Sequim’s WAHSET Cattle sorting team of Katelynn Sharp, left, and Riley Smith at a recent practice in Port Orchard.

Sequim’s WAHSET Cattle sorting team of Katelynn Sharp, left, and Riley Smith at a recent practice in Port Orchard.

HORSEPLAY: Sequim WAHSET takes top spots at first meet

FIRST, SECOND, THIRD — Sequim’s cowsorting team swept the event, with first place going to Libby Swanson and Celbie Karjalainen, second to Sydney Hutton and Katelynn and third to Paige and Kennedy Gilbertson at their first Washington State High School Equestrian Team meet of the season.

January’s meet at Grays Harbor Fairgrounds also saw team competitors Libby, Sydney, Katelynn and Paige Reed taking first in Drill Team Freestyle 4s; Libby and Paige first in Working Pairs, followed by Celbie and Katelynn in second place. And, another first place in Two-Man Birangle went to Libby and Paige! I’m telling you this team is on fire! Way to go girls!

“The entire team just did fantastic!” exclaimed Coach Katie Salmon-Newton. “We’ve got a lot of new, young members who did great at meet one. I have to say we have a really good competitive group this year, who are also very helpful and supportive of each other.”

Katie credits her assistant coaches, like Bettina Hoesel, who’ve provided much needed instruction and help throughout the years. She invites more adults with horse experience in any show discipline or gaming to help out.

Congratulations to Sequim’s high school equestrian team members Libby Swanberg, left, Sydney Hutton , Katelynn Sharp and Paige Reed for taking first place in Drill freestyle 4’s first place at WAHSET District 4’s January competition!

Congratulations to Sequim’s high school equestrian team members Libby Swanberg, left, Sydney Hutton , Katelynn Sharp and Paige Reed for taking first place in Drill freestyle 4’s first place at WAHSET District 4’s January competition!

Sequim’s team competitors for 2023 are Celbie Karjalainen, Kennady Gilbertson, Paige Reed, Katelynn Sharpe, Rylie Smith, Sydney Hutton, Libby Swanberg and Lily Meyer, with Assistant Coach Keri Tucker, Coach Bettina Hoesel and Coach Katie, Salmon-Newton.

Meet one results:

Dressage: 3rd Sydney Hutton, 11th Katelynn Sharp, 13th Celbie Karjalainen .

IHOR (In Hand Obstacle Relay): 7th Sidney, Celbie, Lily Meyer, Katelynn.

In-hand Trail: 5th Kennady Gilbertson.

Reining: 3rd Libby, 6th Celbie, 7th Katelynn.

Saddleseat Equitation: 4th Celbie 4th, 5th Katelynn.

Showmanship: 6th place tie between Katelynn, Celbie.

Stockseat Equitation: 6th Sydney, 11th Katelynn.

Team Versatility: 8th Libby, Celbie, Kennady, Lily.

Trail: 9th Celbie, 10th Sydney.

Working Pairs: 1st Libby, Paige, 2nd Celbie, Katelynn.

Working Rancher: 3rd Libby.

Drill Freestyle 4’s: 1st Sydney, Libby, Paige, Katelynn.

Barrels: 2nd Paige, 3rd Libby, 20th Lily, 23rd Kennady.

Figure 8: 1st Paige, 2nd Libby, 4th Sydney, 7th Kennady, 21st Lilly.

Individual Flags: 3rd Libby, 7th Paige, 10th Lilly, 11th Kennady.

Keyhole: 1st Libby, 3rd Kennady, 9th Lilly.

Pole Bending: 1st Paige, 21st Lily.

Team Canadian Flags: 2nd Libby, Sydney, Kennady, Paige.

Two Man Birangle: 1st Libby, Paige, 4th Sydney, Kennady, 10th Lily, Katelynn.

Breakaway Roping: 1st Libby.

Steer Daubing: 1st Paige, 4th Sydney.

Cattle Team Sorting: 1st Libby, Celbie; 2nd Sydney, Katelynn; 3rd Paige, Kennedy Gilbertson.

The next meet for District 4 will be Feb. 23-26. Livestream it at https://vimeo.com/event/1651605.

Sequim’s High School Equestrian Team, Back row left: Celbie Karjalainen, Kennady Gilbertson, Assistant Coach Keri Tucker, Coach Bettina Hoesel, Coach Katie, Salmon-Newton, Paige Reed, Katelynn Sharp. Front Left: Rylie Smith, Sydney Hutton, Libby Swanberg, Lily Meyer.

