The Port Angeles and Sequim High School equestrian teams recently competed at the Washington High School Equestrian Team State Finals in Monroe. Shown here are members of the Sequim and Port Angeles teams

The Port Angeles and Sequim High School equestrian teams recently competed at the Washington High School Equestrian Team State Finals in Monroe. Shown here are members of the Sequim and Port Angeles teams

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Rain, unsafe conditions cancel weekend events

  • Sunday, May 22, 2016 12:01am
  • News

IT CAN BE annoying to gather up the best of your gear and load it, along with people and horses, into the horse trailer only to arrive at a highly anticipated horse show early in the morning just as — splat — raindrops start falling on your head.

That’s what happened to the numerous competitors who showed up for a Patterned Speed Horse Association two-day event at Crosby’s Arena in Agnew this past weekend.

It’s not that we had torrential rains that left the ground a muddy, sloppy mess, but even a steady drizzle can deem the grounds too slippery to be safe for racing horses around barrels or poles in a timed event.

I was hoping to stop by to catch up with old friends there, but as organizer Pam Crosby said, “Well, we only got through half a day before the rains came, but we had some nice runs in those seven events.

“Fast times of the day were Kelbi Bower, 15.06 [seconds] in barrels; Tylar Decker, 6.76 in keyhole, 8.13 in flags and a 20.87 in poles despite the rain and sticky ground.

“It would have been crazy fast if the ground was good.

“Waynora Martin, 10.59 in figure 8; Sam Parks and Kelbi Bower with a 17.41 in two-man, three-barrel flags. We are looking at rescheduling the show to July 2 [and] 3.”

It was a bummer, to be sure, but there are more shows coming so that riders hoping to compete at the state finals in August can still attain fast times at two of the fastest grounds around on the weekends of:

■ June 4-5 — 9:30 a.m. at the Quarter Moon Ranch, 383 W. Runnion Road in Carlsborg.

■ 9:30 a.m. June 18-19 — Quarter Moon Ranch.

■ June 25-26 (9:30 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday) — Crosby’s Arena, 122 Franson Road in Agnew.

■ July 2-3 — Crosby’s Arena.

For those who made the roughly three-hour drive to Monroe to compete at the Washington State High School Equestrian Team’s State Finals gaming events, it wasn’t the rain that caused the barrel and pole events to be canceled but unsafe ground conditions overall, which caused the judges to postpone barrel and poles just prior to the end of a long weekend.

Talk about frustrating.

Sequim coach Katie Salmon-Newton said overall, the weekend went well.

Students from more than 50 high schools (there are about 850 athletes in the state organization) were there.

“Overall, the team did well, but there were some trials,” Newton said.

“For both Sequim and Port Angeles, the biggest trial we faced was the ground was deemed not safe enough to run barrels and poles [good call by leadership, but really too late in the weekend], so at 6 p.m. Sunday, we packed up without the girls getting to vie for top spots in the state.”

The dates for the rescheduled events are to be announced.

Here are the Sequim results:

■ Reining — Kelly Anders, 16th place.

■ Freestyle fours — Drill team, ninth place.

■ Individual flags — Abi Payseno, 15th place.

■ Steer daubing — Sydney Balkan, 13th place.

Payseno is slated to also compete in the pole bending event. When that event is held, Newton said, she has high hopes for her coming in first place.

Port Angeles coach Tina VanAusdale took seven qualifying athletes to state, but only six of them ended up competing.

“On the first day we arrived, Emily Gear was working in the arena,” said VanAusdale, “when a horse pulling a cart got spooked and out of control, running her over and knocking her off the fence onto the pavement, causing her a severe concussion.

“If you have a concussion, you are very limited in your activities, so she was not able to compete.

“She was not only qualified in her own events, but she rides on the drill team as well.

“Sadly, the drill team rode without her, leaving a space where she was supposed to be.

“They did not place in the top 10 [placing 13th], but they rode anyway, and I was very proud of them.”

Port Angeles’ drill team includes Emily VanAusdale, Micayla Weider, Cassidy Hodgin and Ciara Gentry.

“Even though the weekend started out so terrible, we managed to have a great time,” Tina VanAusdale said.

“I enjoy seeing the comradely of these kids and their parents.

“There were also some issues with the safety of the facility’s arenas, and we had to postpone running barrels and poles until another date and time.

“These kids worked really hard to get to state, so that was disappointing for them also.

“All in all, state was kind of a bust this year. But we will come back again next year.”

Here are the Port Angeles results:

■ Working rancher — Kaytee Gibeau, seventh place.

■ Working pairs — Gibeau and Holly Cozzolino, 17th place.

■ Individual flags — Ashlynne VanDiest, 10th place.

■ Figure 8 — VanDiest, 12th place; Weider, 19th place.

In more horse news, the Olympic Peninsula Equine Network will host another equine veterinarian clinic with Dr. Sean Tuley.

The clinic is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at 554 Roupe Road in Sequim.

To make an appointment, leave a message at 360-207-1688.


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 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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