Front, left to right, Coach Natalie Blankenship, Paige Reed, Libby Swanberg, Joanna Seelye, Katelynn Middleton-Sharpe, Kennady Gilbertson, Coach Katie Newton. Back, left to right, Taylor Lewis, Lily Meyer, Asha Swanberg, Sydney Hutton, Coach Ady Crosby and Coach Misty Gilbertson. (Submitted photo)

Front, left to right, Coach Natalie Blankenship, Paige Reed, Libby Swanberg, Joanna Seelye, Katelynn Middleton-Sharpe, Kennady Gilbertson, Coach Katie Newton. Back, left to right, Taylor Lewis, Lily Meyer, Asha Swanberg, Sydney Hutton, Coach Ady Crosby and Coach Misty Gilbertson. (Submitted photo)

HORSEPLAY: WAHSET state finals

SEQUIM’S SMALL YET mighty equestrian team gave a dazzling display of finesse, power and speed at the Washington High School Equestrian Team state finals last month.

Seniors Libby Swanberg and Sydney Hutton both earned silver medals in individual events — Swanberg in steer daubing and Hutton in Hunt Seat Over Fences — qualifying them to compete against the top riders from Washington and Oregon’s high school equestrian teams.

Swanberg also won state Versatility All Around champion at the finals and fifth place in breakaway roping, earning her a spot at the Pacific Northwest Invitational (PNWIC), a regional finals of the top five teams and individuals from each event at each state’s high school equestrian state championship meet. Swanberg’s fifth-place finish in Team Sorting with her younger sister, Asha Swanberg, qualified them both to compete at PNWIC. Currently, each state has nearly 1,000 athletes competing for these top spots.

The two, along with Paige Reed and Kennady Gilbertson, also qualified to race in the four-person Canadian Team Flags event at PNWIC.

Taylor Lewis is a PNWIC qualifier in reining.

I asked new head coach Ady Crosby (and former WAHSET champion many times over) how it felt going from competitor to coach at the state finals.

“I missed competing myself, but I really enjoy coaching,” she said. “And the girls have been so incredible and given me thank-you cards.”

The overall coaching experience has proved “rewarding and stressful at the same time, because of dealing with all the emotions of everyone involved,” she said.

There were a lot of things she didn’t expect, and never had to deal with as a competitor, such as the many behind-the-scenes things to navigate; having to deal with the varied personalities of the event organizers and all the expectations from the adults, and then suddenly feeling as if she was “being a mom of 10 teenage children.”

She credits her co-coaches Natalie Blankenship (performance riding) and Misty Gilbertson, who handles the paperwork and more, as being the wind beneath her wings, so to speak, contributing “so much to a successful first year. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Crosby said. “I feel like it really helped me grow and understand myself as well. My favorite part was just getting to see the girls befriend each other, smile after a successful run or support each other after a bummer run.”

WAHSET state finals May 16-19 in Moses Lake:

Dressage — Eighth, Syndey Hutton; 10th, Katelynn Middleton-Sharpe.

Hunt Seat Over Fences — Second, Sydney Hutton (Silver medal, PNWIC qualified)

Reining — Seventh, Taylor Lewis (PNWIC qualified)

Breakaway Roping — Fifth, Libby Swanberg (PNWIC qualified)

Steer Daubing — Second, Libby Swanberg (Silver medal, PNWIC qualified)

Individual Flags — 11th, Libby Swanberg; 12th, Asha Swanberg.

Team Sorting — Fifth, Libby Swanberg and Asha Swanberg (PNWIC qualified)

Drill Team — 11th, Lily Meyer, Joanna Seelye, Taylor Lewis, Katelynn Middleton-Sharpe and Sydney Hutton.

Canadian Team Flags — Fourth, Paige Reed, Kennady Gilbertson, Asha Swanberg, Libby Swanberg (PNWIC qualified)

Two-Man Birangle — Fourth, Paige Reed and Kennady Gilbertson (PNWIC qualified)

Next stop is the PNWIC, June 14-16 in Moses Lake.

Miller Peninsula

Washington State Parks Miller Peninsula Planning division has sent out yet another survey requesting the public’s input regarding its master plan to exploit the 2,800-acre park by turning it into a major tourist destination.

