Columbia County equestrians place at state
Equestrians from Scappoose and St. Helens placed at the state competition in May, with a handful qualifying for the regional Pacific North West Invitational later this month.
St. Helens placed sixth at state, while Scappoose placed 11th among large teams at the Oregon High School Equestrian Teams championship. St. Helens racked up most of its points through team events, while Scappoose was stronger in individual events.
From St. Helens, Haley Pierson and Lilian Moore took fifth place in working pairs, qualifying for regionals.
St. Helens took bronze in drill, also qualifying for regionals.
Brooke Burnham, Emily Fender, Madison Blackburn, Gwen Daoust, Rebecca Snook, Lillian Moore, Piper Dews and Taylor Blackburn made up St. Helens' drill team at state.
Teams from St. Helens took sixth and seventh in the Canadian flag race. Hannah Hayduk, Fender, Daoust and Madison Blackburn took sixth; Snook, Moore, Dews, Taylor Blackburn and Haley Pierson took seventh.
Hayduk and Pierson took seventh in two-man birangle.
Pierson is "super-fun to work with and a really good teammate," Hayduk said.
Pierson is a freshman but has been riding competitively for more than half her life.
Finishing in fifth place in working pairs with Moore "was definitely not something I expected," Pierson said.
She remarked, "Placing fifth doesn't sound huge, but with the competition that was there, it was definitely a huge moment for both of us."
Pierson and Moore "were both very emotional when we got back to camp to tell everyone the news," Pierson added.
Moore attributed her and Pierson's success as a duo to Pierson's "let's fix this, let's fix that," attitude coupled with her "go with the flow" attitude.
Moore said she wasn't initially interested in working pairs or the Canadian flag race, but her coaches encouraged her to try them out.
Though Moore has been riding for years, she only started competing a year ago. Her freshman season overall was "complicated," Moore said.
"For most of the time, I didn't know what I was doing. I kept having to ask a lot of people for help and I would always be stressed," Moore said.
But the work paid off, with Moore heading to regionals in two events.
St. Helens also had finishes in the top 10 in solo events; Fender took ninth place in figure-8, while Madison Blackburn took eighth in steer daubing.
Hayduk, who is a star runner on the Lions' track team, had to miss the drill competition for track districts. Hayduk said she was "heartbroken" to miss drill but said she was "so grateful that (the team) killed it and that we're going to regionals, so I get to compete again."
"I love drill. I love being a part of the team and being with the girls and the process of getting our horses all dolled up — and the music," Hayduk said.
"We have a really pretty drill (routine), some really talented riders and an amazing coach — and we made it to regionals, so however we do, it's going to be good," she added.
Hayduk said that despite the scheduling conflict and one of her horses getting injured at the third district meet, the season went well.
"The girls were so much fun, we had a big team, and it was a really good year to end on," Hayduk said.
Scappoose junior Ada Kay Evans placed second in reining at the state championship.
"After competing, it always feels great when you know that you and your horse did the best you could have done for that day given any new circumstances," Evans said.
She added, "Since I had never gone to state before considering the pandemic, I was so proud of how far I've gotten to go in the OHSET season this year."
Evans said she's "looking forward to seeing how much we can improve from my last meet."
"It's really important to be able to identify the things you need to work on to always try and improve for next time," Evans said.
Scappoose's Mollie Sundin and Kenna Olson took fourth and fifth place, respectively, in working rancher.
Sundin, a freshman, has been riding horses "since before I could walk." Her horse, Handsome, was born the same year as her and was trained by her aunt, who led Sundin into "all this horse stuff."
Sundin said she didn't expect to place fourth. After finishing, before finding out how she stacked up to the competition, Sundin said she didn't feel great about the results, instead focusing on any tiny mistake she may have made.
But her fourth-place finish qualifies her for regionals, which take place the weekend of June 17.
Her first high school season "was really good. It had its eventfulness, it had adventures," Sundin said.
The Scappoose team and the other teams — like St. Helens, which includes many members of the same 4H clubs that Scappoose riders are in — "are like a big family. We all help each other out," Sundin said.
Scappoose senior Karlynn Kenny took seventh in Western horsemanship.
Sundin, Olson, Odessa Abeles, Abbey Brainerd, Brooklyn Ervin, Alana Garrison and Kamryn Nelson made up Scappoose's drill team, which placed 10th.
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