Sequim’s High School Equestrian Team, Back row left: Celbie Karjalainen, Kennady Gilbertson, Assistant Coach Keri Tucker, Coach Bettina Hoesel, Coach Katie, Salmon-Newton, Paige Reed, Katelynn Sharp. Front Left: Rylie Smith, Sydney Hutton, Libby Swanberg, Lily Meyer.

With only two members, the Port Angeles’ equestrian team has a sad but interesting story this year. First-year competitor Zakara Braun and fourth-year Ava Hairell (not competing this year due to conflicts with volleyball scheduling) had no coach!

That is, until South Kitsap’s WAHSET Team, which in the past was, and still is a large team (25 strong this year) lost their school’s support. WAHSET is a high school equestrian team, so without a high school to sponsor, all those students couldn’t compete. Nor could students from PA compete without a coach.

The easiest answer for those PA students would have been to be able to compete with the Sequim team. However, after a complaint was filed years ago by a parent over another school’s students (due to small team size and no school sponsorship) competing on the same team, the powers that be deemed Sequim High School would not allow school co-oping.

I’m hopeful that soon Sequim High School will again allow co-ops with students from schools on the North Olympic Peninsula. In the meantime, a solution was found to enable both South Kitsap and PA students to compete: South Kitsap is now competing under Port Angeles High School’s flag with Kitsap’s coaches. As of this writing, I’m still waiting to hear back from them.

Instead of the PA team members needing to travel to Kitsap County to practice, the two are practicing with Sequim. I love how supportive Sequim’s coaches are!

I have to give our Sequim equestrian team coaches a big thanks and pat-on-the back for all they’ve done, and continue to do, for helping every student they can — regardless of which school — gain the joys, comradery and work it takes to compete on a school team.

The first coach was the wonderfully supportive Terri Winters, whose team my niece was on years ago. She then handed the reins over to the amazingly tireless advocate and equestrian coach Katie Salman-Newton. Before my niece was old enough to even be in high school, Katie was her Peninsula Junior Rodeo coach, plus she was, and still is, heavily involved with helping 4-H horse youths.

In addition to working full-time, Katie has spent countless hours volunteering her time, and providing her own horses, to further the development of horse-loving youths. Truly, without Katie, and others like her, I can imagine there would be at least few hundred peninsula youths to whom riding horses was simply a dream with no way to fulfill.

Horse help

And now, Katie would like other horse owner’s help in solving a good problem, because Neon Riders 4-H club is growing! “The problem is we have a shortage of horses, and we need more horse owners stepping up to help kids have their horse experience they’re so badly wanting,” said Katie.

Currently, Neon Riders have 28 youths this year, more than double of last years, which is both wonderful and amazing since the numbers were so small after 4-H opened up again post pandemic. Only half of those have a horse of their own or are leasing. Katie owns six horses and partial leases them all to kids so they can experience horse life and learning — what it’s like to have, love and care for a horse of their own.

Port Angeles’ Carol Johnson has shared her horses and time for years. After her child outgrew 4-H a number of years ago, LaDona Wilson also joined the group of awesome horse owners who’ve shared horses and helped out youths wanting to join the horse world through 4-H. When my niece was young I can think of a number of other adults who provided the same help for youths wanting to compete in both 4-H and Junior Rodeo after their own kids had grown.

“More kids want to join that don’t have a horse, so we’re hoping more people can step up to help,” implored Katie. “The horses don’t have to be winners, but we need them to be trained and safe; have a willing attitude and accustomed to working in an arena with other horses.”

The kids pay a monthly partial lease, and the owners provide trailering to 4-H practices once a week from May – August (or arrange to share trailer hauling with others when available). Owners allow the kids to show the horses at the pre-fair show in July at the Clallam fairgrounds, and to stay and show their horses during the Clallam County Fair in August.

As she works full time and has a very busy schedule, it’s best to contact Katie through her email, sequimequestrian@gmail.com.

________

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Saturday 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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OPEN’s Spring Tack Sale is Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 251 Roupe Road (off Hooker Road). Proceeds benefit rescued horses, minis, ponies (such as the one pictured with grossly overgrown hooves) and donkeys. Western and English saddles, saddle pads, halters, sheets, bits, bridles; western jewelry, clothes, boots and more. (photo by Valerie Jackson)
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