Sara Richerts

Sara Richerts

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Horse academy takes off in Sequim

TENDERFOOTS, TAKE HEART: Longtime Sequim resident and equestrian Sara Richerts recently opened Blue Ribbon Horse Academy, designed to teach greenhorn riders ages 17 and younger all the basics of horse knowledge and help them move up the ranks to advanced horsemanship.

“In addition to helping my students learn basic horse-training principles, I hope to help them learn how to succeed in the show ring at both regional and state competitions,” Richerts said, adding, “It’s all about fun and horses here.”

She has several seasoned lesson horses, though students may bring their own.

She also offers horse training and full-care horse boarding.

As a young equestrian, Richerts, 25, kept her horse at Olympic View Stables in Port Angeles, where she took lessons from trainer Carol Madan and was an active member of Show Stoppers 4-H.

She showed in 4-H, local zone and state shows, where she won numerous first-place and blue ribbons with her horse, Dotts.

As an adult, Richerts moved to San Jose, Calif., where she trained intensively with Rhonda Heiner, winner of many world championship titles.

While there, Richerts won champion at the regional level, top 5 in California state and won a world championship at a Pinto World show.

After several years of training and showing in both English and Western, attending clinics (such as Pat Parelli’s natural horsemanship) and a year of intense training with Heiner, Richerts moved back to Sequim.

She spent her first several months there instructing, hosting a summer camp for beginning and intermediate youth riders, and training horses at Olympic View Stables.

There, she enjoyed reliving the memories of where she grew up and working side by side with her favorite people, stable owner Bob Mowbray and trainer Madan.

In October, she opened her own business, Blue Ribbon Horse Academy, at Jeanne Johnson’s former place on Olson Road in Sequim. (Jeanne moved to Haskell, Okla., where she has a successful training business.)

Already, local folks are loving her youth program.

“I’ve just started up here, and so far, I’m busier than I thought I’d be,” said Richerts with a smile.

“It’s really taken off.”

She said she’d be overwhelmed with all the tasks and chores that come with running a full-care horse-boarding and training facility were it not for the abundant help of her family, barn manager Joe and boys Joe Jr. and Seth.

For those who board their horse with her, the facility has both an outdoor arena and an indoor covered arena, plus it’s adjacent to the DNR Cassidy Creek area, which has logging roads and trails that can be ridden year-round.

Blue Ribbon Horse Academy is located at 1445 Olson Road in Sequim. For more information, phone 360-775-5084 or visit


On Saturday, the Olympic Peninsula Zone association is having its end-of-the-year awards dinner and ceremony at the Elks Lodge, 131 E. First St. in Port Angeles. The party starts at 5:30 p.m., dinner is at 6:30 p.m., and the award ceremony is at 7 p.m. RSVP to Manon Heistand at 360-452-5994.

Heistand is also the longtime leader of the Pony Express 4-H Club.

On a recent Facebook post, she commended her members for all the effort they put forth in earning their community service award:

“I am so proud of these kids and all their hard work. Whenever people complain about the youth of today being selfish and useless I know a group of kids who are the total opposite.

“This is what 4-H is all about.”


■ 7 a.m. Saturdays — Riders’ fitness class with Freedom Farm’s Mary Gallagher at Anytime Fitness in Sequim.

The coach is exercise physiologist Kenny Hall. The routines he developed for riders focus on core stability, balance and strength training.

To attend, contact Gallagher at 360-457-4897.

■ Friday-Sunday, Nov. 16-18 — De-spooking and confidence clinic by Bill Richey at Olympic View Stables on Finn Hall Road in Agnew (360-460-0515).

Richey is the founder of National Mounted Police Services.

To sign up, phone Patrick at 360-990-2572. Special pricing for Back Country Horsemen.

■ Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 17-18 — Dental clinic with Dr. Richard Vetter ( at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Port Townsend.

For information or to make an appointment, contact Betty Mysak at 360-379-6931 or

■ Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 — Freedom Farm cow-working class. Contact Gallagher at 360-457-4897 or, or visit

Freedom Farm is located at 493 Spring Farm Road in Agnew.

■ Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 — Freedom Farm adult workshop. See above entry for contact information.


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 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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