This time it adds changes to Sequim Bay State Park to the project.

Ugh! The people have already spoken: In response to the previous public meeting and surveys, the vast majority were very outspoken in requesting State Parks to leave Miller Peninsula State Park alone. In its current state, Miller Peninsula offers, in the park’s statement, “a multi- trail system open to walkers, hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians which weaves through a beautiful second-growth forest.”

Ironically, most of the plans will destroy much of that forest, either by tearing it down to build or by too many people tromping through it.

I took the recent survey, which, to me, looked the same questions as the previous one, asking what the people want in the “new park.” What concessions? Do we want to be able to rent mountain bikes or horses (as if that would happen with today’s high insurance rates)? Areas for community events? Educational programs? What type of camping to we want (tent or luxury motor home?) And will how many people? A large playground for kids?

The next step in the project requires spending the $200,000 requested funding for the Master Planning, Cultural Resource Survey and an Environmental Impact Statement by June 30, followed by $400,000 to be spent by June 30, 2025.

I understand upgrading Sequim Bay Park, as facilities there are a bit old, but doesn’t our region already have enough major tourist destinations and campgrounds, such as Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge, Heart O’ the Hills campground and Deer Park, and Clallam County Parks’ Dungeness Recreation Area?

Sure, local merchants benefit greatly from the money tourists bring in. However, isn’t the extra traffic congestion and pollution on the Peninsula from summer visitors — many of whom seem to lack respect for the forest and its animals — already at a max?

At the previous parks meeting, the speakers seemed to have the attitude, “We have to spend that money or we’ll lose it!” So, lose it! It’s an unnecessary project.

Please do fill out this survey to give your input about determining what kind of facilities you want at Miller Peninsula State Park. When I did, I was very clear that my desire is to have it stay as it is. A place we can enjoy nature in quiet serenity.

The link to the survey is: https://parks.wa.gov/about/strategic-planning-projects-public-input/projects/miller-peninsula-state-park-property-planning.

________

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

More in Life

The Rev. Glenn Jones
Unity in Olympics program scheduled

The Rev. Glenn Jones will present “Celebrating the Papa… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker scheduled

Vivian Mulligan will present “Unitarian Universalists — Who Are… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “Divine Father Embodied”… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Honoring parents a complicated command

FATHER’S DAY IS this Sunday. It will be the first Father’s Day… Continue reading

Daria Hunt of Beaver designed this year’s Summer Reading Challenge T-shirt. Participants can read for 30 days to earn a free shirt.
North Olympic Library System's summer reading program begins Friday

The North Olympic Library System will begin its Summer… Continue reading

For her “Oceans” music video, Jennifer Thomas, her husband Will and son Preston set up a grand piano and light display at Bullman Beach in Sekiu. (Jennifer Thomas)
‘Oceans' provides escape for Sequim composer

New album produced with orchestra at Abbey Road Studios

Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula News
Spectators watch as a parade of boats passes by at the start of the Pride event at Pope Marine Park in Port Townsend on Saturday.
Proud parade in Port Townsend

Spectators watch as a parade of boats passes by at the start… Continue reading

Submitted photo

Photo: Bottom left to right, Coach Natalie Blankenship, Paige Reed, Libby  Swanberg, Joanna Seelye, Katelynn Middleton-Sharpe, Kennady Gilbertson, Coach Katie Newton. Top left to right, Taylor Lewis, Lily Meyer, Asha Swanberg, Sydney Hutton, Coach Ady Crosby and Coach Misty Gilbertson.
HORSEPLAY: WAHSET state finals

SEQUIM’S SMALL YET mighty equestrian team gave a dazzling display of finesse,… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Don't let insects bug you

DO INSECTS IN your yard and garden give you the creepy crawlies?… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Salty language can leave bad taste in mouth

A MEMORABLE SCENE in the iconic movie, “A Christmas Story,” is with… Continue reading

The Rev. Cindy Akana
Program scheduled for OUUF on Sunday

The Rev. Cindy Akana will present “The Freedom of… Continue reading

Headline from 1860s newspaper.
BACK WHEN: Olympic Peninsula history shows the danger of vigilantism

SOME PEOPLE ARE known by your local community to be the sources… Continue reading