Hundreds of riders from throughout the western United States and Canada descended upon Whidbey Island last weekend to showcase their equestrian skills.
The Whidbey Island Horse Trials, organized by the Whidbey Island Pony Club, took place July 12-14 on pasture near San de Fuca. The Whidbey Island Pony Club is an equestrian group for riders age 25 and younger.
Organizers estimate around 260 riders participated in the three-day competition.
Riders competed in different events each day of the trials. Friday was devoted to dressage, which demonstrates how well the horse and rider work together. Cross country took place Saturday where horses jumped over obstacles scattered throughout the pony club’s 50-acre facility. Show jumping took place Sunday where riders negotiated a series of jumps in one of two arenas.
“The course seems to be riding really well,” said Oak Harbor resident Taryn McKee, 17, after she completed the show jumping portion of the trials. She was riding Mr. Chad, a 17-year-old Australian thoroughbred, during the three-day event.
She has participated in the event for seven years. She said she enjoys the friendly atmosphere at a venue that is close to home.
Whidbey-based riders took home numerous awards once the competition concluded.
In the Open Intermediate division, Maya Black, who was riding Doesn’t Play Fair, placed first while Linday Smith, riding Captain America, placed sixth.
McKena Knott, riding Flanagan, placed second in the CT Preliminary division.
Kate Peterson, riding Rioga, earned a ninth-place award in the Novice B division and Kallie Bartlett, riding P.Y.T, placed ninth in the Novice C division.
Knott, riding Steele Smart, earned ninth place in the Training A division.
Emily Daugherty, riding Junoknow, took seventh place and Knott, riding Mr. Haughty, took eighth place in the Beginning Novice A division.
Sandi Farris, riding Holy Gallant, took sixth and Patrick Eaton, riding Bijou, took 10th in the Beginning Novice B division.
John Filer, riding Rise and Shine, took first in the Beginning Novice C division and Cassandra Pfannenstiel, riding Admiral Sandecker, took fourth in the Beginning Novice D division.
The Whidbey Island Horse Trials was just one stop for some of the riders this summer.
McKee said she will travel later this month to compete in a similar competition that takes place in Kalispell, Mont.