Bjornsen heading for national semifinals in equestrian events

Former Sweet Home equestrian rider Larissa Bjornsen has qualified for the regionals as a member of the Linn-Benton Community College IHSA Team.

Bjornsen started the team in September and competed in different meets in Oregon and Washington this year.

IHSA Equestrian is different from 4-H and high school equestrian sports due to the fact that in the IHSA competitors do not use their own horses. In intercollegiate equestrian sports, the school that is hosting the show gets horses donated from the community to ride at the show.

All riders in each class mount when the previous class reverses during its rail work. The judging is based on the rider’s equitation and how well they are able to ride a horse they don’t know.

Although the team that is hosting the show does have a home advantage because its members may already know some of the horses being used at the show, riders are evaluated in the beginning of the year by their coaches to determine what class they will compete in.

The highest level is any rider who has won a national title in a well-known horse show, and the rankings go down from there.

For the members to qualify for regionals, the member must earn 35 points. First place is seven points. Second is five; third, four; fourth, three; fifth, two; and sixth, one.

Bjornsen received 35 points early in the season, which qualified her for regionals. Three other members of the LBCC team also qualified.

Regionals were held at the Oregon State University Horse Center in Corvallis on Feb. 14.

Bjornsen received second in her class and the title of reserve champion in her region. The top two in each class, including Bjornsen, go to semifinals in Kentucky on March 20 and March 21.

The top four riders from Kentucky go to nationals in Tennessee April 23 through April 26.

Bjornsen is required to pay for half of her trip to Kentucky and will be holding several fund-raising events before her trip.

Anyone interested in sponsoring Bjornsen should call (541) 913-3064.