12 Local Equestrians Place at Regionals as Adna’s Savanna Ridley Earns Gold


After this weekend, the riders on W.F. West’s Washington High School Equestrian Team (WAHSET) deserve a little time on their high horses: 12 of the 14 girls who made it to the regional tournament in Moses Lake over the weekend placed.

Making team history, Adna junior Savanna Ridley took home a first place gold buckle in the regionals reining category with her horse Guido.

“Winning my first-ever personal belt buckle was a big accomplishment in my book,” Ridley said. “I've had my horse Guido for about a year. … I was very proud of the run we laid down at regionals.”

W.F. West’s WAHSET team is a collective of riders from schools throughout Lewis County including Centralia, Adna, Napavine, Onalaska, Toledo and Winlock.

This year for the first time, a Mossyrock student, Madison Smith, earned her way to regionals as well.

Adam Kasper, who’s been coaching the team since 2009, said the tournament was a great success for the girls individually and the team as a whole.

He said Ridley “broke a barrier” with her first place reining win.

“I’m very proud,” he said. “Quite happy for her.”

After placing third in the state out of 11 large teams, W.F. West’s Washington High School Equestrian Team (WAHSET) 10-rider drill team moved on to regionals to compete against the top five teams from Washington and Oregon. At regionals, the 10 girls again took the bronze buckle in third place.

The drill team was composed of Ridley, Clara Price, Cyndle Haller, Jaydean Hellem, Hailee Hellem and Katelyn Dipo, all of Adna, along with Jeznee Journee, of Centralia, Madelynn Zembas, of Toledo, Raylee Anderson, of W.F. West, Zoie Due, of Onalaska and Charlotte Barber, of Napavine.

“There’s 10 horses out there all at once, running patterns that run at each other and all around each other. It’s a choreographed event that takes a high level of concentration both for the rider and for the horse,” Kasper said. “There’s a lot to it that you don’t see at the surface.”

Due, along with Shaylie Flanery, of Toledo, also earned second place in the bi-rangle western category, a timed event where riders run a pattern around two poles in a relay style.

“What’s difficult about that particular event is when they have to cross each other but they can’t cross the starting line at the same time,” Kasper said. “That timing of what we call ‘the cross’ is the biggest important thing about that entire event.”

Flanery and Price also earned second place in team cow sorting, a 90-second timed event where two riders move cows from one pen to another in a certain sequence. Cows are numbered zero to nine, and judges give the riders one number to begin with. If the athletes are directed to start with cow three, for example, the cows must be herded into the pen beginning with cow three, then four, five, and after cow nine, cow zero, and so on.

If a cow enters the pen out of sequence, also called a “dirty cow,” the riders get a “no-time” run, essentially disqualifying them.

Navea Dunn from Napavine earned third place in jumping. Kasper was especially proud of Dunn because she rode a rescue horse all the way to the regional tournament. She had to work very hard all year to get her horse’s muscles up to snuff, Kasper said.

“We’re just very proud of them, of course. I’ve been doing this since 2009 and I don’t really place any kid above the other. They all work just as hard as the others, even if they don’t place quite as high,” Kasper said, adding, “It really is very satisfying. Moving. ‘Satisfying’ seems almost not enough to describe it.”