Equestrian team saddles up for season


News staff writer

February 25, 2006

With winter’s cold air nipping at their fingertips, noses and toes, the girls of the Hood River Valley Equestrian Club have been training since December for their competitive season, which starts this weekend in Redmond. In all, seven Hood River Valley High School girls make up the team, which is considered a club at the high school.

The girls compete in the Oregon High School Equestrian Teams’ (OHSET) Central District, which consists of teams from The Dalles, Dufur, Pendleton, Lakeview, Burns, LaPine, Redmond, Bend, Sisters, Sherman/Moro and Crook County/Prineville. In all, about 155 participants make up the district this season.

Team members can choose to compete in a variety of different classes of riding. This season, the Hood River girls have signed up to ride English and Western equitation, trail, working rancher, IHOR (In Hand Obstacle Relay), working pairs, team flags, barrels, keyhole, poles, BiRangle, team penning and the figure-8.

The team, coached and advised by Jan Wallace, practices for these events at different arenas in the area. Most often they ride at the Wy’east facility in Odell, but occasionally they travel to the Hood River Saddle Club or to Goldendale to use larger arenas with more room to run.

“It’s extremely time-consuming for the girls and for their families,” Wallace said. “Most of them ride a few hours a day, six or seven days a week, and some have been traveling to barrel races on the weekends to get their horses conditioned and improve their times. It’s a way for the girls to compete and letter in a sport when they might never be able to otherwise.”

Team members receive a high school letter if they qualify for state.

The team started in 1999 with only a few girls. And according to Wallace, numbers have been up and down since then. This season four of the seven girls are new to the sport. Of the three returning riders, junior Alex Von Lubken is the only to ride at last year’s state competition, where she finished third in showmanship (out of about 500) and fourth in stockseat.

Wallace predicts that this year’s team will be strongest in the barrels and the hunt seat and stock seat equitation.

“In the past,

we have been a very successful team,” Wallace commented. “I’m confident that we will remain on the top and qualify several girls for state again … I’m more excited than ever. The girls have taken a big step up this year and they are showing a lot of hard work and dedication.”

Each of the team’s meets are in Redmond, at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds. The state competition will be at Central Point this year, from May 18-21.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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