Equis Feed Intern, Katie Uetz, takes on OHSET state…
Oregon High School Equestrian Teams (OHSET) is a unique high school sports program allowing athletes to compete with their equine partners across a diversity of disciplines. OHSET is unlike any other high school sport, and The athletes not only compete individually, but the team members gather points to compete against other schools in Oregon.
Between June 24-28th, the OHSET State Championships in Redmond, Oregon filled four fun days with competition from performance events like hunt seat, horsemanship, timed events, to cow events like penning, daubing, break away roping, and much more. High school athletes must compete at 3 different district meets and place within the top 10% of their event to qualify for the state competition. Over the Championship weekend there were 306 qualified athletes from all over Oregon representing 70 different schools.
There have been many setbacks for OHSET this year starting with the EVH-1 break-out in May. The OHSET state board made the very difficult decision that all horses who attended the Willamette district event would be at risk of exposing other horses around the state. Athletes were told that all horses who competed at the 3rd Willamette district meet would not be allowed to attend state. This is when the true power of sportsmanship shined as athletes from all over the state stepped up to the plate and offered their own horses for their hardworking teammates.
As the EVH-1 outbreak spread, the OHSET board of directors made the call to cancel the state competition all together with the option of rescheduling. The OHSET community pulled together and decided on the dates of June 24-27th. However, some barns where athletes boarded or rode were still under quarantine, and their dreams of competing at the state championships seemed out of reach for some. But, once again, in the name of great sportsmanship, athletes offered horses to other athletes in need. Like Cascade High School Senior, Madelen Dewar, stated “the EHV1 virus affected me a lot this year, due to it being my senior year. I had worked really hard to make it to state in all of my events and to be the district performance champion. When I found out I would not be able to take any of my horses to the state meet due to the virus, I was devastated to think that I would not have that opportunity. But then I had numerous kind people offer to lend me there horses”. Luckily, quarantines lifted and Madelen WAS able to take her mounts- mini included.
Senior Dewar with her mini In-Hand Trail
Spending my time at OHSET State representing Equis Feeds, I witnessed with my own eyes what horse showing is truly about. So many riders were willing to sacrifice to help out other athletes in need. Blain Wheeler from the Scappoose High School team went over and above to help out Melissa Crippen from the St Helens team. He offered his horse when hers came up lame last minute and stayed by her side to help her all while competing himself.
Great sportsmanship made for great competition. The dedication and commitment these athletes have is outstanding. “It was very rewarding winning all 5 of my events”, says Madelen. “Winning the performance buckle, getting a scholarship, and having four years of hard work pay off was very exciting.”
Madelen won Saddle Seat, Horsemanship, Showmanship, Trail, and In-Hand Trail giving her a perfect 100 score to win the OHSET State Champion Performance Buckle.
Another notable athlete and a familiar pony face is Equis sponsored Smokin Double Dutch of Rainy Day Ponies who recently got selected to be a Breyer horse (see blog post about Dutch’s accomplishments). Dutch and rider, Colleen Franny, competed at state in dressage, driving, and trail. Colleen, a senior from Tualatin High School, will be accompanying Dutch to Breyerfest and showing off her talents in riding and driving. Colleen told Equis what she loves about OHSET the most “ was being able to accomplish my goal of competing in dressage at state”. “The best part about the OHSET program”, she added “is the fact that one day I can go from doing dressage and driving to the next day competing in barrels and other gaming events. It gives athletes the opportunity to try events they would not have otherwise been able to.”
Senior Collen Franny competing at state in dressage and flags and barrels at a District meet.
Written by Katie Uetz and edited by Natalie Shaw for Equis Feed, a brand of CHS Inc.
Thank you Katie!!!