffman Band.

Fox Bell Farms Wedding & Celebrations is hosting the event, at 137 N. Barr Road in the Agnew area of Port Angeles.

For information, contact Mike Vaillancourt at 714-222-0755 or goldenmikedj@gmail.com.

Learn more about OPEN at olypenequinenet.org.


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 kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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