Returning riders hope to put SHHS equestrians to state

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The Sweet Home High School equestrian team returns four sophomore riders this year: Cera Kem, Larissa Bjornsen, Jessalyn Seiber and Tracy Smith.

The team includes no newcomers.

“I think they have a lot of potential because we have a lot returning,” Coach Billie Bjornsen said.

The team is small, but it will do well in showmanship, western equitation and in games, like barrels and pole bending.

All four returning members are involved in 4-H competition, and last summer “they did very well,” Bjornsen said.

“We will have a drill team this year,” Bjornsen said. “We just won’t have a substitute.”

Drill is kind of like a dance team where riders perform in formation on horseback.

The team will also have working pairs, a mini-drill event, and team penning, using teams of three to take three calves from a herd and pen them.

“Our four girls from last year did very good with that,” Bjornsen said.

Larissa Bjornsen was in the top 10 in showmanship at district last year. The Huskies drill team participated in state last year but did not place. Graduate Amanda Hilburn competed individually at state last year in individual flags but did not place.

Bjornsen hopes to improve the Huskies’ performance at state this year. The top 10 percent of district riders throughout the upcoming season can go on to compete at state.

The Huskies’ first meet is March 3 through March 5 at the state fairgrounds in Salem. They will participate in three meets before state.

The Huskies also compete at events March 31 to April 2 and April 28 to April 30.

State is May 18 to May 21 at Central Point.

Meet schedules include western equitation from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and showmanship at 6 p.m. on Fridays. On Saturdays, gaming runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and drill starts at 7 p.m. On Sundays, English equitation starts at 8 a.m. followed by working pairs.